This is the fundamental practical challenge facing the human race: our civilization depends upon using vast amounts of energy; the way we use energy is changing the climate and destroying the ecosystem which our survival depends upon; and we would have all the technology we need to solve the problem of global climate change if only we could generate sufficient energy in a sustainable manner.

The challenge breaks down into several discrete parts:

  • generation;
  • conversion;
  • transportation;
  • storage; and
  • use.

In practice, the issues of generation and conversion are deeply connected - not least because all generation is in reality a conversion of energy from one form to another.  Similarly, in practice, transportation and storage are deeply connected.  In current thinking, much of the target use of energy requires electricity, but this can ignore some potential efficiency savings in (for example) combined heat and power systems.


Energy Generation and Conversion

We have to reduce our use of fossil fuels.

The only potential sources of substantial amounts of energy are:


Energy Transportation and Storage

  • Batteries: systems which can generate electricity through chemical reaction
  • Fuel cells: systems which act like batteries, but store the energy in a stable form, often as hydrogen
  • Bio fuel: substances which can be produced sustainably and generate energy through burning; hydrogen can also be burned
  • Gravity: suitable for storage, but not transport; water can be pumped uphill for hydroelectric systems; weights can be raised on towers or in mines; buoyant items can be pulled down underwater (this video describes several possible ways)



We have to move away from burning fossil fuels to heat our homes and workplaces.  What are the alternatives?

  • Greater use must be made of electrical heaters.
  • We can often move from burning fossil fuel to  burning hydrogen, assuming that it has been produced in a green way.
  • Ground source and air source heat pumps are also options which we can make greater use of.  There is a meeting about air source heat pumps on 16 June 2021.



Domestic activity:


E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of Just Human? to add comments!

Join Just Human?