In the last 20 years, physicists have, after drilling down into ever smaller particles of matter come to this conclusion, that everything is energy This, to some degree confirms some of the underpinnings of eastern philosophies and religions.
If everything is energy then the century long human behavior of equating energy to fossil fuels is put into proper perspective: an incredibly narrow viewpoint. We are now entering a new age called the Shift Age One of the characteristics of the Shift Age is that it will become known as the time when all kinds of alternative and renewable sources of energy will be utilized and will gradually and then rapidly replace the consumption of fossil fuels.
Solar, wind, wave, geothermal, Space Solar Power, biomass and nuclear will all be utilized to end the insanity of reliance upon rapidly depleting non-renewable fuel sources that create global warming. A recent story on hydrogen from algae here at Scientific Blogging
points to how wide a focus we can have to find alternative energy sources. This story points to the fact that some forms of algae contain a substance called hydrogenase which can create small amounts of hydrogen gas. Memories of swimming in pond scum and 3rd
grade biology class come to mind.
Algae as a source of hydrogen energy, fantastic! The utilization of corn for creating ethanol is now clearly a bad idea, one primarily implemented because of the power of the farm lobby. The price of corn, a basic foodstuff for hundreds of millions of people around the world, has risen greatly in price due to ethanol production. What is the logic is taking a basic foodstuff of humans and making it fuel instead for internal combustion vehicles?
The other problem with corn is that thermodynamically it is not efficient and creates a lot of heat.Algae, on the other hand, looks to be able to create hydrogen through the natural process of photosynthesis. As Argonne Laboratory senior chemist Tiede points out in this news story, "We believe there is a fundamental advantage in looking at the production of hydrogen by photosynthesis as a renewable fuel. Right now, ethanol is being produced from corn, but generating ethanol from corn is a thermodynamically much more inefficient process.”
Another great benefit of the utilization of algae is that it can be grown in a number of places, thereby not utilizing fertile soil needed to grow food for humanity. This will be one of the significant factors in the development of alternative sources of energy: how they will impact existing needs and patterns of behavior. Wind farms in the plains states will not cause disruption. Solar panels in the desert will not cause disruption. Growing algae on rooftops or in transportable fermenting chambers will not cause disruption. That is why nuclear, though a safer alternative than usually perceived, has a problem because it provokes the ‘nimby’ or 'not-in-my-backyard' response.
There will be many developing revelations and innovations concerning alternative energy in the Shift Age, but for now, let’s hear it for the relevancy of the 3rd
grade biology class on photosynthesis. Three cheers for algae!