We wrap-up the year with a reflection on the path our No-Compromise Energy Blog took in 2016 (which now has more than 50 articles and industry interviews) with a recompilation of some of our most popular posts.
We chose a quote from Nelson Mandela to launch our blog to the world in February. Reflecting the contrast between centuries of oppression followed by liberty for his people, Mandela wrote, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” This inspirational phrase acts as our editorial North Star. It guides our writing by helping us to focus on stories and opinions “about the impossible becoming possible” around clean, available and affordable energy. It also serves as a bellwether for the advancement of game-changing ideas that can help us to realize a more sustainable future for people everywhere and the planet.
Southern tip of the American continent. Christopher Michel.
Here are some notable reflections from our collective writing in 2016:
The “Superpower” of Available, Clean, and Affordable Energy
Reflecting on the year behind them and the one ahead, Bill and Melinda Gates decided that the theme of their 2016 annual letter, read by millions of people around the world, would be about energy. In their annual letter, they challenged readers to imagine a life without energy: no power to cover life’s basic needs, medical emergencies, or progress of any kind. For the 1.3 billion people who have no access to electricity, unfortunately, this is everyday life. We were touched by the Gates’ annual letter and wrote about their choice for an ideal superpower, “energy to fuel poverty reduction.”
What moved us to use several of our articles in 2016 to cover this problem is the social injustice that leaves 17% of humanity powerless. One of our last articles of the year analyzed the real meaning of the term “energy independence.” The article explored the definition used by the International Energy Agency, “Modern energy services are crucial to human well-being and to a country’s economic development.” It concluded that energy independence is really about energy security, a basic ingredient in the formula to lift people out of poverty.
This widespread problem has captured the attention of people and organizations around the world who are working to bring about systemic change through advancements in clean, off-the-grid systems to produce electricity, like solar and hydrogen. We look forward to writing more about progress in this vital area in the coming year.
A Year of Celebrating the Wonders of Hydrogen and Water
As you can well imagine, we are enthusiastic about the potential for the number one element in the universe to provide unlimited clean fuel for our planet. Many of our articles in 2016 celebrated the wonders of hydrogen, especially its abundance, its sustainability, and its enormous energy potential.
Robert Koeneman, President and SVP of Technology here at Joi Scientific, wrote one of the first articles of the year on this very topic, Hydrogen: The Most Plentiful Source of Energy in the Universe. He opened the post with what he called “simple math”—the fact that one gram of hydrogen fuel yields the same amount of energy as ten million grams of coal when subjected to the pressures inside stars. The article highlighted how this amazing element makes up 75% of the material in stars and 90% of the material in the universe.
Later in the year, Rob wrote a series of three articles around the theme, “Realizing the Impossibles,” which were inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s “moonshot” challenge that took man to the moon in the 1960s. The first one focused on space exploration and the distinct role NASA has played in realizing some of humanity’s ‘impossibles’ like landing men on the moon to discovering that water is quite abundant in moons and comets throughout the solar system. The second article in the series introduced the exponential growth concept called the “J-curve.” It explored three technology ‘impossible feats’ that resulted in dramatic “before” and “after” market transformations to the betterment of our society including: human flight, computing power and DNA sequencing.
Our blog celebrated hydrogen and water through a series of articles on their properties, their abundance, and their potential. We shared a couple of stories on the history around the discovery of hydrogen and how this most abundant, “flammable gas” that surrounds us was not discovered until the 17th century because of the fact that the element “loves bonding” with other elements, especially oxygen, here on Earth.
Climate Change: The Imperative Mandate to Tackle the Problem of a Warming Planet
You could say that the ‘elephant in the room’ for any organization that deals with energy is climate change. This is a monumental problem with nasty consequences for future generations that we cannot afford to ignore. We already see the impact of it: severe weather throughout the world, an ice-free Arctic that can be navigated in the summer, and the loss of dozens of species who cannot adapt to such rapidly changing weather. One of our first articles on this issue quoted the words of NASA astronaut Scott Kelly as he saw the effects of pollution from the International Space Station, “The more I look at Earth, and certain parts of Earth, the more I feel [like] an environmentalist,” he said, “It’s just a blanket of pollution in certain areas.”
We devoted many articles to the subject of climate change. Specifically, we are joyful by the courage shown by most nations in their determination to take action to tackle the problem by signing the Paris Agreement. We called the article on this historic agreement “Joyous Earth” and explained how new technologies, like hydrogen, amongst others, enabled nations to realize that there was no longer the need for trade-offs between sustainability and economic progress.
On this important topic, we also reflected on the unprecedented collaboration between two of the world’s leading economies, the U.S. and China, to reduce carbon emissions, and on the commitment of the world’s 47 poorest nations to go 100% green between 2030 and 2050.
The Contribution of Hydrogen to a Sustainable World
Finally, we wrote many articles about the future of Hydrogen 2.0—clean, available and affordable hydrogen fuel that may finally help us unlock the potential of the most basic of all elements.
We wrote about Hydrogen 2.0 from many angles—from its potential to bring energy to remote places in the world, to the promise of finally making hydrogen fuel 100% clean (on both the production and combustion sides), to its application in industries that range from utilities to boilers to aviation. We also published an eBook called, Hydrogen for a Better Planet, in which we explored the many angles and benefits of this remarkable energy source.
Interestingly, 2016 saw the capacity of renewables, such as solar and wind, overtake that of coal for the first time. We analyzed why this important milestone needs to be matched with technology that can reduce the variability of alternative sources of energy.
2016 saw several positive milestones regarding sustainability. A few weeks ago we wrote an article called “Thankful Conservation,” in which we reviewed five important initiatives towards conservation made around the world this year.
For all of you who follow our blog, thank you for your interest and support. We wish you a joyful and prosperous year ahead that builds on the progress we all made in 2016.
As the Hydrogen 2.0 ecosystem gains momentum, we’ll be sharing our views and insights on the new Hydrogen 2.0 Economy. We also update our blog every week with insightful and current knowledge in this growing energy field.