So you have researched renewable energy for a while and you are now getting up to speed. This is the way things are heading. After all, renewable energy is going to replace that dirty fossil fuel. Solar and wind is where the future lies.
Thus, you have your sights set on a few different companies. This is going to be a homerun in your book.
This is a time to be very careful. The world of energy is changing very rapidly. What people spent decades researching and building will be torn apart in a short period of time. This is the future of the energy market.
Most are convinced solar and wind are the future. This is true, in the near term. However, these are just transitionary solutions. They are not the end game.
Why do I say that?
To start, it is unlikely that they will be able to provide all the world's needs going forward. The thirst for energy is growing exponentially. This is happening in both the developed and non-developed countries. As society gets more advanced, energy is required.
Another reason is because of technology itself. We all saw the impact of informational technology on the world. There are similar strides being made in chemistry and the material sciences. This is radically altering the outlook for the future.
The "selling" point of solar is the idea that the sun provides more energy in a day than we can consume. This is true by an order of magnitude. We just need to harness this and convert it to electricity.
Of course, that requires a lot of raw materials and is expensive. While the costs are decreasing, it is still tens of thousands of dollars to put solar on the roof of a house in the U.S. That is a large chunk of change that needs to be recouped over the course of a lot of months.
However, if we point to the sun as an unused resource, how about the energy put off by 7.7 billion people? There is a good chance that people, through just their existence, produce an enormous amount of energy.
What if we were able to power all our wearables simply through the energy our body produces?
Energy harvesting is something researchers are looking into. They feel that there is the ability to utilize our own bodies as a power generation enter.
A joint research team from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology and Seoul National University said Tuesday it had developed a new elastic thermoelectric element that features high power generation performance by maximizing the element’s elasticity and heat transmission efficiency.
In recent days, numerous research reports have been published with respect to elastic thermoelectric elements that can convert waste heat from various types of sources into electric energy.
If such elastic thermoelectric elements are attached to human skin, they can power wearable devices without the need for batteries simply by using body heat.
This is an interesting turn of events. Certainly, powering the devices that are on our person (or attached to it) through our own bodies is a step forward. Sure, it sounds like Star Trek but there are obviously breakthroughs being made.
The research team succeeded in maximizing the elasticity of the thermoelectric element by using a high performance organic thermoelectric material for the elastic electrode.
By using a compound material that forms heat transmission paths on a selective basis, the research team also improved the heat transmission capacity of the elastic substrate by 800 percent.
What outstanding results. An increase of 800 percent. Now, we have no way of telling how much power is actually being generated and how close we are to seeing this in operation.
However, it does point out how there are a lot of avenues being pursued when it comes to energy. Some are working on taking energy directly out of the air. Others are working on making our bodies into a living breathing battery.
It is tempting to think that the path being laid is the one that we will definitely follow. Companies are spending billions betting on technologies that can be obsolete in less than a decade.
The energy sector operated without much fundamental change for decades. This makes it ripe for disruption. Obviously, what we are seeing now is the first stage of upsetting the norm. However, we can not be fooled into thinking this is the end.
Just like the word processor was a major step up from the dumb typewriter, it was only a phase in technological development. Basically, we were looking at a digitized typewriter. Nevertheless, in a short period of time, the computer came along and blasted it out of the water.
We will likely see the same thing happen in energy. What will be viewed as the next "savior" might only have a shelf life of a couple years.
This is why monitoring what is going on with technological research is critical. It can alert one to changes that are taking place which will wipe companies out, seemingly overnight.
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