Top Energy Innovations By 2010

A panel of energy experts from Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, and various national laboratories owned by the U.S. Department of Energy has come up with the "top ten most economically impactful energy innovations by the year 2010." They are: From Pure Power, Spring 2001


A panel of energy experts from Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, and various national laboratories owned by the U.S. Department of Energy has come up with the "top ten most economically impactful energy innovations by the year 2010." They are:

  1. Shifting energy infrastructure. "The convergence of the electric, gas, telecommunications and water industries likely will result in one-stop shopping," says Henry Cialone, vice president and general manager of energy products at Battelle.

  2. Hybrid vehicles. Cars that use power from batteries as well as internal combustion engines will eventually include five-passenger sedans capable of 80 miles per hour.

  3. Smart energy management systems. Computers, the Internet and other technologies "will play vital roles in efficiency of energy production and distribution systems such as pipelines, refineries, power plants and transmission lines."

  4. Distributed generation. Power may be generated locally for neighborhoods, individual residences and businesses using microturbines, internal combustion engines and fuel cells. Natural gas use will increase.

  5. Fuel cells. "These systems will provide power at competitive rates while drastically reducing the impact of power generation on the environment," said Don McConnell, associate laboratory director of energy science and technology at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash.

  6. Gas-to-liquid conversion. This will permit more flexible use and storage of fuels. The obvious example is conversion of natural gas to diesel fuel.

  7. Advanced batteries. Next-generation batteries will be based on lithium-polymer technology and have three times as much energy capability as those now on the market.

  8. Energy farms. Advances in DNA engineering will result in bio-engineered crops for fuels.

  9. Solar energy. Recent advances in solar-cell efficiency will make widespread terrestrial application a reality, according to Bobi Garrett of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.

  10. Methane hydrate crystal mining. Geologists have discovered rich deposits of frozen natural-gas crystals on the ocean bottom. "Tapping this reserve would be a quantum leap in our ability to provide energy for the future," said Gary Brawley, program manager in the equipment development and mechanical systems department at Battelle.

From Pure Power, Spring 2001

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