Glance up and around and you’ll know the horizon is changing. From Canada to South Africa, Brazil to China, windmills and solar panels are telling a story of change.
In the United States, the landscape is collecting a kind of 21st-century raiment. Wind farms, solar farms, and just stray windmills and solar panels on roofs are signaling something big and different.
When they were making “Tom Jones” in 1963, the very funny film based on the Henry Fielding classic, the big problem was finding English villages which dated from the 18th century and still looked it. The filmmakers found plenty of appropriate villages, but all the skylines were despoiled with television aerials. No filmmaker today can avoid windmills and solar panels, and computer graphics will have to come to the rescue for period dramas.
Alexander Mirtchev, a respected member of the Washington foreign policy establishment and vice chairman of the Atlantic Council, in a new book based on a study he conducted for the Wilson Center, names this changed horizon for what it is: a megatrend. In doing this Mirtchev joins other megatrend energy spotters of the past, including environmentalist Amory Lovins and economist Daniel Yergin. Mirtchev’s book is titled “The Prologue: The Alternative Energy Megatrend in the Age of Great Power Competition.”
Energy has been shaping society and the relationship between nations since humans switched from burning wood to coal. The next step after that was the Industrial Revolution, ushering in what might be called “the first megatrend.”
Mirtchev builds on how energy supply changes relationships and looks to a future where the balance of power could be upended, and energy production could affect neighbors in new ways. For example, I have noted, the Irish are unhappy about British nuclear activity across the Irish Sea. There also is tension along the border between Austria and Slovakia: the Slovaks favor a nuclear future, and the Austrians are into wind and opposed to any nuclear power. As a result, windmills line the Austrian side of this central European border.
Mirtchev’s book is a serious work by a serious scholar which pulls together the impact of alternative energy on national security, the interplay between great powers, and the changing landscape between great powers and a few lesser ones. It is wonderfully free of the idealistic tropes about alternative energy as a morally superior force.
There also are changes within countries. Recently, I wrote about how Houston — the holy of holies of the oil industry — is seeking to rebrand the oil capital as a tech mecca as well as holding onto its oil and gas status as those decline.
If you look at the world, you can see how President Joe Biden can stand up to Saudi Arabia in a way that other presidents couldn’t do. Saudi oil reserves don’t mean what they once did. They aren’t as essential to the future of the world as they once were. There is more oil around and the trend is away from oil. Historic coal exporters like Poland, Australia, South Africa, and the United States are losing their markets.
Other losses, including U.S. technological dominance in energy technology, are more subtle. For example, although jubilation over solar and wind is widely felt in the United States by environmentalists, it should be tempered by the fact that solar cells and wind turbines are being provided by China. China has seized manufacturing dominance in alternative energy, endangering national security for dependent countries.
Mirtchev’s arguments have found powerful endorsements. A number of big-name, international security thinkers have come forward to endorse the concept of a realignment caused by the megatrend of alternative energy. These range from Henry Kissinger to a who’s who of foreign policy stalwarts here and in Europe.
James L. Jones, retired Marine general and President Barack Obama’s national security advisor, said, summing up thoughts expressed by a full panoply of experts, “ ‘The Prologue’ offers a valuable new framework for international strategic action.”
Retired Adm. James G. Stavridis, an executive of the Carlyle Group and other enterprises, said the book is “a masterpiece of original thought, and it should be must-reading in universities and war colleges.”
Who would have thought of the wind and sun as players in the rivalry between nations or that they would spearhead a megatrend?
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Pyrophosphate as an alternative energy currency in plants | Biochemical Journal | Portland Press
In the conditions of [Mg2+] elevation that occur, in particular, under low oxygen stress and are the consequence of the decrease in [ATP] and increase in [ADP] and [AMP], pyrophosphate (PPi) can function as an alternative energy currency in plant cells. In addition to its production by various metabolic pathways, PPi can be synthesized in the combined reactions of pyruvate, phosphate dikinase (PPDK) and pyruvate kinase (PK) by so-called PK/PPDK substrate cycle, and in the reverse reaction of membrane-bound H+-pyrophosphatase, which uses the energy of electrochemical gradients generated on tonoplast and plasma membrane. The PPi can then be consumed in its active forms of MgPPi and Mg2PPi by PPi-utilizing enzymes, which require an elevated [Mg2+]. This ensures a continuous operation of glycolysis in the conditions of suppressed ATP synthesis, keeping metabolism energy efficient and less dependent on ATP.
Alternative Energy: The Future is here
The world is changing rapidly.
All of us were born and grew up in a world that needs to burn something to create energy, a “technology” as old as the Neanderthaler. Think of it, I am not sure when exactly fire was “invented” to heat the caves, but since that time humanity builds its progress upon that same chemical reaction.
One could argue that this one chemical reaction – the oxidation of materials under production of heat and or expansion – is – from the human perspective – nature’s most important chemical reaction. At least viewed from an economic standpoint.
Now what about those great German cars of the last 30 or so years with their magnificent engines?
Well, still something is still burned inside these machines and creates a combustion, which in turn pushes pistons. Gasoline in, a spark and off you go.
Still stone-age technology, albeit very much advanced and much more fancy.
But the Zeitgeist, and especially the limited resources of Mother Earth force us humans to find new ways to power and move our societies.
I would argue that these alternative energies are readily available. Many of them have for a long time, but needed advanced technologies to be harvested.
Alternative Energy: The Future is here
What is Alternative Energy?
So lets’ begin with the question of “What is alternative energy?” In the end energy is defined as a force being able to have an effect in this seemingly Newtonian world.
Definition of Alternative Energy
At least that is the kind of energy that our human daily lives are interested in: How to heat my home and get from A to B.
Bur for me there are more alternative energy sources than normally listed on websites dealing with this topic. I would argue that we also look at energies that come and go beyond our 3D, Newtonian world:
- What about Magnetics?
- What about gravitational energy?
To the best of my knowledge, both forces defy the “set in stone” laws of thermodynamics… they do not deplete. Otherwise Pluto would long have left or solar system and our Earth also would be uninhabitable, having left the perfect orbit around our sun.
So to me alternative energy consists of anything we can use directly or indirectly use to heat our homes or get us from A to B. We are looking here for alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels or trees.
And I do think we also have to leave our Newtonian worldview to advance technologically. Quantum Physics is “proven” and a fact but has nothing to do with the Newtonian worldview… except that the world of Newton, of objects moving to a heavenly body – stems from the Quarks and Neutrino of the Quantum World. So our world stems from the Quantum Physics world beyond.
As far as I know it is theorized that magnetism stems from another dimension reaching into ours… that might save the Laws of Thermodynamics if we expand them to that other dimension. But honestly, I do not believe that the dimension cares about our Laws of Thermodynamics.
Is Nuclear Power a Alternative Energy source?
Oh, and some claim that nuclear power is a type of alternative energy. I strongly contradict. Firstly, humanity has a t least 3 times badly burned it’s hand with this insecure, unstable and highly and long-lasting toxin “technology” – think of Sellafield, Chernobyl and Fukushima… I think there were more at least close calls.
Also: did you know that a nuclear power plant is nothing more than a very very expensive, very, very dangerous, very toxic waste producing – steam engine.
Yes, all they do is use one of the most dangerous materials on Earth to heat water to run a steam engine.
I nearly had to laugh when I learned about that fact.
And no, it does not produce CO2, but so much more toxic waste still being deadly 1000s of generations after we are gone…and by that I mean our society.
Alternative Energy types
So, having dealt with Bill Gates favorite Nuclear Fission (our Nuclear plants today) – splitting the atoms to free the energy, let us create a list of real alternative energy types. (Btw.: If we came up with Nuclear Fusion, that would be a completely different game – no wastes to my knowledge).
I see natural sources, and new technological developments, which tap into the power beyond the laws of thermodynamics.
Alternative Energy sources
So what are sources of alternative energy?
What is obvious is the natural sources:
- Tidal (indirect gravitational)
A word about geothermal energy
I should mention that geothermal in my opinion has much more potential to get us to carbon-free than we give it credit. Right now, you would think that geothermal energy only would work in ie. sn volcanic environment like Iceland.
If there is not enough heat close to the earth’s surface, we believe we have to dig too deep to find enough heat.
As Nuclear Fission, Geothermal energy works by heating up water which in turn turns a steam engine.
Now, what happens if we do not use water for creating the “steam”, but some benign chemical (in a closed circuit, no leaking into the earth) that boils much earlier than water does (at 100°C)? Then we would not have to dig nearly as deep in areas with any volcanic activity.
I would go so far as to say that with this technology we could power any city in the world with enough electricity by digging only a few dozen or hundred meters, until it becomes warm enough for this alternative fluid to reach its boiling point and become steam – driving the blades and creating electricity.
Some ask which of these energy sources are exhaustible: Well, in billions of years all of them, even our sun will one day vanish. But in thousands of lifetimes all these energy sources will not fail us.
Magnetics as an Alternative Energy source
But it gets better. Here is favorite (future) alternative energy source:
We all have heard of impossible fantastic machines that do not need fuels and still somehow create drive around, cars built by some obscure lay scientist, that run on unknown energies.
You heard stories like this if you had your antennas not locked on only to the mass media (and even there I read about these things).
But we are always told by experts that it all was just a hoax and we never heard about the developments again.
Have a look at https://innovationt.com .
They are already building engines that are powered by magnetics alone.
This is the website of a company that solves energy needs with “future” technologies. And they are actually implementing magnetic engines … without any need for fuel.
I heard about this the first time on the Kryon channel…and am intrigued ever since. But check it out yourself:
For me, this is the alternative energy solution….using forces out of the quantum field or another dimension to heat our homes and power our cars .
This for me is great news and promises a great future.
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