breakthHow to replace fossil fuel. This is the question being answered in this episode
Breakthrough: Episode Five -Energy From The Edge
Director: Akiva Goldman
Narrator: Jason Bateman
Interviews with Louis Michaud and Eric Fitch
Running Length: 45 Minutes
No rating given but could be PG
How to replace fossil fuel. This is the question being answered in this episode and there are a variety of ways to do it. The beginning of the program shows us about steam turbines and this came about because the wheel was invented. Plus or minus a few million years. Civilization is moving faster now, but not with replaceable fuels, which, besides oil are coal and natural gas. What to do?
Louis Michard has an idea. Use the force within a tornado. Those living in “Tornado Alley” wonder why this wasn't done sooner, but Mr. Michard does have an idea here. By running cold water over warm water to form a vortex, he creates energy. This is a plausible solution but he needs over a billion dollars to begin the project.
There is also the idea of Solar Reserve which is demonstrated at Crescent Dunes with solar panels---10,000 of them---to generate electricity, and this idea has a focus on salt. Did you know that molten salt makes steam and turns those turbines for energy?
Iceland has it made. They live on geo-thermal heat from magma which is 2.1 km straight down. Not everyone is so lucky to have this heated reserve beneath their feet. The question arises, though----as with fracking---when drilling for magma, can this cause earthquakes? Just asking…
Then, there is fusion/hydrogen, with the sun being an example of a fusion reactor, or how to create a sun on earth.  This one still looks good on paper, but not feasible in construction yet.  Plus there are other ideas such as turning waste (methane gas) into energy.
The United States uses 67% of the world’s electricity and less than 20% of nuclear power. Iceland leads in renewable energy with geo-thermal. The wealthiest 10% in the world use 59% of the total consumption.
This episode give one something to seriously think about, especially when power lines are above surface (hurricane/tornado/earthquake) and or even below surface (flooding and earthquakes.) One monster storm (think Hurricane Katrina here) and there are problems for years. Quite a bit of information in 45 minutes and it really makes one think.
“Breakthrough” is a six-part weekly series on The National Geographic Channel, Sunday evenings, beginning November 1, 2015 and ending December 13, 2015.  This will be shown in 440 million homes, 171 countries and in 45 languages. Each episode is on a separate breakthrough in the science and health community. The first episode was “Fighting Pandemics,” and the second, “More Than Human” on robotics. Episode Three was “Decoding The Brain” with Episode Four on "The Age of Aging.”  Episode Five is called “Energy From The Edge” for December 6, 2015, with the last episode of the series on December 13, 2016 is on the “Water Apocalypse.”
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner