It’s no secret that our world is running out of fossil fuels. Peak oil, unrest in the Middle East and hostile nations in other locations put our energy future at risk. This is why finding and harnessing future energy is so important.
What many people fail to realize, however, is that energy sources surround us on Earth and throughout the universe. In fact, the energy now that Mother Nature supplies us is staggering and we cannot at present make use of 1/1000th of what we are given on a daily basis.
Future energy is also happening around all of us right now. For instance, the sun is an obvious source of energy now and in the future and we are only partaking of a small pittance of this resource. The same goes for wind energy, ocean, tidal, hydro, microhydro and geothermal. These renewable resources will be important sources for future energy if we are to survive as a species.
But, let’s dig a little deeper since these do no scratch the surface when it comes to harnessing and taking advantage of all of the natural power that Mother Nature has to offer. In the next 30 years, scientists, researchers and engineers will have figured out how to harness the power and provide future energy generated by tornadoes, volcanoes, hurricanes, rogue waves, the gulfstream, the jet stream, earthquakes and tremors and lightning strikes.
The so-called natural disasters of today will still exist but there will be an added component of natural energy opportunities as well. Do you think this is a stretch?
Researchers are already working on sturdy wind turbines that can capture wind speeds of over 100 mph for use around the Gulf Coast during hurricane season. A company called Wind Hunter is building a ship filled with wind turbines to chase gusts at sea and turn the wind energy into electricity, electrolyze sea water to produce hydrogen for fuel cells.
Everything I’ve mentioned is what scientists and researchers are currently working on in order to produce future energy. But, yes, a couple of breakthroughs in technology will be needed for several of these items to happen.
Yet, I don’t want to confine this list of what researchers are currently working on. Future energy will involve many different methods and devices from many different sources.
Here are just a few additional sources of future energy:
• Brown’s Gas / HHO (hydrogen plus oxygen)
• Cold fusion
• Alternative Fuels
• Waste to energy
• Unknown future energy sources
Now, there may never be any true perpetual motion machines built, not in our lifetimes and certainly not for centuries to come if ever. What will be built however is near perpetual energy machines that once started will produce future energy for a very long time before fading out.
The promise of cold fusion is one such resource for future energy that we will rely on more heavily through the decades once several breakthroughs and finally disruptive technology blasts onto the scene. An Italian engineer Andrea Rossi has already run a successful test of a cold fusion machine. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is using the world’s largest laser array to start a cold fusion reaction. In fact, every first world nation (and some other countries like North Korea) is working on cold fusion technology as a resource for future energy.
Now, building nuclear reactors are politically sensitive. Many people have the “not in my neighborhood” attitude when it comes to nuclear power and understandably so as episodes with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are still fresh in some people’s memory banks.
But, there is another kind of nuclear energy that is safer, cleaner and may produce steady power for decades to come. This is called nuclear remediation (traveling wave reactor) and Microsoft founder Bill Gates is all behind it. Basically, a future traveling wave reactor will use spent nuclear rods and other materials and absorb the waste to produce energy.
The beauty of this system is two-fold. First, it is less prone to disasters than current nuclear reactors. Second, it uses up the nuclear waste from current reactors, rendering it much less harmless than current methods of storing spent nuclear waste.
Plasma reactors will also be a source of future energy. There are too many types of plasma and too many uses to go into here, but suffice it to say that researchers are just now scratching the surface potential that plasma has for future energy uses. Also, another intriguing use is for plasma rockets that NASA is currently developing for a future trip to Mars.
Many critics would disagree but I will argue that science as a whole is still in an immature state in regard to the timeline of our world. A little over a century ago the Wright Brothers were taking their first flight in an airplane and automakers had started producing cars to replace horses and trains.
Some people erroneously think we pretty much know everything there is to know about physics, chemistry, biology and the other major sciences. I will differ with this opinion. If you avidly read science and tech news like I do you’ll soon realize that every week there are new discoveries. Every week we’ve learned more in science and technology than the last week. And every week we are a little more knowledgeable about the infinite which is our universe.
As an example, recently NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered a superfluid inside a neutron star that has the scientists mystified. When science and technology matures there will not be these kinds of constant surprises. But, on the positive side, this kind of immaturity leads to curiosity, excitement and rapid growth. Leading edge science is not boring and the quest for future energy will be an exciting adventure for centuries to come.
So, to recap, the law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. This is so true. Our job, here on Earth, however is to use the vast resources that we already have, develop new methods to tapping into our resources so that our demands for future energy will constantly be met. At times this quest will be like a roller coaster ride as supply and demand will not always fit perfectly in sync with one another. But, this will also make the ride interesting and exciting.
“May you live in interesting times” is often quoted as a Chinese curse, but it is no curse at all. It is a blessing and a hope for the future. So, if you’re interested, then keep reading the other pages on this future technology site to see what interesting times we live in now and how our world will get much more interesting in the near future.
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