23 August 2022

Technological Paradigm shifts underway right now

There are often brief periods of time in the history of technology during which major paradigm shifts occur. Such as the switch from wind to oil for ship propulsion, the adoption of steam power earlier than that and internal combustion after, the sudden introduction of power generation, radio, telephony, television... many others. I think we may be in the midst of several interrelated and enormous paradigm shifts right now:  1) the rapid changeover to electric propulsion for cars, buses, trucks; 2) the development of all new batteries like the promising graphene/aluminum battery being developed in Australia that if its lab performance pans out will mean low-pollution batteries made from abundant materials (rather than rare strategic metals) that charge 70% faster and hold 3x as much energy as current batteries; and 3) new reactor and battery technology that will transform our power grids to make virtually all power and energy usage ultimately electric; some from wind and solar, some from hydro (including more advanced hydro that doesn't require new dams), and some from new, advanced nuclear technology that produces minimal waste with much shorter storage times. These changes could essentially resolve our climate goals and provide abundant clean energy. 

The last thirty years have been mostly an era of rapid change in information technology, but it looks like more basic energy production and storage technology is now undergoing rather sudden and transformative change... and if so, just in time. 

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