What If The Future Of Utilities Was Found Within Our Universe?

September 23, 2014 Jen Dubler

The new energy era is all about efficiency and optimizing existing resources to make the most of what we are already using and what we already have available. It’s about proper planning, accurate forecasting, and optimal execution.

Understanding how to be efficient in managing resources in this new era is about knowing the current state and looking into the future of industry and where it may take us. A few bold predictions lead us down a path built of intelligent insights and provides some food for thought as we move into a world that hasn’t been explored. Here are a few ideas that will change how we use the world around us.

What if the universe was our next fuel source?

future of utilitiesThink about it. What if the energy and fuel we needed could actually be harvested from something that already exists? That is the basic concept behind a potential fuel source known as antimatter.

Antimatter, as described by LiveScience, is the “bizzaro twin of matter” and is made up of “antiparticles that have the same mass as ordinary matter, but with opposite atomic properties known as spin and charge.” LiveScience explains the fuel generating process as, “When the opposed particles meet, they annihilate each other and release tremendous amounts of energy as dictated by Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2.” That is a lot of science and the idea seems to be a promising alternative (or supplement) to the resources we are using today. There is, of course, a challenge in that there is only a limited amount available in the universe and laboratory production is neither cheap nor easy. However, NASA has reported that they are funding research into creating antimatter drives that could become future fuel sources.

Another development of fuel that is reliant on the universe is hydrogen fuel-cell technology, which could be a future, viable transportation fuel. Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles work by passing hydrogen molecules through an air chamber where it interacts with the oxygen naturally found in the atmosphere. The oxygen and the hydrogen react to produce electricity and water. The electricity is used to power the electric motor of the car. After combustion, the car emissions only consist of water and some heat – making it free of greenhouse gasses or the toxins found in gasoline. Simply put, the fuel powering a fuel-cell car is hydrogen – the most abundant element in the universe.

What if energy was free?

In essence, energy is already free – there is energy all around us and we can create kinetic energy just by moving. However, just because the energy exists, it doesn’t mean we are using it to future of utilities 2its fullest potential. There are already companies who are using renewable energy in the forms of solar, hydro power, and wind power. But, we must do better. We are at the point where we need to learn how to harness this existing energy and pair it with science and innovation to it into something we can store and consume regularly.

Justin Hall’s 2011 Global TED Talk references the idea that we can “stop burning up the planet and generate all the energy we need, right where we are, cleanly, safely, and cheaply.” Hall describes a new material, which could be placed on windows and can push heat away and when in a different state, the device will absorb light and heat. This innovative solution could help us revolutionize how we create, use, share, and consume energy.

What if we could mine the moon?

future of utilities 2If we could mine the moon, there is a good chance we could uncover some of our universe’s natural resources, which might lead to better knowledge about the solar system and how our universe works. And this isn’t a far-fetched idea.

Google is encouraging companies to find a way to to mine the moon with a robot to explore the surface of the mysterious sphere in the solar system. The competition has a 2015 deadline and boasts a hefty $20 million first prize, which will be awarded to the first privately funded company to land a robot on the moon that successfully explores the surface by moving at least 500 meters and sends high-definition video back to Earth.

We already know there is water on the moon and that water supports life and agriculture. Water can also be a source of rocket fuel and successfully mining the moon opens the door to understanding a new part of our universe.

Prepare for this new era and learn more about the future of energy and resource optimization using technology and predictive planning

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