Framework for Energy Technologies and Potential Outcomes

By Rod Handeland, January 2009

Following is summary of conclusions from course on Technology Breakthroughs for Energy and Food Crises related to energy prospects and potential outcomes. Since surveyed technologies are in-process rather than proven, much of course focused on background and progress rather than conclusions. However, based on course preparation, combined with other background and experience, many of the following may be important components of what we may see in energy evolution and response to formidable energy challenges.

Electricity in Transportation

The only realistic first step to any of near term energy supply and cost problems is to create and introduce a viable option to petroleum in transportation. The test of whether this is possible is if plug in electric autos are produced and sold in mass volumes soon. Without that, no cost effective progress will be made on either energy or global warming problems.

 

 

 

 

 

Coal and Alternate Energy

Without electricity in transport, there is no imperative for vast new supplies of electricity. Alternate energy from solar, wind, wave or geothermal, along with nuclear is only useful in supplying electricity not fueling transportation as it is now configured around petroleum..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Policy and Energy

Conservation supported by sensors, controls and monitors now possible from all telecom and information technology advances will be the primary facilitator of more efficient use of energy in coming years, supplemented by better education and human habits. The buildings we live and work in along with lands that produce food will be as dramatically improved in energy efficiency along with transportation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It would have been wonderful to have been able to test and discuss some of these issues and hypotheses in recent class. I recall mentioning a young Columbia grad working at Business International when I was there in 1980’s. I wonder whether he has taken interest in some of these energy potentials since then. As President elect of US, I certainly hope so.