FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Microgeneration as an Energy Solution

As gas prices flirt with the $3-per-gallon mark, much attention has been paid to alternative energy sources. However, some are also looking at the entire energy grid as part of the problem. The transmission of electricity is an inefficient process, as much energy is lost through heat dissipation. Plus, many of the eco-friendly energy solutions aren't practical on a large scale. Large energy grids, moreover, represent single points of failure, vulnerable to damage both accidental and deliberate.

Microgeneration -- energy production for individual buildings and facilities -- is attracting attention as an efficient, environmentally friendly way of generating power. Endorsed by Greenpeace as a way of slashing carbon emissions, microgeneration is being envisioned as a way of providing energy even to individual homes. Small-scale electricity generation can be networked into a failover system; a building that loses its generating capacity could "borrow" electricity from its neighbor.

The microgeneration concept is not limited to electricity. Individual buildings may find it useful to maintain their own water treatment facilities. In the communications realm, mesh networking could make every Internet device a wireless access point... making Internet access as close as the nearest device.

Source: Sustainablog