Thrawn Rickle 10
Energy Sources—Solar Power Satellites & HYDROGEN
© 2003 Williscroft
does usable energy on this planet come from?
sources, actually. As our planet compressed during its formative stages it
generated a lot of heat that is now stored inside the earth. We see evidence
of this as not very useful volcanoes, and as very useful geothermal heat
sources. Radioactive materials that make up part of the earth’s substance
contain substantial energy that we can release in nuclear reactors. The
balance of useful energy on this planet comes from the sun.
energy you release when you burn coal, oil, gas, or wood originally came from
the sun. It was stored in the growing plant that ultimately became the your
energy also comes from the sun. The sun evaporates sea water which then falls
as rain and snow in the mountains. As it flows seaward, we extract some of its
energy with turbines. The amount of energy it contains depends on the height
where it originally fell to earth.
energy source we use ultimately comes from the sun, unless it is geothermal or
meeting our energy needs, the trick is to tap these three ultimate sources as
efficiently as possible with the very smallest negative impact on our global
In the long run, it makes little sense to capture solar energy in plants, process the plant material into complex chemicals deep underground and store it there for millennia, and then extract the chemicals and burn them to release energy. The chemicals are far more useful in themselves than as fuel. It makes much more sense to utilize these chemicals, and to tap solar energy more directly.
we burn these chemicals (coal, oil, and gas), we release energy and waste. The
cleanest possible burning still produces pure carbon dioxide, the major
need energy. Nuclear power will produce abundant electricity, but no fire.
Fire is an essential ingredient of civilization. We can’t do without it.
Fortunately, Nature has an answer.
consists of hydrogen and oxygen bound together chemically. Burning plant
material produces carbon dioxide. Burning hydrogen produces only water. Herein
lies a far ranging solution to our dilemma. Capture incoming solar energy, and
use it to separate hydrogen and oxygen from water. The resulting hydrogen can
then be burned wherever flame is needed. Hydrogen can drive turbines for
electricity, produce electricity in fuel cells, produce graduated heat without
flame, and be used in the production of useful chemicals.
is actually less expensive to transport energy by pumping hydrogen through
pipelines than to transmit electricity over high tension lines. The solution
to our energy needs, therefore, is to capture solar energy as efficiently as
possible, and convert it to hydrogen for pipeline distribution. The most
efficient way to capture solar energy is in orbit, outside the earth’s
atmosphere. The most efficient way to transmit the energy to earth is with
ideal energy solution, therefore, is a network of solar power satellites that
beam their collected energy to equatorial marine stations for conversion to
hydrogen. The hydrogen is liquefied and transported by ship to shore based
pipeline heads. The resultant energy is practically pollution-free and makes
zero contribution to the global greenhouse. For a complete discussion of this
concept, read the landmark
paper I presented to the Third World-Hydrogen Conference in Tokyo.