The New Infinite Power Solutions (IPS) is coming soon.
We have a lot of exciting information to share with you regarding all things energy, technology and power.
Our goal is to help summarize and review a wide range of solar power, energy storage, computers, electronics, smart devices and appliances, satellites, rechargeables, hybrids, the Internet and more.
The only thing we will not talk about here at Infinite Power is automotive, aerospace and multi-planetary expansion (we will leave that to the likes of Elon Musk and Bill Gates).
- 1 IPS – Introducing You to the Latest Advances in Energy, Technology, and Power in 2016
IPS – Introducing You to the Latest Advances in Energy, Technology, and Power in 2016
Over the past 100 years, technology has primarily changed the way we communicate: the internet has made it easier to interact with people instantly anywhere in the world, and commercial flights have made the world smaller than it’s ever been at any point in history.
Over the next 100 years, however, technology’s biggest changes might involve the way we produce energy.
How is technology going to influence energy production in the future? The best way to answer that question is to look at how technology is changing energy production today. Here’s an overview of today’s most advanced power producing technologies:
The Basics of Solar Energy Production
Every hour, the sun hits our planet with enough solar energy to power the world for one entire year.
We’ve known about the enormous potential of solar energy for years. Now, thanks to falling production costs and advanced cell technologies, solar energy is becoming more practical than ever before.
Today, solar energy is powering homes around the world.
Of course, solar energy isn’t just the use of photovoltaic cells (although that’s what most people think of when they hear “solar energy”). Solar energy can also be used to refer to solar water heating as well as passive solar design for space heating and cooling.
Typically, photovoltaic systems can be one of the following types:
-PV-Direct Systems: These simple solar systems don’t have batteries and aren’t hooked up to your home’s incoming utility lines. They only power the home with the sun is shining and cannot store energy long-term. Typically, PV-Direct systems are only used for a small number of applications, like water pumping and ventilation.
-Off-Grid Systems: Off-grid systems are most commonly found in remote areas without traditional utility service. These systems can be installed anywhere (provided there’s sufficient solar energy supply). These systems require a battery bank where you can store the electricity for use when the sun isn’t shining – like when it’s cloudy or dark outside. Other key features of this system include a charge controller (which lets you release energy from the batteries to prevent overcharging), an inverter (which converts the DC PV array power to AC so it can be used to power your AC household appliances) as well as the required disconnects, monitoring systems, and associated electrical safety gear.
-Grid-Tied Systems with Battery Backup: Grid-tired systems with battery backup are virtually identical to off-grid systems with one major difference: they’re connected to the utility grid. This reduces the need for the system to provide all the energy all the time.
-Battery-less Grid-Tied Systems: These systems go by a few different names, including on-grid, grid-tied, utility-interactive, grid-direct, or grid-intertied. The systems generate solar electricity and route it to the loads and to the electric utility grid. This offsets the home or business’s electricity usage. In layman’s terms, this system produces energy for the home. If it produces too much energy, that energy is sent into the grid. If it produces too little energy, the home can draw from the grid.
These four different solar electricity systems will change the way we produce energy in the future. In fact, companies like SolarCity and others are already proving they can change energy usage today.
Over the next decade, we should see an enormous surge in the growth of solar panel systems across the United States – particularly in the Sun Belt. Companies like SolarCity help homeowners avoid the high upfront costs of solar panel installation by leasing out solar panels to homeowners. Over the period of 25 or 30 years, homeowners can buy back these solar panels and eventually reap the benefits of solar electricity. This is making solar panel installation feasible for millions who would otherwise be unable to afford it.
Where Are Computers Going in the Future?
The future of computing can be separated into two broad areas of technology:
Of those two fields, artificial intelligence (AI) will hit the scene first. We already see AI every day in video games, computer systems, and even Google’s search engine.
Over the coming years and decades, AI is expected to continue expanding at an enormous pace. One of the best ways to visualize this growth is through this Bloomberg chart:
AI research and AI startup funding isn’t going to decrease anytime soon.
As one AI researcher put it, the next goal is to create “a computer that can talk to you”. To do that, the researcher theorized that we need to create a machine framework that gives machines long-term memory. This, in turn, could lead to machines capable of reasoning.
Other realistic advances in the future of computing include virtual reality and augmented reality – both of which have already been seen in our world. The Oculus Rift lets us trick our brains into thinking we’re inhabiting a virtual space. Meanwhile, smartphone apps let you virtually “add” interactive objects to your field of vision.
There’s also wall computing, where businesses are expecting to have massive, interactive touchscreens on walls around their businesses to facilitate interaction. Microsoft launched the Surface Hub in January 2016 specifically for this purpose.
All of the technologies listed above include technologies that are real, accessible, and about to be released onto the world (or have already been released onto the world).
Our next technology, quantum computing, however, is still in its very early stages of development.
As one quantum computing company named D Wave explains it, “a quantum computer taps directly into the fundamental fabric of reality – the strange and counterintuitive world of quantum mechanics – to speed computation.”
If you missed a few classes in high school physics, then you might need a brush up on quantum physics. Basically, it’s the idea that matter can operate as both particles and waves, and that it can operate two different spaces and states at the same time.
By harnessing this fundamental power of physics, we can make computers that are thousands of times more powerful than anything in the world today.
Quantum computers use qubits to store information. Qubits can be stored as 0s or 1s at the same time (as opposed to traditional computers, which require you to store information as either a 0 or a 1).
The age of quantum computing has almost arrived. With groundbreaking new research being performed every day, it’s inevitably only a matter of time before quantum computers have a big impact in consumer marketplaces.
Smart Devices and Appliances: Helping Homes Communicate with People
Smart devices made a huge surge in growth in the first half of the 2010s. Over the past few years, we’ve seen technologies like smart ovens, smart microwaves, and smart thermostats go from “weird, niche, expensive” products to common technology that can be found in millions of homes around the world.
Today, some people have wired their homes via a smart hub in order to be able to control every aspect of their home with their smartphone.
From home security systems controlled over your phone to color-changing smart LEDs, smart appliances and smart devices are helping our homes become more connected to us than ever before.
Rechargeable Vehicles and Hybrids
Electric cars and rechargeable vehicles have long been viewed as the best solution to our worldwide dependence on a dwindling resource: oil.
Rechargeable vehicles and hybrids rely on the power of electricity to power their motors. Instead of burning fossil fuels and leaving behind dangerous carbon emissions, electric cars burn clean, efficient energy.
Electric vehicles produce no exhaust but require long charging times. They also have faster acceleration but shorter distance range.
Companies like Tesla are leading the charge on electric vehicles. Today, Teslas and Tesla charging stations can be found in parking lots around the world. We’re a long ways away from even putting a dent into our global oil consumption, but electric vehicles are a valuable first step towards a cleaner future.
What Are Other Futuristic Power Production Methods?
Depending on where you live, the future of energy production may be vastly different. Sunny Arab region countries might rely entirely on solar production, for example, while wetter, more mountainous countries might rely entirely on hydroelectric production.
Here are some of the futuristic power production methods being talked about today:
-Hydrogen Fuel Cells: These generate electricity using only hydrogen and oxygen and are pollution free. We can make cars that run on hydrogen fuel cells. Their only emission? Water.
-Nuclear Energy: Nuclear power is used around the world, and nuclear waste storage is becoming significantly safer and more feasible than ever before, making nuclear energy a more and more valid option.
-Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion: Oceans cover 70% of the planet, and water is a natural solar energy collector. We can harness the power of this energy by exploiting the temperature differences between the surface water heated by the sun and the water in the chilly depths of the ocean to generate electricity.
-Hydroelectricity: Particularly well-suited for wet, mountainous regions, hydroelectricity involves harnessing the power of falling, flowing, or otherwise moving water. In some parts of the world – like the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec, Canada, over 85% of provincial energy production comes from hydroelectric dams.
-Biomass: Also known as biofuel, biomass energy involves releasing the chemical energy stored in organic matter – like wood, crops, and animal waste. We release this energy by burning it. The main difference between this and burning fossil fuels is that biomass is renewable.
-Wind Energy: Wind turbines are just the first step towards mass wind energy production. Scientists are already talking about creating power stations in the sky using floating windmills 15,000 feet in the air.
-Solar Energy: The planet’s heating up anyway. Why not harness the sunnier, warmer climates and use it to produce energy?
-Antimatter: Antimatter is the “evil twin” of matter. We could possibly harness the power of antimatter by taking advantage of the energy that’s created when antimatter and matter meet (basically, it causes an explosion that annihilates both particles while releasing tremendous amounts of energy – that energy is equal to E=mc2.)
As mentioned above, your dependence on these different types of energy will depend on your geographic location and your government’s initiatives.