John Stewart recently did a funny, very funny episode on oil and the governments undying call for oil independence over the years. (June,16th) Inspired by Obama’s recent malaise speech on the B.P. spill, Stewart played clips of every President since Nixon making decrees to the effect that somehow, in X years, “America” would be X more independent on oil or fossil fuels or middle east resources.
Windmills and solar panels will never come close to moving America away from fossil fuels. Not as they exist now. Plant-based fuels are actually heavily subsidized failures as well. Steve Green of Vodkapundit once suggested that the best source of energy would be an array of solar collectors in earths orbit which would use developing microwave technologies to send down the collected energy (solar panels actually work well in a vacuum) to collectors which would then distribute said energy to factories and homes and even automobiles. But he went on to say there was a hitch. Today, doing this would bankrupt every economy in the world (wait aren’t we all broke now?) and no one could afford such a leap in science. In Year 2100, it would cost us next to nothing to do this, so maybe we should “actually develop” the technology first. (all para-phrasing) The point being…investments and research take time, require a vibrant private sector, require free minds, require free markets, and require public demand…just not at the expense of bankruptcy.
Everyone has read about “some” new form or source of energy. Many people have picked a favorite. In 30 years, we will probably be using none of those ideas. Or all of them, but coupled with greater efficiency and technological breakthroughs. Your car could run off a hydrogen fuel cell with lithium backup and solar-powered lights. A dashboard illuminated by bio-engineered algae, tires made of bio-rubber that self repair, ect…or no tires at all? The hydrogen could be made from sea bed crystalline hydrocarbons harvested by a Hawaiian firm. The Lithium in your back-up battery came from the mountains of tora-bora in Afghanistan, an emerging economy. The solar collectors powering your car’s interior lights were developed and made by a local company your sister’s husband works at. The bio-engineered algae (in the dashboard) was developed by Shell. The bio-rubber, self repairing tires, were developed by Michelin in France. A new auto manufacturing company in India named Tata, has (since 2090) a working model of a tire-less car, complete with four, micro-hydrogen fuel cell thrusters. Thanks to further developments in nano-technology, the physical manufacture of said cars are half the cost of a car today. Factories are air-tight, human-less nano laboratories. Humans control service robots from their vacation homes.
Oil could still be around, laser drilling at depths of 15,000 feet, crude oil could be extracted for specialty uses by B.P., a subsidiary of Vestas.
But who knows?