But with traditional energy supplies dwindling and technology advancing at an ever-increasing rate, what is the future of electricity? We believe it is brighter than ever. And after looking at some of the ideas posed by experts, we are sure that you will agree.
So what are the experts saying?
Electricity production will be clean!
With greenhouse gases and global warming such a big issue, scientists agree that energy in the future has to be green, clean and sustainable. This means more reliance on renewable energy sources – such as solar, wind and hydro-electric power, and the lesser known geothermal, tidal and wave energy – and on alternative energy such as various bio-fuels.
No more cables!
Just like your wireless router supplies wireless internet access to all computers in the house, in the future our appliances will be powered in much the same fashion. Everything will be cordless. The only thing plugged in will be some sort of Wilectricity device that transmits wireless power to all parts of the house.
Perhaps this may sound far-fetched to you know, but recently a team of scientist from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) successfully conducted a wireless electricity experiment. They were able to power a light bulb through resonance technology. Although it was 40% less efficient than plugging the bulb in (150W was needed to power the 60W light), technology will improve and make it a viable option in the future.
Trees could power our homes!
So you thought trees were only good for shade? Well, in the future they could power your home as well. MIT researchers were at it again. This time they used platinum electrodes and ficus plants to discover more about the weak electric currents from trees. What they found was the pH difference between the soil and tree caused electric currents. Now all they have to figure out is the best way to harness this energy for human benefit.
Perhaps something even more futuristic is an artificial tree that combines the energy from sunlight, wind and heat to produce electricity. A company, Solar Botanic Energy Systems, plans to copy the genius of nature. With the help of nanotechnology, they intend to plant artificial trees with tiny photovoltaic (light energy), thermovoltaic (heat energy) and piezovoltaic (vibration) generators all united on the leaf design to produce electricity. The experiment is likely to take place in the Middle East, where they will plant 36 artificial palms and expect to generate 5000kW of electricity per year.
Could you pass me my electric jacket?!
We already have electric toothbrushes, electric cars and electric shavers. Is there still more to come? By the look of things, there is. By having a quick glimpse at what the futuristic shops of Akihabara in Japan have to offer, you will be amazed. There you will find electric shoes, glasses and even clothing. Imagine watching a broadcast of the hourly news on the back of someones shirt! With the help of nanotechnology, this could be the future.
Consumers will have the final say!
In the future, many believe the supply of electricity to your home will no longer rely on the utility companies but on you. Your home will have its own renewable energy system, and you will decide whether you want to be connected to the grid or not. You will no longer have to pay mandatory energy bills, and when you go on vacation you can simply shut off the power.
Now, whether this future will happen anytime soon is unknown. But what is know is some people have installed their own renewable energy solutions at home, and are already living off the grid. We are just waiting for it to gain mass market appeal.
Blackouts will be a thing of the past!
Although today’s electricity system is apparently 99.97 percent reliable, the 0.03% has caused blackouts that have cost Americans at least $150 billion annually – which equates to about $500 per person per year.
Now, if consumers decided to take control and install their own renewable energy at home, then blackouts will be a thing of the past. And all that saved money can be put to better use, such as toward the failing health system.
By the looks of things, the future of electricity looks very bright, and exciting! However, at the end of the day it does not matter how many solutions science provides, but whether we adopt them on a large scale and shape the world for the better.