Energy

Our use of Energy has what has propelled us to be different from all life we know. Our command of various Energy sources has allowed us to control our environment and the things within it. This, along with our ability to adapt has made us a unique life form.

Fire was available and, as with many energy sources, it was a very powerful force in our own evolution as a species. We have been making fire for hundreds of thousands of years. Clearly, this was one of our first major Exponential Technology advancements.

We learned how to use it for heat, cooking, tool making and the like a few thousand years ago. Then, around the year zero, began combining the force of fire with other fuels, like petrol, for light and then other purposes.

Water, wind, and solar were incorporated in their early forms over millennia.  There is a lot of focus on these renewable energies today and they show great promise to providing us with much more clean and reliable energy.

That said, leveraging steam from stored energy really changed the amount of power we had and where we could direct it more than anything up to that point. We later discovered electricity and how to use it for power. While steam has faded, using the power of electricity is still increasing.

Fossil fuels and the combustion and other engine technology eventually took us to new levels of power, mobility and eventually, even to the moon. Now, our creations are beyond our solar system with the Voyager 1 and 2 powered by such things as hydrazine and plutonium supplemented by slingshot gravity.

Nuclear power  was somehow figured out by theorist and we began using it for power plant fuel in the 1950’s.  A few significant accidents and a variety of related concerns stalled nuclear power quite a bit. Still, there are things like our deep space exploration that would not be possible without it.

Oil, coal and natural gas are the mainstay fuels that deliver power today. Power is what gave us such command of the world. Whether one thinks that is good or bad, civilization as we know it, is not possible without it.

Fuel is power, convenience, mobility and much more for us. We keep thinking we will run out of Energy, only to find more. Clean, Renewable Energy is the holy grail. Let’s hope we find it.

Batteries could be our saving grace.  Perhaps Batteries are the key to making that transition a reality:

The ability to capture and store the renewable energy has a lot of potentials. Unfortunately, Batteries suck, according to Elon Musk. Here is some of why:

Episode 620: Why Batteries Suck : Planet Money : NPR While most technology is getting smaller and cheaper, batteries still suck. Today on the show, we learn exactly why, and meet some of the people trying to make batteries better.

And more…

Whatever happens with batteries and other innovations, and it is likely to be a lot, Energy has provided us with what we needed to move beyond the campfire and into space. Without Energy, life as we know it would not exist.