Daft Old Duffer returns. Guest opinion articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publication. Ed
Whatever the outcome of the great ‘global warming’ debate, it has stimulated ideas that will materially affect us all. And in ways we can scarcely imagine.
Saharan solar dream
The first and perhaps greatest of these is the proposal being seriously considered by all the major players, for a huge solar power generation plant sited in the Sahara desert and feeding into a Europe-wide power grid.
And feeding into that same grid would be all the other providers, such as the large sea-based wind turbines already being installed, wave and tide generators etc.
Which means that limitless energy will be on tap everywhere, from Eastern Europe to the Orkneys.
While, hopefully, there will no longer any need for large power stations scattered about the place, nuclear fuelled or otherwise. Though I suspect there may still be a need for small stand-by plants, based on gas or oil or coal.
Plug it in
The second revolution, I suggest, will be in personal transport.
At least six major car manufacturers are planning to begin the mass production of electric cars in the very near future. With one of them claiming for its model a 300 mile range (perhaps however we might regard such a claim in the same way we regard Internet providers with their ‘up to 20 meg’).
It’s obvious in any case that electric propulsion will soon be competing on equal terms with the petrol and diesel engine.
And eventually perhaps winning.
All change up top
Makers of photo-voltaic cells say they are on the verge of a breakthrough on the efficiency front and that soon we will be using them in our everyday lives.
On car roofs presumably – thereby reducing the need for batteries. And on house and office and factory roofs as well.
Third in importance I would put power-generating clothing.
There is already on the market a material that generates a small electric current when moved.
Soon we should be able to wear clothes that power up our small gadgets – cellphone, tablet and whatever other must-have that pops up on the market – merely with the natural movements of our bodies.
Incorporating broadcast power – such as we already use to remote control our televisions – we should soon be switching on our gadgets and our room lights just by pointing a finger.
These are just the ideas that have surfaced thus far. Doubtless there will be many others, equally revolutionary.
Soon we’ll all be Merlins.