Do you know all the alternative energy sources currently available for commercial, governmental, and private use? We have compiled a comprehensive list of Alternative Energy Resources that we would like to share with you. SciTech Syndicate is about open-source research into alternative energy solutions and this is our first in-depth blog on the topic. Please let us know what you think and I am glad to be part of this amazing website!
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I guess that alternative energy sources are part of our future. If we don't accept it - we would extinct.
here is a quote about the reasons why we should choose this kind of energy:
- Improved public health
- Less global warming
- Inexhaustible energy
- Stable energy prices
- Jobs and other economic benefits (more people would be involved in the manufacturing)
The original link seems inaccessible for me. Is it broken?
I think that how we use energy is at least as important as where we derive it. I think that alternative energy storage is of primary concern, as there are many extant technologies that can produce sufficient energy over time, provided that a storage medium is available to even out peaks and valleys in production and demand.
I like air-based geothermal storage for such things as greenhouses and smaller industrial spaces, where heat is otherwise vented to the atmosphere. It just makes sense to use the earth below it as a battery that releases heat to the system when required. Where the temperatures exceed the capacity of the system, I like to move to a liquid storage medium.
I like the idea of large-scale thermal energy recovery from processes that generate intense heat, and I like the idea of mechanical energy storage, where applicable. An example of my favourite of these would be an in-ground (stationary), massive flywheel on magnetic bearings sealed in a chamber whose air is evacuated to vacuum by the turning of the flywheel. I am a fan of steampunk flavours of ingenuity, and I think that supercritical steam energy storage in a stationary setting might be appropriate in cases where high-heat processes are part of the system.
I would love it if we could get supercapacitor technology to the point where we could have tower arrays of them leading to supermassive energy storage systems that would allow us to derive power from storm systems. Apart from cold fusion, I think that would be the holy grail of sustainable energy production.
I think that another direction we could look, right now, is tidal-based power generation. As an example, if there were power-generating pylons, an expanded barrage system, perhaps, spanning sections of the Bay of Fundy on Canada's east cost, the tidal pressure of 14 billion tonnes of water moving at five metres a second could easily generate all of the Canadian east coast's power needs, with surplus to sell besides.
This is a CBC article from a couple of years ago that fleshes this topic out.
I also really like the potential for hydrogen-producing solar arrays, that feed the grid directly when production matches consumption, but that condenses water from the air both to provide added water inputs to natural systems, but also to allow for hydrogen energy storage of excess electricity. That way, when there is no more petroleum being shipped by pipeline, those pipelines could be repurposed for the shipping of liquid hydrogen to fuel a hydrogen electric fuel economy, where extra capacity could be added simply by topping pipeline in appropriate areas with more solar electric and hydrogen panel modules.
I still think that really good hydrogen fuel cell systems will be developed that will far outmatch the power and efficiency of internal combustion engine technology, but in the event that it takes longer than anticipated, ICE technology could be retooled for the combustion of hydrogen, and the only byproduct would be steam.
I think, bottom line, that there's a lot that can be done without taxing natural systems overly much. In some cases, it requires working way above the individual scale, like any project that seeks to span the Bay of Fundy with power generation equipment, but in such cases, it might provide us with an excess of clean, renewable energy that will make digging in the tar sands and drilling wherever farcically uneconomical for the purposes of power generation and transportation on any scale.
As to transportation, by the way, my money will ever be on hybrid heavy-lift airships, probably with the ability to change the profile of the envelope, probably solar-electrically powered, probably deriving neutral buoyancy with hydrogen and variable lift with steam, possibly incorporating some steam power. They would need to be able to take off and land without a ground crew or infrastructure beyond perhaps a clearing, but in an era where seasonal ice roads are no longer passable, and where governments might not reliably spend on infrastructure projects as they should, these would enable the movement of goods and people even in the event that roads become impassable.
I would also like to see some development on train-scale hyperloop systems to span continents. I think that is the way to go for mass transit in the years to come. Imagine being able to offload cargo continuously off a cargo freighter in Montreal or Halifax with equal ease and have it arrive at any point, including Vancouver Island, in a half-hour after departure. Imagine there being no financial benefit to shipping in the St. Lawrence Seaway beyond Halifax because of this, and the environmental impact it would have, and the economic impact on the fisheries, after a period of recovery.
Why, if that infrastructure existed, all that would be required for a new Canadian space launch system would be a rail spur off the trans-Canada line, that took it on a parabolic course up to 22 kilometres up a mountain, or with the help of the rockies as footing, and a purpose-built hyperloop train designed to act like a rocket after leaving the top of the tube (the higher up the tube would go, the thinner the air, the less friction, resistance, and fuel necessary to attain escape velocity, and if it started accelerating in Halifax at the maximum allowable rate for safe human travel, by the time it exited the tube 22 kilometres above the rockies, it would likely already have attained escape velocity). We could launch cargo and people at rates a fraction of today's.
Similar thinking could be extended south of the border. Imagine if the current political thinking could be turned toward this goal. Anyone could live anywhere, and work anywhere else. Stacking solar atop hyperloop infrastructure, literally stacking functions, and regenerative breaking would provide power to not only the system, but large portions of the continent.
We could take shipping out of the oceans, or at least ensure what shipping occurs makes use of modern alternative energy sources that don't involve engine drone that deafens sea life, and then ensure that our transportation infrastructure is efficient and effective enough that we can scale back on its destructive impact.
We could ensure that what trucking remains takes goods from hyperloop depots to end-use or sales facilities, and the market will ensure that trucking will be largely electric on the short- and medium-scale relatively soon anyways.
What is troubling for me is that this all requires political will. Right now, we have a newbie regressive conservative Premier who is more concerned with reducing beer prices and settling old political grudges than he is with setting a positive course for climate change adaptation, and whose brilliant plan for encouraging business in this province involved nuking the cap-and-trade carbon tax system put in place by the previous government, essentially nullifying almost $3 billion in value in a burgeoning carbon economy that, at that time, also included California and Quebec, and putting up signs at American points of entry into the province that stated that we were "open for business," at an estimated cost of $100 000.
There is the potential for so much if we just think a little outside the box, but we need to harness the political will. Without it, it will be a Sisyphean slog uphill.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
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