Promethean – Chapters

Fossil fuel is easy and should have been used not as a primary energy source but an investment – an activation energy – to access the others.
See for some data and thoughts on what makes good energy
See Monbiot Soil for inspiration:
See: – the origin of plants was the origin of fire
CHAPTERS – synergy with review papers??
Non-carbon Energy:
Chapter on ‘What about other forms of energy.  Is it not really the sun?  Driving photosynthesis? Use this to explore central role of life using carbon to store energy, how good that is (storage, transport, power), and how ubiquitous it is.  Plants cannot live on sunlight (dark); to live they must capture sunlight but they must also store energy as CO2. Organic matter is central to Earth because it is central to how life stores the energy it accumulates.
But there is a beautiful biochemical elegance here, in that the same reactions that use solar energy to build the plant can also be used to store energy.  The Gingerbread person lives by eating gingerbread cookies.  They build a gingerbread house and keep it warm by burning gingerbread logs.
Such good storage that society has come to lean on it.  I often say that fossil fuels, despite all the harm they have done and the harm their continued use will cause, have achieved great things, including sending probes across the Solar System.  You might challenge that by noting that rocket fuel is hydrazine not natural gas.  Indeed.  But the steel in the rocket was made by burning coal.  The engineers were fed by fossil fueled agriculture…


A chapter on elementary thermo with crude calculations for aerobic respiration of glycolysis (note kinetics).
Other metabolic pathways – AOM to arsenic to AOM-arsenic
The source of (almost) all energy
Step back chapter on solar – all that energy, a small bit intersecting Earth, driving solar (and much wind and wave) but also photosynthesis and fossil fuel
Plant energy is easily stored. And it can accumulate. Over 4 billion years. And that has driven “thermodynamic miracles”
The wonder of microbial thermodynamics – where there is chemical disequilibrium, there is energy. And reduced carbon is almost always in thermodynamic disequilibrium…
Harvesting the energy of life
The wonder of carbon – complexity and therefore life
Reduced carbon as a source of energy (and work and heat) but also power (and therefore work and heat per second)
 Where there is energy, there is life.  And organic matter is energy.
Work in barn fires – can have a whole bit about working in hay loft, splinters, farmer tans, wasps
The complexity of organic carbon and how it governs the ability to support life
The messiness of burning complex carbon – air pollution, acid rain, NOx
The marvelous complexity of organic compounds
From the slow cycle to the fast and back again
OM preservation
Kinetics Vs thermodynamics
O2 is better than SO4
Temp does not make much difference in thermodynamics but it does in kinetics!  Enzymes make even more of a difference.
But note the dilemma of ‘time’ plenty of time
Why beccs are not the solution – you cannot solve a long term carbon cycle on with a short term carbon cycle solution
Organic matter as a driver of other chemical cycles – not sure where to fit this
The history of CO2
The co-evolution of carbon, the Earth and life
Beautiful events:
Post- Snowball Earth
Ordovician explosion
End Devonian
Different recoveries – PTB Vs KPgB
Weird one off events
The Rise of grasses and hypsodonty