Global Energy For The 21st Century
Forget about gasoline, cars and depletion of carbon based energy sources. We have electric cars already. We’re not running out of oil any time soon, right? So why should we worry? Gas prices are back down again and we all know everything always returns to normal. haltonmachining
But I wonder how we will operate more than 50 thousand daily commercial flights the day we eventually run out of oil? Electric planes? Because that day will arrive sooner or later. So most of us are worried and for different reasons. Some believe global warming and carbon emissions will be the catalyst that will end all life on our planet. If you’ve heard Jeremy Rifkin speak on this issue, you’re probably walking around scared to death, thinking it is already too late and that our planet is doomed. Others are more concerned with self-sufficiency and reducing dependency on foreign oil. And many simply want cheaper and cleaner energy sources.
People have different opinions and concerns – some more intense and emotional than others – but most of us believe that we need to develop a long-term policy and find a solution to this planet’s growing energy needs and challenges. I agree.
In a prior article I wrote about what this planet will be like 100 years from now. It is not that far away – just ask some of the centenarians that are still with us. Let us narrow down this fascinating question and ask: what will our primary sources of energy be in the year 2109? Today the majority of our electricity comes from coal. Anything that moves uses for the most part fuel from oil derivatives. Coal and oil. Both dirty, carbon based and steadily being depleted. The ethanol alternative is so feeble and without merit that I will not discuss it. I doubt, in fact I’m quite certain, that none of these energy sources will make it to the top of the list a century from now.
Nuclear is an interesting alternative but politically handicapped given the checkered past and the perceived danger of uranium and radiation, which have been further amplified by its nasty association with nuclear accidents, waste, wars, bombs, movies and a plethora of books on the subject. Nevertheless, there has been tremendous advancement in nuclear power plant technology, and it is a clean, abundant and very cheap source of energy. But the stigma and political challenges, especially in this country, remain formidable, and I do not expect it’ll be a real alternative any time soon. However, other countries around the world, including the Middle East, are making bets on nuclear power plants and are investing heavily in this area. wrdesignprint
Basic research in alternative energy sources should take a higher priority in public and private institutions worldwide. I’m positive that such efforts will ultimately produce results that we today never could imagine would be possible. Hydrogen is an abundant resource with massive amounts of latent energy. Being able to safely harness this source in a cost-effective way may very well be the long-term solution for fueling our 50 thousand flights per days as well as all our future energy needs. Focus, commitment and investment in basic research will be the key to getting there.
But until we have viable alternatives, renewable energy sources have to be part of the solution for our energy needs. Hydro, wind and solar are the major renewable sources today. The former has been with us for a while and continues to be a fantastic, clean source of energy but availability is unfortunately severely limited. Wind is an excellent renewable energy option but has a fundamental cost limitation that makes this source an inadequate long-term alternative.
Solar energy is abundant but far too costly today. Most of the installed solar power in the world is in Spain and Germany, a direct result of government incentives and programs. The extraordinary characteristic of solar energy – this may not be clear to most people – is that there is a clear way to drive the fundamental cost down and eventually make this power source cheaper than the electricity you and I buy today. And it is clean, renewable and we don’t need to import it. Sounds pretty good, but can we really reduce the cost that dramatically?
Yes, and here is why. The cumulative effect of accelerating technology advances, manufacturing efficiencies, rapidly increasing volumes, which will advance us quickly down the learning curve, will eventually drive down the cost per watt to a fraction of what it is today. The payback period today for converting your house to solar is 8-10 years, far too expensive for the average consumer. A few years from now it could easily be 2-3 years. Maybe central solar plants will become the primary solution and not individual solar installations. Or more likely a hybrid model. Regardless of how solar power is ultimately implemented, the potential cost equation and benefits remain outstanding. But the only way to get the cost down to acceptable levels is to ramp up the volume through massive installations worldwide! For more info please visit these sites :- https://www.dkproducts.biz
This solar opportunity is available on a silver platter to Obama and to the rest of the world leaders that are located in the warmer regions where solar power is best suited. This is a timely and once-in-a-lifetime chance to make an unprecedented disruptive contribution to the global energy situation, while at the same time initiate major public works projects that will contribute to an economy recovery. Why not pursue this instead of injecting hundreds of billions of dollars into businesses that are fundamentally broken? The short-term and long-term payback for the planet will be immeasurable. Embarking on this path today could very well make the difference to the quality of life for our great-grandkids 100 years from now.