A 2008 report from the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee describes the energy challenge we face, and then says, "the magnitude of the challenge is so immense that existing energy approaches – even with improvements from advanced engineering and improved technology based on known concepts – will not be enough to secure our energy future. [We need] technologies with performance levels far beyond what is now possible... scientific breakthroughs.... a major national mobilization of basic energy research.... Entirely new ways of producing, storing and using energy are required. (pages 1-2.)
The report, "New Science for a Secure and Sustainable Energy Future," is here: http://www.sc.doe.gov/bes/reports/files/NSSSEF_rpt.pdf
It identifies three major strategic goals, areas where scientific breakthroughs are needed:
** Making fuels from sunlight
** Generating electricity without carbon dioxide emissions
** Revolutionizing energy efficiency and use
In July the U.S. Department of Energy announced a $129 million, five-year grant to the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), modeled on the Manhattan Project, to research ways of creating fuels from sunlight. The California Institute of Technology leads the JCAP team, with other California universities and research organizations participating.
Thank you for that Ellen. But you also highlight the underlying problem by showing the report also notes the input of funding to CALTECH. Researchers embedded within existing institutions will covet any funding to encompass their own existing ideas. Such institutions do not bring in new thinking from outside if it will in any way show any failure of imagination on their own part.
But all long term research funding comes from government sources that are as mentally fixated as the institutions they fund. Neither side will entertain new thinking from outside. each side will do everything they can to prevent such. Not invented here always prevails.
If an outsider takes their new ideas to the funding source, the government immediately asks the opinion of their existing recipients of their funding; CALTECH and the like. They in turn have EVERY reason to diminish the quality of the new thinking to protect their own funding. A classic "Catch 22".
What those of us outside of the existing institutions need is a clear headed source of funding that has the courage to look at completely new ideas.
Let me give you an example. In 2009 a book was published that brings into question almost every aspect of present thinking on the structure of the proton which in turn leads to completely new thinking about the nature of gravity and as an aside, the manner of how electrons are generated. But to do that it has destroyed Ideal Gas Law and Big Bang theory. It has been presented to every scientific magazine but no one will review it or give it any publicity. I must add that the web site now generates many hits every day from China.
Yes, I am ahead of you; why not go to a VC?
The author has no intention of becoming the slave of any VC to be ASAP sold on to the largest company via M&A.
Again, one might suggest that government has to step out of the existing structures to be able to fund such new thinking, but they do not have anything like enough money available today to even fund the existing research institutions. In which case, the only other answer is to encourage everyone to place trust in the quality of new thinking and fund via charitable donation. But that in turn opens the door to being called both a crank and a thief of other peoples money from the existing institutions.
I am reminded, as I write that the development of the then new Rolls Royce Merlin Engine actually stemmed from a donation from a wealthy widow.
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