In the quest for abundant and efficient energy sources, humanity has often been captivated by groundbreaking ideas that promise to revolutionize our lives.
Fusion and hydrogen were two such ideas.
Fusion and hydrogen, once hailed as the epitome of limitless power, sparked the imagination of the masses with their grand potential. These technologies, in theory, seemed to offer a path towards unprecedented prosperity and a future filled with abundance. However, as time has passed, it has become increasingly apparent that these lofty visions may have been nothing more than a mirage.
FUSION & HYDROGEN
At first glance, it may appear contradictory to describe Fusion and hydrogen as both the greatest and worst technologies. However, there is a logical explanation behind this apparent paradox.
The concept of harnessing the power of nuclear fusion, the process that powers the stars, was proposed in the early 1900s. However, it was not until the 1930s that scientists truly began to explore the possibilities of controlled fusion reactions for practical energy generation on Earth. In 1951, the first successful controlled fusion reaction took place, marking a significant milestone in the pursuit of fusion power.
The concept of hydrogen as a potential energy source has been known for quite some time. The idea of harnessing hydrogen as a fuel dates back to the early 19th century. In 1800, Sir William Grove discovered that by passing an electric current through water, it could be separated into its constituent elements, hydrogen and oxygen, in a process called electrolysis. This discovery laid the foundation for understanding hydrogen’s potential as a source of energy.
Fusion held the potential to revolutionize energy creation, while hydrogen seemed to offer a remarkable solution for energy storage, boasting incredible energy density.
Decades have passed since the advent of fusion and hydrogen, and yet they have consistently fallen short of their lofty promises.
Ironically, both fusion and hydrogen have been surpassed by alternative technologies that have managed to outshine them. Underdogs have quietly risen to prominence, leaving fusion and hydrogen in their wake – perhaps forever
SOLAR AND LITHIUM ION BATTERIES
Solar power was first discovered in the 19th century, with notable advancements in photovoltaic technology occurring in the mid-20th century.
Lithium-ion batteries, as we know them today, were developed in the late 20th century, with significant commercialization and widespread use beginning in the 1990s.
While solar power and lithium-ion batteries may not possess the same initial theoretical potential as fusion and hydrogen, they possess a unique characteristic that sets them apart—they continuously improve over time. Solar power and lithium-ion batteries harnessed the power of the market to push boundaries and continually improve their performance.
The exponential progress observed in solar power and lithium-ion battery technologies has defied expectations. While fusion and hydrogen stagnated, solar power and lithium-ion batteries rode the wave of continuous improvement. Their ability to evolve and adapt has propelled them to the forefront of the energy landscape, transforming them into reliable and practical solutions.
It is this remarkable characteristic—their capacity to get better year after year—that sets solar power and lithium-ion batteries apart from fusion & hydrogen.
SOLAR VERSUS FUSION
One of the fundamental challenges with fusion lies in the fact that it requires the creation of a sustained fusion reaction, followed by the conversion of that energy into electricity. In contrast, solar power takes advantage of the ongoing fusion reaction that occurs naturally in the sky through the Sun, allowing us to directly convert its energy into electricity. By leveraging God’s natural fusion reactor, we can harness the fusion energy that is readily available to us, rather than investing vast sums of money in attempting to replicate it on Earth.
SOLAR AND DECENTRALIZATION
Solar power offers another significant advantage over fusion: decentralization. It is foreseeable that, in the near future—potentially as early as 2029—solar panels will become so affordable and abundant that individuals and communities will have the capability to go off-grid. This means that we will no longer be tethered to the traditional electric grid for our energy needs. Instead, we will have the capacity to generate all the necessary power right on our own properties.
The cost of power lines
The cost of power lines is indeed a significant factor to consider. Transporting electricity over long distances incurs substantial expenses.
This brings us to an interesting point: even if fusion were to provide electricity for free or at an extremely low cost, the expenses associated with transmitting that electricity through power lines could outweigh its value.
On the other hand, with solar power, the potential for decentralization is immense. As the cost of solar panels continues to decrease, it is plausible to envision a future where individuals can produce their own solar energy for as little as 1 or 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, or perhaps even less. In contrast, purchasing electricity from a centralized fusion-based grid might cost significantly more, perhaps in the range of 10 to 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Ironically, Fusion power may one day be free and yet no one will want it because it costs too much to transport…
Not only will Solar allow for personal control and autonomy over energy production, but it also eliminates the need for extensive power line infrastructure and associated costs.
While fusion energy, in theory, may appear superior, its centralized nature and reliance on grid infrastructure limit its potential. To make fusion truly viable, it would need to be not only extremely cost-effective but also capable of on-site production, akin to the fictional Mr. Fusion from the “Back to the Future” movies. However, given the significant challenges encountered over the past 75 years in harnessing fusion energy, it is unlikely that we will have at-home fusion production systems in the near future.
THE PROBLEM WITH HYDROGEN
Hydrogen storage, conceived long before the advent of lithium-ion batteries, faces several significant challenges. The multi-step process involved in utilizing hydrogen as an energy source poses practical hurdles and limits its viability.
Firstly, the water used to obtain hydrogen must be purified, requiring additional resources and processes. Then, electricity is needed to split the hydrogen from water through electrolysis. Once produced, the hydrogen must be stored, which can be complex and potentially hazardous. Furthermore, the stored hydrogen needs to be converted back into electricity before it can be utilized, and finally, the electricity must be fed into an engine to perform work.
The simplicity of batteries is a significant advantage. In a battery, electricity is pumped in, stored, and subsequently delivered to an engine, requiring just three steps. This streamlined process contrasts with the five steps involved in hydrogen usage.
Could the five-step process of hydrogen ever surpass the simplicity and efficiency of the three-step battery process? Absolutely. Engineers continually push the boundaries of what is possible, seeking to uncover the theoretical limits of technologies. However, a key consideration arises again—centralization versus decentralization.
DECENTRALIZATION OF BATTERIES
Utilizing hydrogen would necessitate relying on external companies for fuel supply. In contrast, with batteries, individuals have the capability to generate and store their own electricity, often through home solar energy systems. This decentralized approach grants greater control and independence to energy consumers.
Considering the likelihood of running a personal electrolysis machine at home to produce and store hydrogen fuel in the near future, it remains uncertain.
Energy is the lifeblood of our modern society, and just as the production of energy has undergone significant transformations, so has the need for efficient energy storage. An energy revolution alone is not sufficient if we lack the means to store and utilize that energy effectively. That’s why a storage revolution is equally important. It allows us to take giant leaps forward in our societal progress.
In essence, the advancements in energy storage systems, such as batteries, are akin to creating bigger and better pots for storing our wealth in the form of electricity. Just as our ancestors recognized the value of storing food for long-term prosperity, we now have the opportunity to store and utilize energy efficiently, contributing to the advancement of our societies. As technology continues to evolve and costs decrease, we can look forward to even more significant leaps in energy storage, enabling a sustainable and prosperous future for all.
THE REVOLUTION IS ALREADY HERE
The energy revolution is upon us, and its catalysts have emerged in a form that surprises even the most astute observers. While fusion and hydrogen once held the allure of boundless possibilities, it is the unassuming combination of solar and batteries that has taken center stage. In theory, they were not expected to be the ultimate solution, but in practice, they have defied expectations and demonstrated remarkable efficacy.
The rise of solar power, coupled with the advancements in battery technology, has set in motion a transformation that is reshaping the world as we know it. These seemingly humble entities, working in tandem, are on the precipice of altering the very fabric of our existence. They hold the potential to unlock a future of abundant energy, sustainable living, and unprecedented independence.
But the true marvel lies in the symbiotic relationship between solar and batteries. These once-underestimated storage devices have evolved into reliable and dynamic repositories of electricity. Lithium-ion batteries, driven by advancements spurred on by the electronics industry, have found new purpose in storing the energy harnessed by solar panels. They act as the bridges between daylight and darkness, storing surplus energy for use during cloudy days or at night, ensuring a consistent supply of power and providing a lifeline to those seeking independence from traditional energy grids.
The implications of this revolution are profound. A world adorned with solar panels and interwoven with battery storage systems holds the promise of energy sovereignty, as individuals and communities gain the ability to generate, store, and manage their own power. No longer beholden to centralized energy structures, the decentralization of energy production and storage offers a path to personal empowerment, resilience, and a more sustainable future.
This revolution is not a distant dream. It is unfolding before our eyes, as solar panels adorn rooftops, batteries line the walls of homes and businesses, and renewable energy projects sprout across landscapes. It is a quiet transformation, fueled by innovation and a collective realization that the solutions we seek are already within our grasp.
In the not-too-distant future, the world will be draped in the embrace of solar energy and batteries, forever altering the way we live, work, and thrive. It is a revolution that heralds a brighter, cleaner, and more self-sufficient world—a world where the promise of abundant energy becomes a tangible reality. The fusion of solar and batteries has ushered in a new era, surpassing the lofty aspirations of fusion and hydrogen. The revolution is here, and its impact will be felt for generations to come.
The vision of energy that is “too cheap to meter” captivated the imaginations of many, fueled by the promises of fusion and hydrogen. The prospect of virtually limitless and affordable energy seemed within reach. However, as we tread further into the realms of technological progress, it becomes evident that it is solar and batteries that are leading us towards a future where the cost of energy approaches zero.
Imagine a world where the financial burden of energy consumption is significantly reduced or eliminated entirely. Such a reality would empower individuals, communities, and nations to redirect their resources towards other pressing needs, unlocking unprecedented opportunities for economic growth and human development. Abundant and affordable energy has the potential to propel innovation, drive progress, and uplift societies.
The dreamers of the past envisioned a future where energy would be readily available, affordable, and abundant. While fusion and hydrogen may have ignited our collective imagination, it is the pragmatic breakthroughs in solar and batteries that are bringing us closer to that vision. As we continue on this path, embracing the power of solar energy and advancing the capabilities of battery storage, we move towards a world where the cost of energy becomes inconsequential, and the possibilities for human prosperity become boundless.