Keywords: energy production, energy systems, exergy analysis, history of exergy, second law analysis, history, thermodynamics, ambiguity, imprecision
A brief note on the historical evolution and present state of exergy analysis
As social concerns increasingly focus on energy production and energy systems, it is important that scientists and engineers continue to innovate and improve current methods. Aiding scientists and engineers is a relatively new tool known as exergy analysis, which focuses on the optimal work done while bringing a system into equilibrium with an environment (it is the maximum work for power production and minimum work for bringing a low pressure system into equilibrium with an environment). The history of exergy analysis is explored from the works of Carnot and Clapeyron, through Clausius and the great papers by Gibbs, which are accompanied by graphical representations, to the more recent investigations by Keenan, Gaggioli and Gyftopoulos. Issues of ambiguity and imprecision in modern exergy treatments are considered along with possible improvements. Again, graphical methods are utilised for illustration.