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Comment Open source energy technology (Score 1) 1250

Many viable solutions to the problem of energy resource depletion are being overlooked by industry, government and academia due to the need to find ways to explot or take credit for discoveries in the area of energy production.

The time is right for the open source movement to expand into the area of energy technology, and enable people to freely produce energy on their own, without concern for erratic markets or proprietary control of resources. Although migrating open source software development to energy technology requires a different set of infrastructure components and science, the core concepts and tools facilitating free exchange of ideas can be directly adoped from open source software development.

An example might be a project for developing a homebrew solar system:

* Plans and specifications for construction of devices that fabricate non-silicon solar cells.

* Information on how to obtain and process the materials required for homebrew solar cells.

* Schematics for construction of solar energy components, such as charge controllers, inverters and monitoring systems.

An example of an open source platform for energy production utilizing photosynthesis might consist of the folowing:

* Architectural specifications of an eco-system consisting of biological organisms such as bacteria and algae, that form a process whereby the inputs are carbon dioxide, water and sunlight and the outputs are useful hydrocarbons.

* A set of blueprints for construction of devices that facilitate collection and storage of hydrocarbons and enable the various stages of processing performed by bacteria or algae.

* Information on how to obtain, exchange or construct the various components of the system at low cost.

Applying the existing open source software infrastructure to energy technology is simple. Tools such as sourceforge, forums, wikis and blogs could be populated with pilot projects. Like open source software, intellectual contributions to these projects, regardless of how trivial or seemingly simple, would accumulate and self-organize over time into coherent solutions that could be adoped by many with relative ease. Or at least it might resemble the linux of energy technology - not for everbody, but everbody is free to use it if they choose.

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"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982