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California’s Renewable Energy Program: Could Quantum Devices Be a Part of It?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Progression +Innovation= Emerging Renewable Resources

California is known as a progressive state. It favors the implementation of social reform or new, liberal ideas. It is a state that promotes change and innovation.  Because of an abundant supply of  natural resources, the state has a long history of support for clean and renewable energy. It joined the energy revolution of  renewable energy with the deregulation of the electric utilities in 1998. Deregulation is the act of removing constraints or freeing from regulation, especially government imposed economic regulation.

This caused California to be recognized as the leader in clean and renewable energy. The California Energy Commission has a blueprint to achieve its ambitious renewable energy goals. This is outlined in a Renewable Portfolio Standard. A Renewable Portfolio Standard is a regulation that requires the increased production of energy from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal.

California’s leadership can expedite the state’s transition to clean and  renewable energy. Currently, it has set out to develop emerging technologies for energy. Emerging technologies are contemporary advances and innovation in various fields of technology. It is a new technology not yet fully exploited by businesses. It is taking an old idea and modernizing it. An emerging renewable technology is a technology that uses a renewable power source, such as solar or wind energy, to generate electricity. It has emerged beyond the research and development phase, and is commercially available, and has significant commercial potential as determined by the Energy Commission.

What are the various types of renewable energy?

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful forms of energy. These include wind turbines to make electrical power,windmills for mechanical power, wind pumps for water pumping or drainage, and  sails to propel ships.

Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity. This uses photovoltaics or indirectly using concentrated solar power. Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaics convert light into electric current using the photoelectric effect. The photoelectric effect is the process of heating an object to release energy. This process is also known as artificial photosynthesis.

Solar panels are the device used in this process. The solar panels are made of solar cells.This is liken to a fuel cell. Whereas a fuel cell converts an electrochemical reaction into an electric current, solar cell converts solar energy into electrical energy.  The concentrated heat is used to power a generator . The generator is then used to produce electricity. a generator is a dynamo for converting mechanical energy into electricity.

Biomass or plant material can be a renewable energy source. The determination of its use is based on the rate of extraction and the rate of production The rate of extraction must not exceed the rate of production. the process of photosynthesis, plants capture the sun’s energy. When the plants are burnt, they release the sun’s energy they contain. In this way, biomass functions as a sort of natural battery for storing solar energy.

Water power is power that is a product of the gravitational force of falling water and running water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as watermills, sawmills, textile mills, dock cranes, domestic lifts, power houses and paint making. Hydroelectricity refers to the electricity that is  generated by hydropower..Most hydroelectric power comes from the potential energy of dammed water driving a water turbine and generator. The power extracted from the water depends on the volume and on the difference in height between the source and the water’s outflow.

Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter. The geothermal energy of the Earth’s crust originates from the original formation of the planet  and  radioactive decay of minerals .

Another form of renewable energy is the use of computers. This is called a smart grid. A smart grid is a modernized electrical grid that uses information and communications technology to gather and act on information, such as information about the behaviors of suppliers and consumers, in an automated fashion.

This source uses computer-based remote control and automation These systems are made possible by two-way communication technology and computer processing. The technology has been used for decades in other industries. They are beginning to be used on electricity networks, from the power plants and wind farms all the way to the consumers of electricity in homes and businesses. They offer many benefits to utilities and consumers. This has greatly improved energy efficiency on the electricity grid and in the energy users’homes and offices. This not only improves the efficiency, but also the reliability, economics, sustainability of the production, and distribution of electricity.

Insight on Renewables

All of these sources provide some type of insight. We know that wind does not just exist here on earth, but also in space. It is a flow of gases and is caused by atmospheric circulation and differential heating.So perhaps, it is feasible to suggest that space vehicles could be powered by wind. Solar power will last as long as we have our sun or is it possible that we could simulate artificial suns here on earth? Also solar panels are being revolutionized. Advanced technology has considered using the qubit as solar cell. The qubit is a quantum bit. This terminology is mainly used in the concept of quantum computing but in this case, it also means it is a quantum dot. A quantum dot is a nanoscale particle of semiconducting material that can be embedded. This would essentially be a quantum battery.

In regards to the use of biomass, there is a counterside. This is the fact that deforestation and the corruption of our ecosystems can occur if we are not diligent. And besides, why not utilize solar energy to run greenhouses to produce products for biomass energy?  In looking at how water power is used, consider this: could renewable energy influence the economy? After all, waterpower was essential for sawmills and textile mills in the history of civilization. And does it have to be water? Why not ionized plasma? That’s a liquid, too. We could use any liquid substance to generate energy. The source of water does not have to be ponds, rivers, streams, oceans, or lakes; it could be rain or steam. For geothermal energy, we can learn how to create thermal energy from the reaction between a generated substance and radioactivity.This is something to take carefully into consideration as you have to use safeguards against hazards.

Smart Grid or “Quantum Grid”

The smart grid has a lot of advantages.It may use other forms of renewable energy in conjuction with computer systems. However, let’s take this technology to the next level; the quantum level. Let’s say that the smart grid was a network of computers. It is a series of computers that communicate with each other to provide energy to homes and businesses. But it is not just a network, it is a quantum network. A quantum network is a series of quantum computers. These quantum computers use quantum information and quantum communication to network with each other. Quantum communication is a measure of our ability to encode and decode information in physical systems.  Quantum information is physical information that is held in the “state” of a quantum system. The basic unit of quantum information is the qubit. The basic qubit is a two-level quantum system. Because of the the concept of the qubit, it is possible to use multiple sources of other renewable energies.Using quantum computers for energy providers would allow a higher efficiency both for input and output of  energy.

Education + Innovation=Success

Another way that California is taking the lead in renewable and clean energy is by using the University of California system. The Resnick Institute at Caltech is one example. By using the UC system, the state is able to conduct research projects in areas related to renewable and clean energy. areas include energy use and conservation, energy resources and supply systems, economics, politics, and regulation of energy, and environmental issues in energy supply and use. Through this research , commercial operations become commercially available.

There are many benefits to renewable and clean energy projects. One of the major benefits is that it can help preserve the environment and protect our endangered species. They help spur economic growth in local communities by generating installation, construction, and maintenance jobs. By instituting a new program, steps must be taken to educate and inform the public through various avenues such as schools and public programs. Another benefit to renewable and clean energy projects is that it would hinder global warming.Renewable and clean energy projects are not just for the home or building use. Another use for renewable or clean energy is an alternate source of fuel for machines such as electric cars.

If we are to pursue a successful future for sustainable energy, we must rethink. We must work together as individuals, governments and businesses to develop breakthrough solutions for clean, sustainable and affordable energy.

Images: author,wind power, solar powerbiomass, hydropower, geothermal energy, quantum dot, smartgrid, Resnick,

Joel Taylor About the Author: Joel Taylor grew up in Siskiyou County, California. He attended Yreka High School in Yreka, California. After that, he attended College of the Siskiyous in Weed, California and then transferred to Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon where he graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Physics. Since then, he has had his own tutoring and research company. He has also worked at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Joel is also a member of the American Physical Society and American Institute of Physics. Follow on Twitter @Joel_a_taylor.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.






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