Military Power Nor Computing Power Define the Future – Renewable Energy is the New Super Power!

Melissa M. Taylor

Human history is long and events, eras, technologies or circumstances upon which all of human history turns are rare. The twentieth century has seen more than it’s share of momentous events … the splitting of the atom … the bestiality of Nazi terror … the invention of the digital, stored-program computer.

It is now a part of our collective popular wisdom that computers will change everything, the way we dress, the way we eat, the way in which we have sex.

Computers have been predicted to cause massive unemployment … to create millions of jobs … to help us at birth and to ease our suffering at death.

If there is one singular invention in the history of mankind that can be said to be “the cause of all things” – it would be the digital computer and the revolution it has caused in so many industries and lives.

For 25 years I have been a software programmer/engineer in the banking industry and chemical industry. I created games for the TI 99/4A, The “Home Computer” sold by Bill Cosby. I have worked on Macintosh, Windows and Unix.
Among my colleagues the question has come up over the years of what we were doing when Microsoft began and what life would be like if we had joined Bill Gates on that first day in the office.

The arguments generally end the same way, “No one will ever be in a position like that again in human history. It’s a singularity in business and will never be repeated.”

Well, I’ve thought a lot about that … Microsoft singularity … over the years. I’ve wondered what I could do … what industry I could become involved with that had the same potential as a Microsoft in 1978.

And now, it’s clear to me and it became clear in a flash of insight, that something far more important than computers is occurring all around us as we speak: The pursuit of limitless mechanical power … the global race for renewable energy technologies.

This energy race is an opportunity that dwarfs that of Microsoft in 1978. The potential for wealth from renewable energy is many times greater than the computer industry.

The key word is “Renewable”, once many of these technologies are in place Solar, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), Wave-action and Vortex Induced Vibration Aquatic Current Energy (VIVACE) their maintenance costs are very low and the fuel costs, well that’s the point, the fuel costs are low to zero.

It’s clear to me that many, many Bill Gates are waiting to be unleashed in the renewable energy sector and I want my piece of the pie. It’s clear that renewable energy is the global blockbuster industry of the near and far future, but which technology do you bet on.

Of all the research I’ve done, my favorite is Vortex Induced Vibration Aquatic Current Energy (VIVACE). Question: What is the largest solar collector on the earth? Answer: The Oceans!

All the energy from the Sun captured by the oceans is where we should be looking to power our societies and infrastructure. The classic photovoltaic direct energy conversion is clearly gaining momentum, but he efficiency is low and various kinds of infrastructure must be put into place that does not currently exist.

VIVACE is a novel approach to extracting energy from flowing water currents. It is unlike any other ocean energy or low-head hydropower concept. VIVACE is based on the extensively studied phenomenon of Vortex Induced Vibrations (VIV), which was first observed 500 years ago by Leonardo DaVinci in the form of “Aeolian Tones.” For decades, engineers have been trying to prevent VIV from damaging offshore equipment and structures. By maximizing and exploiting VIV rather than spoiling and preventing it, VIVACE takes this ‘problem’ and transforms it into a valuable resource for mankind.

The genius behind this power generation technology, as with all great innovations, is that this is an extensively studied and understood phenomenon … very familiar to engineers of bridges over waterways and engineers of oil platforms in the oceans of the world.

VIVACE turns that extensive research on it’s head and uses these perturbations for any “bluff body” in a viscous fluid into a technique to extract energy … but of even greater interest is that this energy extraction can occur at high efficiencies at low flow rates … as low as 1.5 knots … most ocean currents flow below 3 knots.

Of course many streams and rivers also flow at low speeds and have thus been considered low probability targets for energy generation … save the extremely destructive process of dam building. VIVACE directly refutes this logic. Slow moving streams and rivers can be excellent sources of electrical energy production. Ocean currents can be enormous generators supporting multi-megawatt installations, in theory.

One other advantage to ocean current power generation installations is that they produce power 24/7. Ocean currents never cease. Ever. This one feature sets ocean current power generation apart from wind, solar and geothermal.

The future can be brighter than the past and we can shape that future.

Choose to invent the future, for it cannot be predicted any other way.

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