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Sustainable Environmental Engineering by Mika Sillanpää, Walter Z. Tang

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1Renewable Resources and Environmental Quality

Sun sustains every life on Earth.

1.1 Renewable Resources and Energy

Free water and energy have sustained human life on Earth in the past million years because water can be harvested from the sky and energy can be produced from solar, biomass, and wind. Since the Industrial Revolution in 1781, however, nonrenewable fossil energy such as coal, oil, and natural gas has become the major power source for human economic activities. For example, environmental engineering infrastructure system (EEIS) such as centralized water treatment plant (WTP) and wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) are mostly powered by fossil fuels and have become symbols of modern life. Due to the economy of scale, centralized EEIS was designed to fit for all because unit cost of water and wastewater produced decreases with the increasing plant capacity. As EEIS ages, however, maintenance becomes more and more expensive. Under climate change and sea level rise, retrofitting ...

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