Advertisement

Hierarchies, Power and the Problem of Governing Complex Systems

  • Franco RuzzenentiEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Green Energy and Technology book series (GREEN)

Abstract

The concept of hierarchy is central to thermodynamics. Energy processes can be evaluated in terms of entropy content and the higher the entropy the lower they are positioned in the hierarchy of irreversibility. Hence, a Joule of heat at 500 K has a higher quality that the same amount of heat at 400 K. Introducing irreversibility into the Carnot machinery—the intellectual device by which we have historically developed the concept of efficiency, leads to the concept of maximum power output at suboptimal efficiency level. Introducing irreversibility—the hierarchal criterion for thermodynamics, means that time becomes a binding variable in thermal machines. Interestingly and perhaps not surprisingly, hierarchy is also a key concept of complexity. Along the line of an increasing hierarchical complexity, economic progress and evolution have been rewarding larger organizations or organisms throughout sentient or accidental selection. From microbes to whales, from villages to nations, from family firms to international corporations, the scaling up of the system has been achieved at the expenses of a growing complexity and hierarchy. To sustain the increasing complexity, processes have been increasing their power capacity thorough evolution and economic history. Is this intriguing parallel important to understand the fate of renewable energy? In this chapter I will try to expand upon the ideas of hierarchical scaling and power maximization to the problem of governing RES, with insights from finite-time thermodynamics, algometric scaling and complex science.

Keywords

Power Capacity Circular Economy Primary Energy Consumption Heat Reservoir Carnot Efficiency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Apertet, Y., H. Ouerdane, C. Goupil, and P. Lecoeur. 2012. Efficiency at maximum power of thermally coupled heat engines. Physical Review E 85 (4): 041144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Basosi, R., and F. Ruzzenenti. 2010. Energy growth, complexity and efficiency, energy efficiency. In InTech, ed. Jenny Palm. doi: 10.5772/9827. Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/energy-efficiency/energy-growth-complexity-and-efficiency.
  3. Bateson, G. 1972. Steps to an Ecology of Mind. San Francisco, USA: Chandler Pub. Co.Google Scholar
  4. Cantwell, J., and O. Janne. 1999. Technological globalisation and innovative centres: The role of corporate technological leadership and locational hierarchy. Research Policy 28 (2): 119–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen, J., Z. Yan, G. Lin, and B. Andresen. 2001. On the Curzon-Ahlborn efficiency and its connection with the efficiencies of real heat engines. Energy Conversion and Management 42 (2): 173–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Curzon, F., and B. Ahlborn. 1975. Efficiency of a Carnot engine at maximum power output. American Journal of Physics 43: 22.Google Scholar
  7. Coller, H.A. 2014. Is cancer a metabolic disease? The American Journal of Pathology 184 (1): 4–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Esposito, M., R. Kawai, K. Lindenberg, and C. Van den Broeck. 2010. Efficiency at maximum power of low-dissipation Carnot engines. Physical Review Letters 105 (15): 150603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gillooly, J.F., E.L. Charnov, G.B. West, V.M. Savage, and J.H. Brown. 2002. Effects of size and temperature on developmental time. Nature 417 (6884): 70–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Glazier, D.S. 2014. Metabolic scaling in complex living systems. Systems 2 (4): 451–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gyftopoulos, E.P. 1999. Infinite time (reversible) versus finite time (irreversible) thermodynamics: A misconceived distinction. Energy 24 (12): 1035–1039.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gyftopoulos, E.P. 2002. On the Curzon-Ahlborn efficiency and its lack of connection to power producing processes. Energy Conversion and Management 43 (5): 609–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kleiber, M. 1947. Body size and metabolic rate. Physiological Reviews 27: 511–541.Google Scholar
  14. Lotka, A.L. 1956. Elements of Physical Biology. New York: Dover Publications Inc. (First publication: Elements of physical biology. The Williams and Wilkins Co., Inc. 1924).Google Scholar
  15. Novikov, I.I. 1957. The efficiency of atomic power stations. AtomnayaEnergiya 3 (3): 409.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  16. Odum, H.T., and R.C. Pinkerton. 1955. Time’s speed regulator: The optimum efficiency for maximum power output in physical and biological systems. American Scientist 43 (2): 331–343.Google Scholar
  17. Picciolo, F., A. Papandreou, K. Hubacek, and F Ruzzenenti. 2017. How crude oil prices shape the global division of labour. Applied Energy 189: 753–761.Google Scholar
  18. Pavé, A. 2006. Hierarchical organization of biological and ecological systems. In Hierarchy in Natural.Google Scholar
  19. Rajan, R.G., and J. Wulf. 2006. The flattening firm: Evidence from panel data on the changing nature of corporate hierarchies. The Review of Economics and Statistics 88 (4): 759–773; Social sciences. In Methods Series, 39–70. Springer.Google Scholar
  20. Ruzzenenti, F., and R. Basosi. 2008. The role of the power/efficiency misconception in the rebound effect’s size debate: Does efficiency actually lead to a power enhancement? Energy Policy 36 (9): 3626–3632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ruzzenenti, F., and R. Basosi. 2009. Complexity change and space symmetry rupture. Ecological Modelling 220 (16): 1880–1885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Save the Children. 2016. Illuminiamo il futuro 2030 - Obiettivi per liberare i bambini dalla Povertà Educativa. Report available at: http://www.savethechildren.it/IT/Tool/Pubblicazioni/Related?id_object=274&id_category=40. Accessed on 04/06/2016.
  23. Schneider, E.D., and J.J. Kay. 1994. Life as a manifestation of the second law of thermodynamics. Mathematical and Computer Modelling 19 (6): 25–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Smil, V. 2008. Energy in Nature and Society, General Energetics of Complex Systems. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  25. Toyota. 2016. Sustainability report 2015, available at: http://www.toyota-global.com/sustainability/report/sr/. Accessed on 04/06/2016.
  26. Van den Broeck, C. 2005. Thermodynamic efficiency at maximum power. Physical Review Letters 95 (19): 190602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Verdier, N. 2006. Hierarchy: A short history of a word in western thought. In Hierarchy in Natural and Social Sciences, 13–37. Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  28. von Bertalanffy, L. 1968. General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications. New York, NY, USA: George Braziller.Google Scholar
  29. West, G.B., J.H. Brown, and B.J. Enquist. 1997. A general model for the origin of allometric scaling laws in biology. Science 276 (5309): 122–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. West, Geoffrey B., James H. Brown, and Brian J. Enquist. 1999. The fourth dimension of life: Fractal geometry and allometric scaling of organisms. Science 284 (5420): 1677–1679.MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  31. West, G.B. 2006. Size, scale and the boat race; Conceptions, connections and misconceptions. In Hierarchy in Natural and Social Sciences, 71–80. Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management and Quantitative SciencesParthenope University of NaplesNaplesItaly
  2. 2.Institute of SociologyJagiellonian UniversityKrakowPoland

Personalised recommendations