Technological Innovation is an interesting phenomenon (not to mention that it is mind-driven, and intelligence-based). It's through such innovation that we have been able to progress from crossing the country in a covered wagon, to using a jet airliner. Yet, what of our dependence on fossil fuels, and the implications of such dependence? Current alternatives render electricity as a viable power source, yet current technology limits the means with which we can provide ample electrical power.
Consider, if you will, a future in which powerful batteries are small, very long lasting, and essentially universal in application. Would such a technological environment spell the demise of the domination of fossil fuel technology?
Enter three very interesting posts at ScienceDaily. In Sweet Nanotech Batteries: Nanotechnology Could Solve Lithium Battery Charging Problems, we read,
Nanotechnology could improve the life of the lithium batteries used in portable devices, including laptop computers, mp3 players, and mobile phones. Research to be published in the Inderscience publication International Journal of Nanomanufacturing demonstrates that carbon nanotubes can prevent such batteries from losing their charge capacity over time.
Stanford researchers have found a way to use silicon nanowires to reinvent the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power laptops, iPods, video cameras, cell phones, and countless other devices.
...The greatly expanded storage capacity could make Li-ion batteries attractive to electric car manufacturers. Cui suggested that they could also be used in homes or offices to store electricity generated by rooftop solar panels.
Scientists could eventually form superinsulators that would encapsulate superconducting wires, creating an optimally efficient electrical pathway with almost no energy lost as heat. A miniature version of these superinsulated superconducting wires could find their way into more efficient electrical circuits.
Imagine, powerful, small batteries, capable of holding large charges for long periods of time. Will there be a time when one buys a laptop computer never expecting to have to recharge the battery? Will there be a time when one makes their monthly stop at the local "filling" station to exchange a standard battery pack for their electric powered vehicle?
Would people, in such a time, view the internal combustion engine as quaintly as we now view the covered wagon?