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Three Ways To Solve The Energy Crisis

By the year 2050, we’ll have added over 2 billion more humans to the planet’s population.

This means more mouths to feed, more bodies to keep warm, and a higher strain on the global energy grid. The time to think of future-proof solutions is now, and researchers think they may have come up with a few.

The first involves creating a next-generation nuclear reactor. Now, I know what you’re thinking, what with the recent Japanese Fukishima meltdown a few years ago, and Chernobyl a couple of decades earlier. However, this is a completely different scenario than the ones listed above.

Artist's Rendering

Image source: www.nuclearedition.blogspot.com

At the current moment, U.S. energy reactors store roughly 70,000 metric tons of spent fuel, which remains radioactive for tens of thousands of years. That’s absolutely unacceptable in today’s day and age, so researchers decided to cut down the fuel’s half life, reducing it to a few hundred years.

The next-gen reactor would be smaller than the current ones, by a factor of 20. Secondly, it would be designed to capture 98% of the fuel’s energy, leaving only a small portion in storage, where they become inert after a couple hundred years.

The second idea for solving the energy fix involves transforming waste into energy, an endeavor that many individual companies have begun pursuing. A waste-converting plant in Nevada would convert 160,000 tons of trash into fuel, at a cost of 70 cents per gallon.

Artist's Rendering

Image source: www.frederickcountymd.gov

Lastly, scientists would like to use the heat generated from U.S. factory’s smokestacks and turn it into electricity. This is perhaps the most daunting of the tasks listed, but contains an equal amount of potential for success. 13 quadrillion BTU’s of heat are wasted each year by factories. By installing a thermoelectric device into the smokestacks, factories can take that heat and transform their building into an efficient and eco-friendly plant.


Image source: www.newscientist.com

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