Posted tagged ‘energy systems’

URGENT EXPLORATIONS: Doing Our Homework-Lesson 1: Energy

July 31, 2010

In order to position ourselves to really begin sustained explorations of our solar system and beyond, we must first achieve an improved state of environmental and technological stability at home. The underlying power for these key challenges is scientific research; aka exploration.  We have a number of important, actually very serious, needs and problems that depend upon the power of scientific and technological investigations and innovations.

For this presentation, I have picked on four of these key challenges. Hopefully, as you read this blog post you will think of other challenges that should be addressed.  Please, take the opportunity to send us a comment on your views and ideas.  The areas I have selected are the Four “E”s: Energy, Environment, Education and Enterprise.  They are all closely related and in my opinion interdependent.  Each of the Big E’s will be covered in individual blogs followed by a summary blog.  Let’s get started with the first homework lesson.

Energy:

The power behind this vital resource are the energy masters: (1) petroleum production and refining and (2) coal mining and distribution. A third would be nuclear power, but it is considered an alternative energy source.  Items (1) and (2) are the key life blood of all our energy needs today, and even though we are working with alternative sources such as wind systems and green fuels neither of these will be able to supply the level of energy required to meet the demands of government, industry and the public (homes and transportation).

The real alternatives rest with nuclear energy (which has serious radiation issues), hydrogen energy and a mixture of alternatives such as hydroelectric, wind, biofuel, and solar.  It is my opinion that only hydrogen energy systems and solar energy systems with nuclear power backup will fully meet the increasing power demands of our high-tech, highly mobile civilization.

In order for these preferred systems to work, the energy masters must be aided in developing ways to either convert their resources (coal and oil) into an acceptable alternative energy resource or begin to transition into the production of energy through hydrogen or solar systems.  It is entirely impractical, impolitic and financially devastating to expect these two energy masters to just walk away from years of both high investment and profits. They are major segments of our economy and simply cannot be turned off and turned away.

At the same time our continuing, almost total dependence on these energy masters is proving to be a serious threat to our strategic and economic integrity.  They must change, and that change must be fully supported and encouraged by government until their new energy systems meet demand and prove profitable. None of this is an overnight process.  It will take time, but without political stalling. This transition may be enabled by our expanded use of temporary energy sources such as wind,  biofuels, and the reliance on select nuclear power systems.

Right now both the political divergence on energy as well as active opposition from the energy masters makes this required change seem bleak and unattainable.  If we accept this, then we must accept an increasing decline in our technological strength and ability to seriously advance as a spacefaring nation.

The energy masters have the technology, the financial power, and the incentive to convert and begin a new era of energy resource production that could eventually surpass their current capabilities and output. Will they do it? I think not without both incentive and full political encouragement. That incentive must come from the White House, the political encouragement must come from a unified Congress and that must come from we the people.

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