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« How to use this site | Main | The polluted information environment, interview with John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton »

May 08, 2005


Jay Salsburg

“Technology is allowing us to better use our existing energy resources,... and in the years ahead, technology will allow us to create entirely new sources of energy in ways earlier generations could never dream.” President George W. Bush, Press release of April 28, 2005.
Available tools mark the milestones on the journey to civilization. Number one on the list of essential tools is energy utilization, number two, natural resources. Are not energy resources the same as natural resources? No! Natural resources occur in the Earth. Their acquisition relies on mining, drilling, or harvesting fuels and minerals. Conceptualize natural resources as a Savings Account. All the deposits in this Savings Account were made millions or billions of years ago. At present some deposits are being made but at a very slow rate. We (Humans) are withdrawing from this Savings Account more than a million times faster than the deposits.
Logic dictates that if you continually withdraw assets from the Savings Account eventually your assets will fall to zero. Without Income to balance expenditures, Bankruptcy. Energy Utility companies meter individual consumers' consumption. Consumers pay for materials as real property, food and consumer products. Mass consumption seemingly elevates the standard of living.
To progress, we must wean ourselves from using our Savings Account and transfer dependence to our Income of energy to the Earth. The efficiency of utilization and recycling mandates the cost of living. Therefore, The Scale of Civilization is gauged on this efficiency. All of Civilization has been developed and operates on less than 3% efficiency. Thus by raising this efficiency we lower the cost of living.
Currently there is no recognizable project or program to relieve us from the shackles of energy fuels dependence. Recent studies show that civilization is heading for a crisis that will test our ingenuity. There is a viable alternative to current schemes which may allow civilization to continue past the imaginable future. Since energy is the only thing that provides the power to continue, untapped abundant energy resources must be developed.
Most new inventions or industrial tools that increase the Scale of Civilization usually receive little or no support from government, industry, or even academia. Technology now exists that may effectively relieve Civilization completely from all dependence on Energy Fuels and Nuclear Power. Nuclear Power, for example, depends on the mining of Fissionable elements. These elements are the rarest of all elements. Thousands of tons of tailings are needed to refine only a few grains of fissionable elements. Nuclear Fuels' very nature is to dissipate and degrade. On top of their rarity and instability, they are the most dangerously toxic things to life in Nature and once refined remain toxic for hundreds of centuries, long after their usefulness as a fuel. Then there is the manufacture of nuclear weapons based on the refinement properties of Nuclear Reactors. Basing very expensive, hopelessly complex, dangerous, and unstable technology on the rarest source of energy in the Universe is a formula only an insane crackpot could appreciate.
To begin the familiarization of this untapped technology one must know how tides work and where tides are greatest. The primary interest is not in tidal currents as the magnitude of the differentials or DELTAs of the tides from high to low to high again every day.
In Hydroelectric Dam power systems, the flow of water is disrupted and stored behind a dam. Weirs and gated tunnels channel the water through ports inside the dam forcing water across propeller-like structures. These propellers are connect by shafts that drive generators or dynamos. Electricity is generated directly by the falling water through the dam. In a highly simplified diagram falling water is utilized to turn a shaft connected to generating equipment.
Movement of water through generating machinery is regulated by engineers in the Generator House. In the same way, tides may be harnessed to generate electricity. Niagara Falls is a prime example of harnessing falling water to generate electricity. The Niagara system has been working reliably for many decades. Harnessing the tides is similar to the scope of the Niagara system. The tidal generator must be located in an area where the tides are most favorable. The latitudes between 45 and 70 Degrees North experience very high tides. The coast of Alaska experience 20 to 50 foot tides everyday. The tides on the coast of the United States may be harnessed to reduce our dependence of fossil fuels. The tides in the Gulf of Alaska represents an untapped resource. With a project no more involved than the Niagara power system, the need to drill in the Wildlife refuge could be avoided forever. The tides in Alaska represent enough energy to permanently eliminate the need for the fossil fuels transported across its shores.

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