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13 Unexpected Sources of Energy that Could Save the World

13 Unexpected Sources of Energy that Could Save the World | Energy |
If humans are going to keep living in the style to which we're accustomed, we need to find alternatives for fossil fuels. Partly that's because we need to reduce pollution -- and partly because those fossil fuels are going to run out. But alternative forms of energy may look a lot weirder than you think.
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Stanford Study: 100% Renewable Energy Is Feasible and Affordable

Stanford Study: 100% Renewable Energy Is Feasible and Affordable | Energy |

One of the greatest promises of the high-tech future, whether made explicitly or implicitly through shiny clean concept sketches, is that we will have efficient energy that doesn’t churn pollutants into the air and onto the streets.


But here in the present, politicians and even many clean energy advocates maintain that a world run on hydrogen and wind, water and solar power is not yet possible due to technical challenges like energy storage and cost.


Yet Stanford University researchers led by civil engineer Mark Jacobson have developed detailed plans for each state in the union that to move to 100 percent wind, water and solar power by 2050 using only technology that’s already available. The plan, presented recently at the AAAS conference in Chicago, also forms the basis for The Solutions Project nonprofit.


“The conclusion is that it’s technically and economically feasible,” states Jacobson. The plan doesn’t rely, like many others, on dramatic energy efficiency regimes. Nor does it include biofuels or nuclear power, whose green credentials are the source of much debate.

The proposal is straightforward: eliminate combustion as a source of energy, because it’s dirty and inefficient. All vehicles would be powered by electric batteries or by hydrogen, where the hydrogen is produced through electrolysis rather than natural gas. High-temperature industrial processes would also use electricity or hydrogen combustion.


The rest would simply be a question of allowing existing fossil-fuel plants to age out and using renewable sources to power any new plants that come online. The energy sources in the road map include geothermal energy, concentrating solar power, off-shore and on-land wind turbines and some and tidal energy. All but tidal energy collectors are already commercially available.

Clean energy would save an average American consumer $3,400 per year than the current fossil fuel regime by 2050, the study lays out. That’s because the price of fossil fuel rises regularly, but with clean energy — where raw materials are free — once the infrastructure is built, prices would fall.

Jacobson has previously mapped out a similar proposal for the global energy market, including China. A related plan with a greater emphasis on efficiency was recently released by the World Wildlife Fund.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Eli Levine's curator insight, March 30, 2014 1:12 PM

Way cool.


But it will not be put into place due to the politics of the fossil fuel industry and their undemocratic influence in our governments across the world.


They stand to lose a lot of money; forced to give up massive amounts of invested capital (even though the profits they've realized from those capital assets have, so far, more than paid for themselves already).


Here we are, contemplating putting a high polluting oil pipeline through our country while we frack for natural gas, and we could be spending our time getting off fossil fuels entirely in an economically viable manner.


Think about it.

Avneel Channan's curator insight, March 27, 2015 8:44 AM

Corroborating with the Costa Rica article, 100% renewable energy research is the stop towards a less polluted Earth.