Organic energy, from photosynthesis to fossil fuels (tentative title, due out on the web in 2015).

This is a heavily illustrated book for serious non-scientists and scientists alike that describes the chemical nature of organic energy from biofuels to coal, oil, and natural gas. The book includes comparisons of organic fuels with alternatives.

I have observed, repeatedly, that non-scientists are surprised at both their fascination with and their easy understanding of organic chemistry the first time they confront it. Why? Two reasons come to mind. First, organic chemistry is the chemistry of their bodies, their food, most of their energy, and many of the most cherished parts of their environment. Second, the genius of structural formulas of organic molecules allows beginners to visualize chemical concepts. Illustrations are crucial, so I include lots of them.

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Chemical Bonds
A chapter title page for an introduction to energy transfers during chemical reactions
Calvin cycle

Green leaves store solar energy within organic storage molecules (ATP & NADPH). This partial illustration shows cartoon enzymes transfering that stored solar energy into developing sugars after carbon dioxide is fixed into organic molecules during photosynthesis. Most of the energy we use from biomass, coal, oil or natural gas originates from this infusion of stored solar energy into organic molecules during photosynthesis.