We are on the threshold of a revolution! An economic revolution, an environmental revolution, and a social revolution. But there are powerful forces that don't want that revolution to happen. Ever since Ronald Reagan embraced the Oligarchs that bought the Republican party in the late 70's, they've been pressing their boots on the back of the neck of democracy.
While we've been rightfully up in arms about the new Oligarchs from Wall Street, we may have forgotten about the fossil fuel Oligarchs that have over 100 years experience in corrupting governments and suppressing people around the globe. One of the biggest threats to democracy today comes from the Koch brothers who follow the gospels of the 19th century robber baron bible.
But there is a threat on the horizon that could rob these 21st century plutocrats of the power of their money. But the threat won't come like a thief in the middle of the night, but rather from the overwhelming power of the noon day sun. Once we cross the Alternative energy threshold, these fossil fuel Oligarchs will have their political power neutered, and they will be exposed as the psychopathic planetary threat they really are.
But crossing the Alternative energy threshold is by no means assured and they will fight the market forces tooth and nail to prevent it from happening.
So what do I mean by the Alternative Energy threshold?
I'm talking about the economic forces that will take hold of energy production from non fossil fuels sources like solar and wind, and push it through the economy like a new conspiracy theory at a Tea Party convention. When Solar and Wind become cheaper than coal, oil, and NG, it's game over for fossil fuels, and our children just might survive the damage to the atmosphere that fossil fuels have already done. We're close, but we're not there yet.
Below, is what's been happening to the cost of solar and wind over the last couple of decades.
The intermittent nature of solar and wind will keep it a secondary electricity source until we are able to smooth out the production curve. And because Solar/Wind are electricity sources, we'll never penetrate the fossil fueled transportation market until we have a high density, economical storage system.
Once we get good, inexpensive batteries, things are going to change fast. Who's going to put $20 worth of gas in their car when they can put in $6 worth of electricity to go the same distance? People will have batteries and an inverter in their basements. They'll charge the batteries with cheaper night time electricity, and use the storage during the day when electricity is more expensive. And at some point, people with a roof full of solar panels will start asking if it's even worth the expense to hook up to the grid. Of course the utility companies will use batteries to smooth out the fluctuations in the grid.
So Why don't we have these batteries now? It takes 4 things to get us across the threshold.
2) Energy density
4) Recharge speed.
Most of these qualities are interrelated, but we don't necessarily need them all to cross the threshold. Battery technology is advancing rapidly, but not fast enough. Any new technology could use a kick start and batteries are no exception. Here are some of the latest advances in battery technology.
The people at Oak Ridge National Laboratories are working on some new chemistry for batteries.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., April 24, 2014 — Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new and unconventional battery chemistry aimed at producing batteries that last longer than previously thought possible.Breakthroughs in nanotechnology batteries are coming fast.
When ORNL researchers incorporated a solid lithium thiophosphate electrolyte, the battery generated a 26 percent higher capacity than what would be its theoretical maximum if each component acted independently.
The improvement in capacity could translate into years or even decades of extra life, depending on how the battery is engineered and used.
Lead researcher Dr. Kevin Ryan explains, “We have developed a new germanium nanowire-based anode that has the ability to greatly increase the capacity and lifetimes of lithium-ion batteries. This breakthrough is important for mobile computing and telecoms but also for the emerging electric vehicle market allowing for smaller and lighter batteries that can hold more charge for longer and maintain this performance over the lifetime of the product.”Even old types of batteries like flow batteries are getting a new look.
As you can see, improvements in battery technology (and I haven't even mentioned hydrogen) are advancing on many fronts. This is literally, civilization saving technology. But we can't wait for the "market place" to decide which technology should advance and which should be left on the curb, especially with the Oligarchical fossil fuel industry fighting it every step of the way. If ever we needed government to step in for the wellbeing of our nation and the planet, now is the time. Confront your democratic candidates and demand they take action to support the fast advancement of all Alt-E technologies. Once we cross the Alt-E threshold, with the help of advanced battery technology, fossil fuels will become a dark dirty chapter in future history books.Harvard University researchers say they’ve developed a new type of battery that could make it economical to store a couple of days of electricity from wind farms and other sources of power. The new battery, which is described in the journal Nature, is based on an organic molecule—called a quinone—that’s found in plants such as rhubarb and can be cheaply synthesized from crude oil. The molecules could reduce, by two-thirds, the cost of energy storage materials in a type of battery called a flow battery, which is particularly well suited to storing large amounts of energy.