Updated: Aug 16
Ultimately, the global energy solution lies in a range of sources with hydrogen, solar, wind, algae oil biofuel, ocean wave, crude oil and fusion.
And I think its smart now for America to invest heavily in affordable new commuter rail systems and hydrogen technology across the country, particularly in states like Ohio connecting major hubs like Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. Perhaps, Ohio could become a model for The United States in affordable commuter rail systems technology with an eye towards developing maglev and/or hydrogen fuel cell technology commuter trains by 2035 across the country writes James Dean, SCS Director.
But getting the global energy system to function efficiently in a cohesive fashion to reduce pollution and better manage declining resources is a major geopolitical undertaking that will require peaceful collaboration, and has never been achieved on a global scale in human history. So, a focus on regional collaboration would be more realistic here.
Today, many people are now realizing that the promise of EVs has limited utility, primarily local commuting applications. For example, a typical electric vehicle (EV) battery has about 8 kilograms (about 18 pounds) of lithium, 14 kilograms of cobalt, and 20 kilograms of manganese, although this can often be much more depending on the battery size – a @Tesla Model S' battery, for example, contains around 62.6 kg (138 pounds) of lithium. And significant rare earth metals are needed for electric engines to function.
However, the world only has approximately 88 million tons of lithium, enough to supply about 2.5 Billion EV batteries. Earth's lithium resources will likely be depleted by 2045, and only one-quarter of Earth's lithium supply is economically viable to mine as reserves. Further, the process of extracting lithium consumes significant amounts of water and energy, and can pollute the air and water with chemicals and heavy metals. Mining lithium can also disrupt wildlife habitats and cause soil erosion, leading to long-term ecological damage.
Further, I calculated the cost about $100 Billion total to build 1 million Level 3 EV fast charging stations ($100k each) across America, an infrastructure plan that would take 10 years to complete installation. That considers the permitting, construction and wiring resources, load on local power grids etc., maybe 100k Level 3 EV charging stations per year could be built in America.
So, the jury is still out on whether EVs remain primarily a local transportation option, while for example, hydrogen vehicles offer better long-range and much faster fueling convenience for travelers.
While several alternatives to the EV exist, for example the hydrogen automobile is a 100% clean energy vehicle that emits only water vapor. Hydrogen energy is particularly efficient for SUVs, commercial vehicle transportation and trucks.
For example, Hyperion XP1, a hydrogen vehicle could completely refuel at the local gas station type setting in less than 8-mins and delivers nearly 1,000 mile range with no CO2 pollution emissions. And hydrogen is the most abundant element in nature, plentiful long-term.
Today, the global consumption of crude oil is currently estimated at roughly 96.5 million barrels per day. According to OPEC, global demand is expected to reach 109 million barrels per day. Estimations vary slightly, but - if demand forecasts hold - we will run out of crude oil from known reserves by 2050 (U.S. Dept of Energy).
And as resources are depleted the price of gas will skyrocket. For example, when oil hits $200 per barrel in 2040 or so. This would translate to nearly $10 per gallon at the gas pump for daily commuters.
Additionally, clean fusion energy and plasmoid engines which will be commercially available by 2030 are the answer to many global energy challenges. But Earth's critical mineral resources are short, particularly deuterium, tritium for fusion and platinum for hydrogen fuel cells. Therefore, moon and planetary space travel, exploration and mining become critical long-term to mankind.
Therefore, examining the long-term investment opportunities, advanced commuter rail systems make a lot of sense economically and a range of energy resources provide more efficiency.
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