Jak pěstovat energii

Podle všech náznaků – od klimatických změn až po nevyzpytatelné ceny ropy – se na obzoru rýsuje globální energetická krize. Čelit této sílící výzvě znamená, že lidstvo si již nemůže dovolit ignorovat nevyčerpatelné zdroje nacházející se v organické hmotě, kterou slunce každý den poskytuje prostřednictvím fotosyntézy. Díky sluneční energii mohou rostliny absorbovat oxid uhličitý a vyrábět nejen kyslík, ale i hmotu, kterou se živí zástupci říše zvířat – a kterou naše stroje dokážou využívat k výrobě energie.

Již od neolitu (neboli pozdní doby kamenné) lidé tuto „biomasu“ pěstují, aby se uživili. Její energetický potenciál však zůstává i v dnešním světě bez povšimnutí. Počínajíce průmyslovou revolucí hledali lidé energii v uhlí a později i v ropě a zemním plynu, což však vede k vyčerpávání neobnovitelných zdrojů.

Stávající alternativy pro diverzifikaci výroby energie jsou omezené. Jaderná energie má řadu nevýhod kvůli obavám z bezpečnosti a ukládání radioaktivního odpadu. Vodní energie se v široké míře využívá již dnes, zatímco energie větrná a sluneční jsou strukturálně sporadické a v nestejné míře dostupné.

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