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A 100-year-old prediction: “No one will use coal in 2017” – Are we there yet?

A 100-year-old prediction: “No one will use coal in 2017” – Are we there yet?

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In Summary

In the wake of 1900’s fossil fuel powered the whole world and carried it to new heights, which humans couldn’t achieve without that abundant power. However, the huge pollution in the aftermath made us aware & pushed us to find alternative and eco-friendly power sources, though many are there, solar was predicted to be the life saver!

Editor Posted by Ansheed
06/02/2017

All prediction necessarily won’t be true,  however several futuristic predictions made on a grand perceptive in fact found to be true like the one H.G Wells made in 1903 as metal hulled warships would lead destruction, that sounds similar to modern day tanks, or like the rough assumption made on 2001: A space Odyssey about the computer intelligence. In that context, how long should we wait to see if the ‘Terminator series’ is true in fact?

However, the failed prediction like the one by Ken Olsen who said that no one would prefer a computer in their home back in 1977 or like the Michigan Savings president who said that automobiles wouldn’t be a competition for horses! But this one prediction made by a writer who wrote in Lincoln Evening Journal under the article ‘Looking Forward’ predicted that by 2017 no one would depend on coal as their energy source. He also added the possibility of trapping sun’s energy channeled through a pipe to generate electricity.

But recent statistics say that we aren’t anywhere closer to that! Climate changes are the big indicator for our greed on fossil energy! 2016 has been the hottest year as per the records after scientists started tracking the weather back in 1880’s. Another effect is the CO2 emission and coupled greenhouse effect. Still, a large majority of the population depends on fossil fuel as their primary source of energy. Oil is yet another major source of energy after coal which is also the leading cause of ozone depletion.

To an extent, the fossil fuel addiction is kept under control using Nuclear power, however, the waste disposal and several other challenges made it less efficient. But the writer's prediction won’t take another 100 year’s, China had closed 104 coal mines, whereas India is looking for renewable energy promoting solar panels and windmills other than new vehicle pollution control measures. The US, a step ahead has already promoted electric vehicles to go green. However, the era of solar energy might be just short of a storage solution.

However, one possible yet research intensive energy source might be the fusion reactors. In simple language, ‘making a sun on earth and feeding its energy’. But there is a catch, current day technologies are inefficient to contain this reaction, such that we might have to wait another couple of decades to see this a reality. Also, the costs incurred in the research phase might be so huge so that it can be done only by conglomerating with other countries with enough budget. If fusion energy becomes reality then we would have limitless, clean and eco-friendly energy!