Energy Alternatives that we need to work on for better living environment
We are facing as humanity the need for energy and the impact that our use of energy is having on the environment. A decade ago, if we go, in the 2002-03 timeframe, the Nobel Prize laureate Richard Smalley did a study on identifying the top ten problems that face humanity and he ranked Energy Alternatives at number 1. He also justified that by explaining that by solving the energy problem, we would be able to solve all of the other problems like water, food, environment, poverty, terrorism & war, disease, and many more. Well, the United States currently uses about closely to 25% of the world’s energy, about the one-fourth of the energy produced in the world used in the U.S. but we are only about 5% of the population that may seem like the problem but it is really an indication of the problem. The real problem is that all of the developed countries use more energy than 10% of the population percentage. It is really a reflection of the standard of living quality of life. The challenge we have is that at the top list China and India are the two countries that represent together about 40% of the world’s population yet they are using less energy than their percentage population. As these countries start to lift their populations out of poverty and continue their industrialization they are going to start consuming more of the energy. We are already seeing the price of gasoline and oil rising, there is going to be more competition for that energy and of course, the impact it has on its environment will continue to expand. Automobiles represent one of the areas of large consumption of energy but also a large production of pollution due to CO2 emissions destroying our environment. In fact, there are about 80 million cars manufactured every year in the world and as those countries start to evolve and continue to improve the quality of life of their citizens those numbers are going to get even larger.
To put it into perspective clearly as we use more gasoline produce more CO2 into the atmosphere we are producing more pollution. Ideally, we would transition to a different kind of energy source such as electric vehicles. To put that under perspective 80 million cars produced every year, the battery for the Tesla Model S cost about 50,000 dollars so there is an economic impact of about 4 trillion dollars in batteries every year. That is a mind-boggling impact clearly; we have a better battery technology if we are going to make electric vehicles possible. We see the impact to the environment because of our use of fossil fuels every day, being constantly reminded of it but we need to get our perspective on how we are going to address the problem so that we don’t go the way as dinosaur did. Between 1970 and 1999 we spent about 7 trillion dollars on oil, literally, have been exporting our wealth and had about three oil price hikes, for instance, 73 oil embargo and each of those followed by economic recession. And since 2000, after had a war with Iraq over oil there was a recession that led to housing collapse which is still in a tailspin of recovering from that.
One of the top 10 world-changing innovations, JTech that is designed to convert heat directly into electricity in a cost-effective way is competitive with the coal and natural gas which is able to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels. It is a two-membrane electrode assembly similar to what it is used in a fuel cell. In the fuel cell, we have the proton conducting membranes and there is the only hydrogen that circulates in the engine continuously in a loop and is never used to be consumed. There are two stacks, one at low temperatures and the other one at high temperature. The low-temperature stack is to compress hydrogen and this compressed hydrogen is supplied to the high-temperature stack where the hydrogen expands from high pressure to low pressure. And with the heat supplied during high-temperature expansion more energy is produced during the high-temperature expansion that takes to keep the low-temperature compression going ending up with net electricity coming out. This engine operates on a cycle that is equivalent to what is called Carnot cycle which is theoretically more efficient than the previous engines built so far with no moving mechanical parts. With this engine, we will be able to use it to collect energy from the sun producing electricity further directly which is more efficient than solar cells. The cost of this electricity would be competitive with fossil fuels.