Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Future Energy Technologies

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Future Energy Technologies

Article excerpt

Energy is a key factor in Oklahoma's economy. New advances in energy technology could have a dramatic effect on our future.

Representatives from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Department of Energy Laboratories at Pacific Northwest, Brookhaven and Oak Ridge made predictions on technology changes most likely to affect the industry. Battelle reported their findings in the Fall 2000 issue of Solutions Update.

Restructuring the energy industry -- Super Utilities and energy companies will emerge as deregulation and competition forces small utilities and oil companies to restructure or die. Convergence of the electric, gas, telecommunications and water providers may result in one-stop shopping, and new players, such as automobile companies, may emerge as formidable influences in the energy industry.

Hybrid vehicles -- The first generation of hybrid concept cars, already here in a sporty two-seater from Honda, will pave the way to 80 mpg, five-passenger sedans. Using smaller, more efficient internal combustion engines and power from electric batteries for an extra boost during acceleration, hybrid vehicles will make sweeping progress in the next 10 years. But don't sell your bicycle yet. A full transition may require decades.

Smart energy management systems -- Computers, the Internet and global positioning systems will increase the efficiency of energy consumption by reducing traffic congestion and managing household appliances, heating, air conditioning and business equipment. These tools also will play vital roles in the efficiency of energy production and distribution systems including pipelines, refineries, power plants and transmission lines.

Distributed power generation -- Huge power grids, which can fail and produce major regional blackouts, are on the decline. Micro- turbines, internal combustion engines and fuel cells will generate power locally for neighborhoods, residences and businesses. Natural gas use will increase because it is clean, cheap and available.

Fuel cells -- Smaller and cheaper fuel cell systems of the future will become popular for transportation and for portable and stationary power generation. …

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