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Future Energy

We all know that fossil fuels are depleting fast and getting costlier by the day.... but what alternatives do we have...
by Praveen Baratam
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With ever increasing petroleum prices and no alternative in sight, some key enablers of Globalization such as Aviation and Shipping industry are taking a hit.

Its interesting to note that imported steel is no longer the best option in USA and domestic steel industry is booming once again. The same trend could catch up all across the manufacturing sector as freight costs increase further.

Some renowned economists including Jeff Rubin are already predicting the end of global economy as we see it.

But shipping industry can certainly take a helping hand from bio-fuels and natural gas if crude prices maintain their trend upwards.

May be one day we will see solar cargo ships!!!

Moreover as oil prices rise, consumers will adjust and replace oil. We can see oil prices plateau even if supply falls in future. For example as oil prices increase, many will adjust their life to commute shorter distances and switch to electric vehicles, trucks will embrace natural gas, etc.
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Jeff Rubin - Glabalization, Recession and Oil
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
Apple, GE, Whirlpool and few other companies have recently announced that they will be bringing some manufacturing back to America. "Oil prices are three times what they were in 2000. Natural gas in the US is a quarter of what it is in Asia. Chinese wages are five times what they were in 2000 and are expected to keep rising rapidly. And labor is a steadily decreasing percentage of the cost of manufacturing." - Steve Denning from Forbes.com. Looks like the prophecy is coming true!
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While there are many compelling arguments in favor of Wind and Wave energy, there are few that go against these sources of power. According to Axel Kleidon, Mark Buchanan and others, Wind and Wave energy are essential components of our Climate system and once we start tapping their energy, Earth's climate will begin to change. They express caution against wide spread use of Wind and Wave power plants. While these arguments have compelling science behind them, we are still long way away from making any noticeable impact.

More:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028063.300-wind-and-wave-farms-could-affect-earths-energy-balance.html
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Wind Energy - Climate Change
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Ocean waves have a great deal of energy in them which can be harnessed to create yet another alternative source of electricity. Many shorelines across the world have enough energy to make these systems viable.

Many start-ups and research initiatives across Europe and Asia have already started perfecting this technology and it may not be long before the associated costs are brought down to a level comparable to traditional sources of electricity.

The only hiccup according to me is that this will directly compete with Wind power. Any location with adequate waves will also be suitable for Wind power as wind and waves go together. It all depends on which turns out be cheaper of the two.
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SurfPower - Wave Power System
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Ramgopal Neerukonda, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
Tidal Energy and Wind Energy are different. Tidal energy is caused mainly by raise and fall of sea levels and wind plays a very partial role in generating the Tidal energy where as Wind Energy is completely dependent on winds.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_power
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
When I said Wind power systems will compete with Wave power systems, I dint mean to say that one can be used in place of the other. But if you examine closely, the shorelines with high waves are also the shorelines with high wind speeds. Where there are big waves there will be powerful wind.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
Moreover Tidal power is different from Wave power. Tidal power relies on raising and falling sea levels where as wave power relies on energy in ocean surface waves. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_power
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Here is an interesting argument and plan for a sustainable future...
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A 50 year plan for Sustainable Energy
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
His plan which he says is self fulfilling has partly come true in the form of Chevrolet Volt, which is more than a hybrid in that it can utilize two sources of power, electricity and gasoline.
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Anivesh Baratam, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
All these will remain prototypes for a long time.It takes much more than research to implement these in the real world!
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
Everything starts out as R&D. Some will find real world use and others remain unachievable or impractical. We all know one thing for sure that fossil fuels are not going to last long.
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An inspiring talk by Donald Sadoway, MIT, about high capacity battery technology that will eventually help us transition to renewable sources of energy like solar and wind.
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Donald Sadoway: The missing link to renewable energy
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
Apparently their company is in early commercialization efforts and Bill Gates has invested in it.
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