In the previous post I discussed The Top 4 UK Renewable Energy Sources of the Near Future, and sure those are cool and all – but they’re not new. Renewables always excite me and I love talking about them, but I was left with a bigger question after having finished my last article. What other potential sources of energy could we harvest in the future to support our ever-growing demand for energy? Well, as it turns out, this questions has some very cool and interesting answers. Let’s dive into four of the potential future power sources that may contribute to global renewable energy.
4. Wave Energy
Okay, it’s not exactly surfing, but coming in at spot 4 is wave energy, and it’s still pretty damn cool. With wave energy still being a fairly new technology, there’s a lot for it to prove. With the right amount of wave-energy capturing units deployed, the UK alone could hardness around 30-50GW of energy capacity in total. Wave deployments capture the natural up and down movements of waves using a float. This float is connected to a generator, inside, a series of magnets that move up and down with the waves to generate electricity to be sent via cables to the shore.
It’s fairly cool, harnessing the natural moving elements of Earth to generate electricity – I can dig it.
3. Deep or Core Geothermal Energy
Although we already have energy plants that capture energy from the Earths sub-surface, deep or core, geothermal energy is going that one step further to capture energy directly from the core of Earth. With a limitless supply of guilt and pollution-free energy, it could make a significant impact on the energy available to us in the future.
Though tapping into this energy doesn’t come without its challenges. First of all, we’d have to drill down thousands of kilometres to get at the Earths core and I sure wouldn’t want to be operating that drill. Once we get there, we’d need to be able to harness and transport the energy back up to the earths surface without melting our tools for the job, though scientists have already found a solution for that problem in the use of graphene.
Pretty cool, pretty cool – but also fairly scary. Maybe we’ve drilled down far enough, for now.
2. Nuclear Fusion
Not to be confused with Nuclear Fission (the nuclear energy you’re used to hearing about), Nuclear Fusion is the act of smashing two atoms together to create a heavier atom, and not only does it produce more energy than Fission, it doesn’t come with the radioactive waste either! Nuclear Fusion is similar to the process that powers the sun, a fantastic source of energy and something scientists have been learning from for years.
Despite progress being made in the research for nuclear fusion, it’s hard to sustain for long periods of time due to the extremely high pressures and temperatures involved with the process. Recently this year, the UK government revealed its plans for the UK’s first potential nuclear fusion plant to be built, but we’re still to hear any major progress on this.
Nuclear energy capable of producing even more energy than the nuclear we know today, and without the radioactive waste? That’s cool.
1. SPACE ENERGY
Okay, I’ll be honest – this whole article is centred around the fact that I wanted to talk about space energy. Space is cool, very cool, and it has to have the number one spot in this top four.
Research and tests have already managed to BEAM energy from space using LASERS, back to Earth. Using solar panels to capture the energy and send that back to Earth, what could be cooler? And what can we do with more energy captured in space? More space missions. More cool space stuff.
Having solar panels in space would capture tonnes more energy than we can on Earth, with plenty of space (hah) to fill with solar panels and no interruption from capturing energy 24/7, it sounds pretty promising. As well as solar panels, we can use solar thermal technology to concentrate light using mirrors, heat up a liquid to then operate a turbine, generating electricity.
The progression of this technology has a long way to go, and I imagine the cost of deploying this technology is extremely high, but who’s to say it won’t be affordable in the future? That’s how technology works! Lastly, I’m sure the idea of having lasers beam earth rings too close a death ray, we can work those problems out later. It’s just cool, for now. Very cool.