Humanity is once again on the verge of an energy revolution

Who doesn’t need energy to live?

energy revolution

The greatest economic and political debate over the last few hundred of years is: how to keep humanities lights on? Originally, mankind found out the fire, then, the technique allowed our species to use whale oil to keep portable lamps on for more time. The use of oil for lamps triggered curiosity in people’s minds and so the discovery of oil itself became a thing. At least 150 years have passed ever since.

Many players have competed against the old and reliable oil. First, it was alcohol, either produced by corn or other sources it posed a threat to petrol. Alcohol as an energetic resource never really saw the light due to how impractical it became in the 1930’s during the alcohol ban in the United Stated, this is just one case among many.

During the 1930’s and 1940’s extensive research on the optimization of energy, proliferation was held, and it involved understanding the general mechanics of our reality. This effort led to the realization that atoms make up everything in the world; an atom consists of a nucleolus created with protons and neutrons, surrounded by a cloud of electrons.

Scientists from the Manhattan project took Einstein’s theory and bundled it with Oppenheimer’s operative knowledge to understand that under certain conditions, an atom’s nucleolus can be divided into two creating an immense proliferation of energy, a chain reaction of these divisions devised the origin of the atomic bomb, which was used to prevent further human loss by ending the Second World War.

Our current innovation cycle implies that breakthrough technology starts in the military and is soon adopted by the open market; so controlled versions of the nuclear bomb process were implemented as a solution to effectively fuel the earth. Soon after WWII, the United States had its own nuclear navy.

Nuclear reactors make up to 20% of the electricity in the United States, and they are a good solution for the energetic development of mankind, as it won’t emit pollutants to space, in return, it generates radioactive nuclear waste that must be carefully stored.

Nuclear and oil based energy is relatively cheap and effective, but both share a point against, they generate waste. Given political and economic pressure, it’s been hard to replace our energetic system. Here comes solar energy.

Solar energy has been the underdog in the energy sector, it’s cheap but hard to centralize, and governments as corporations need funds to invest in technology to foster human development. Nevertheless, a change in the world’s collective conscience has led an increasing market for clean energy. Far from tearing down oil’s empire, it has shown clear signs of increased adoption.

In the United States, a referent of a non-early adopter of green energy saw a never seen before phenomenon from January to April 2017, where renewable energy output soared about 65 billion kWh during spring, nuclear energy’s output was 60 billion kWh according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

This single data shows that today’s recognition of the importance of clean energies has surpassed the tradition that the Second World War left. It’s clear that oil is the undisputed force in our world, but it’s good to see how modern day technologies are slowly taking over worldwide, without the need of a war to trigger change.

Solar energy beating nuclear is a big deal because it proves that humanity is changing its direction to a sustainable path, coexisting and updating past perspectives.


Latin American Post | David Eduardo Rodríguez Acevedo

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto 

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