The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said that, “The only thing constant is change.” Change is not only inevitable, but it’s necessary for survival. The same is true about the world’s dependence on oil. Alternative sources of energy besides oil are now becoming necessary. But this wasn’t always the case.
We’ve been drilling for oil for thousands of years. Were the Babylonians aware of the future environmental repercussions and economic dependence on oil? It’s unlikely. Did oil-based products allow the world to evolve exponentially? Of course. Did the positive aspects of oil drilling (at the time) outweigh the negatives? Yes. Is it now time to explore alternative sources of energy in hopes of repairing the damage done to the environment? Yes.
The point is that change takes time. In fact, the change we want to see probably won’t happen in a lifetime. Activists can’t expect large businesses to abandon thousands of years of tradition overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were companies that deliver sustainable sources of energy. We need to learn how to walk before we can run, and increased knowledge will help us evolve into star athletes. So, for those who’ve been intrigued by our solar-powered vehicle, here’s some examples of renewable sources of energy that make our vehicle look like child’s play:
1. Geothermal Energy: Can be used to heat/cool a home or power entire cities. Iceland generates 25% of their total energy through geothermal power plants. In fact, half of North America sits on a large tectonic plate that can easily harness enough geothermal energy for the entire country.
2. Solar Panels: Germany produced 35.5GW of energy using solar panels in 2010. How much energy is that? One Gigawattt can power 700,000 homes.
3. Solar Reflection: Australia (and recently California) uses giant mirrors that beam reflected energy onto towers which heat up and store energy in giant batteries. This technology also works at night!
4. Ocean Wave Generators: Wave farms are currently being used world-wide. Gravitational forces that cause waves to form are used to generate electricity.
5. Windmills: Used world-wide for thousands of years. Can be used in the ocean. Could a windmill on a vehicle, combined with solar panels, an energy generating tire system and automated car battery replacement stations, completely eliminate the need for gas stations?
6. Magnetic Engines: BMW already has a fully-functional prototype (lookout Tesla!). The push and pull of magnets create unlimited electricity with little to no energy input. Magnets lose 1% of their power/year and take minimal energy to recharge.
7. Biomass Energy Power Plants: Using waste to generate power. It’s not rocket science.
8. Special Properties of Unusual Alloys: For example, Nitonol (Nickel + Titanium) has an unusual shape memory. It can be bent at one temperature and return to it’s original shape (on it’s own) at another temperature. Below is a diagram of a working prototype machine that utilizes the properties of Nitinol to produce electricity with minimal energy input.
9. Other Unconventional Energy Resources: Chocolate (not sure if I’m willing to hand over one of my favorite foods for the greatest good), Compressed Air, Natural Gas, Algae (half the body weight of algae is oil), space-based solar-power, sound waves (a fascinating area of research), the high propulsion capabilities of dark matter/antimatter (CERN accelerator in Switzerland) and capturing the energy in lightening and using it to hypermagnetize large electromagnetic turbines.
Change takes time, and if you want to expedite the evolutionary process sometimes you have to do it yourself. At the end of the day however, it’s not only about being environmentally friendly. Businesses also need to make wise financial decisions using available resources.
On our 2-year anniversary (July 4, 2016), Epicurus 101 will have saved approximately $12,000 in fossil fuels by using solar technology for locomotion. How much money per year would you save if you didn’t have to pay for gas?
Dr. John Hofmann
PS: Is free energy closer than we think?