Technology Future essay

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Future of Technology

What qualitative parameters might be considered in future energy price scenarios -- take the year 2025 and list, with a brief explanation, the parameters you consider should be included.

Many measurable elements of an energy future exist because they are in use in the present. These quantities, such as the amount of fossil fuel that will be available for use in the year 2025, can be determined through testing and geological surveys. It can also be estimated how much fossil fuel will be used during that amount of time to a fairly reliable degree (Brandon & Lewis). However, there are goals that are less available for exact determination. These more nebulous goals are what government agencies like to present to the public because they sound good, but they are also the parameters by which future energy pricing might be determined.

The efficiency of a system, either of delivery or extraction, has to be considered one of the qualitative variable that will affect the price of energy in the future (Smith & Rogers 11). Current oil prices are subject to many variables such as extraction of the crude resource, processing and storage (Environmental Science), and the efficiency of these different stages are graded. If the product is lost in anyone of these stages then the loss is counted in the price. Solar energy is thought to be a sustainable resource that will form a large part of any future energy plan. The continued efficiency of collecting and concentrating technologies will reduce the price of solar power as it goes forward.

Three different qualitative parameters were suggested in a publication called "Deciding the Future: Energy Policy Scenarios for 2050" by the World Energy Council in 2008. These three -- accessibility, availability, and acceptability -- all have to be considered in any future plan.

Accessibility speaks to how easy the new or existing source of energy is to get to. The primary source of power used today is difficult to access because it is below the ground and requires expensive equipment to retrieve. This difficulty of accessibility also speaks to the individual consumer and the delivery system. Presently there are thousands of gasoline stations in the United States, but there are very few that can renew a fuel cell's power needs. Hydrogen is thought to be a major component of the future, however it is not incredibly accessible at present and would have to be more so to be truly considered a major component.

The former discussion of hydrogen fuel cell refueling also speaks to availability. If a fuel is a good source of power, but is not very available for the average consumer then it is not especially tenable as an alternative. This also speaks to sources such as the possibility of magnetic and other Earth sources that are presently neither accessible or, subsequently, available.

The third of these may be the most crucial; that is acceptability. These fuel sources must be acceptable by the general public and the government. If the government sees that a fuel source, such as fossil fuel, must still be used, they may begin to tax it out of proportion to other sources of fuel thus making pricing a definite concern.

Another pricing concern is the potential of the energy source. New technology is expensive, but if the future reward outweighs the present investment, then the potential will affect whether the source is used or not (Brandon & Lewis). Potential of a fuel source can be seen in such technologies from nuclear to solar to wind. Nuclear power is already a reality, but there have always been concerns about disposal of waste. Since new technologies are making these concerns virtually irrelevant, many are considering nuclear a viable source again. This technology can also work to drive future overall energy costs down. Solar is readily available and becoming easier to collect and distribute. Wind turbines are showing up all over the world because they use a renewable source of energy that requires very little maintenance and is easy distribute. The potential of these technologies, and others that have yet to be considered in future energy plans, will have a decided impact on energy pricing scenarios.

Which of these can you reasonably quantify? (Attempt to identify at least five parameters).

Probably the most quantifiable aspect of any of the parameters above is availability. Potential and acceptability of a new energy source are very difficult to determine, especially if it has not been used previously. Although accessibility and efficiency are projectable, it seems that availability of a resource would still be the easiest to quantify.

The reason for this can be seen in the geological surveys that are conducted to determine just how available a source such as oil is. The ability to determine how much oil is in a source has been attainable for many years now, and the same can be said for solar power. Due to historical data, the amount of sunlight that a region will realize can be quantified, and the amount of actual solar rays that can be gathered at that spot can also be determined. Other fuel sources, such as nuclear (which will most likely be a large part of future energy considerations), are also quantifiable. Therefore, it would seem that it is possible to mathematically possible to determine availability of a resource than any of the other parameters.

Do you agree with this specific aspect of Godet's proposition? Why or why not?

The proposition that "Each crisis in its own right is far from inevitable, to the extent that the actors make the necessary course-heading adjustments in time. Today's crises would not last if we were to accept and face up to the new realities" (Flame (2)) makes a lot of sense based on the reasons that he sets forward both in this article and what the text says in the second article "More Conventional Approaches" (Flame (1)). Godet basically says that all of the crisis humans have endured recently are the fault of poor methods of predicting them. He specifically talks about the oil crisis of 1973 and how it was possible to see it coming if people had actually looked at it in the right way. However, it is difficult to quantify the future. It is also difficult to tell what the future will look like when seeing it from the present (or the future's past). True certain crisis can be avoided if the right steps are taken soon enough, but sometimes it is truly difficult to see the forest for the trees.

Trying what the future brings can seen to be difficult in how ridiculous some past predictions have been. The first computer was incredible. The scientists at the time thought that one day they could do amazing calculations on computers, but they were worried about where these new computers would be located and how the ability to use them would be translated to the places they would be needed. The issue they could not see past? They were using vacuum tubes and thought that future computers would continue to take up great amounts of space. They could not see that the invention of the transistor would completely revolutionize both the abilities of computers and their size requirements.

Another issue with his statement is that people would have to accurately see all of the consequences of their actions while they are making them. This has never been a strong point of humans. Lumber companies in the nineteenth and twentieth century's did not realize the damage that they were doing to those ecosystems. They only saw the immediate profit that they were making. Of course, it is very noticeable now that they did almost irreparable damage to the environment and that some of the species they destroyed will never be recovered. The same can be said for some of the actions that are taken today. It is difficult to see what the actual fallout of decisions will be, but people try to predict now and that is a positive.

Read the paper by Osamu Kimura on commercialisation of energy-efficient technologies in Japan and then discuss (1) whether Godet's ideas could have improved the potential of three of the technologies deemed to have failed in Table 4; and (2) whether you agree with the conclusions of the study.

Technology: Heat recovery from slag process in steel plants.

Factor of non-commercialization: Payback estimated to be seven years which was too long a turnaround for the steel industry.

This one could definitely benefited from the processes that Godet spoke about. Before the technology was tried their should have been some estimate made as to whether it would be a viable way to produce heat from the resource. Also, saying that seven years is too long a time period for viability is very short-sighted. Since the technology would have paid for itself in just seven years, it would have been wiser for the steel plant executives to use the technology…[continue]

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