An Ideal Fuel: Fuel For The Third Wave



Alvin Toffler’s book mentions about 3 types of societies of human beings that have evolved since the beginning. First wave comprised of agricultural age. It marked an end to nomadic lifestyle of hunt and gather. Second wave began with introduction of machines and industries. It replace human labour, broke down the societies into fragments  and thus increased its mobility. The third wave is post industrial age. It is also called Information age or ‘Electronage’.

Fuel for first wave was land. With land people grew plants. And plant gave us food. In second wave primary fuel was coal or oil. It provided energy for engines to run, electricity to light the darkness and machines to work.

Here are some key points that fuel (the ideal one ) of third wave societies must have :

1. Most important, our fuel must have high efficiency. This will be determined by high calorific value. In other words, it should give more heat per unit biomass consumed.

2. It should not be intoxicating to the biosphere. No polluting by products. And byproducts should have a further utilization.

3. Its ignition temperature should be low. But it should not not be too low. This will cause the fuel to burn quiet easily. It can catch fire with slightest of mishandling. So ignition temperature should be compatible with the current technology which can make it as safe as possible.

4. It should not be valued for any other purpose. Example: Coke can be used as a reducing agent as well as a fuel. Since its valued more for its reducing properties, therefore it is not an ideal fuel.

5. It should be cheap. Cheap enough so that a poorest of man can utilize it.

6. It should be present in abundance, so that it can provide us with energy for eternity. Its resource should not exhaust.

7. It should have some property which can be used to store and transport it for emergency purpose.

8. Fuel must burn at a steady rate. And its rate of combustion can be regulated by our will.

This kind of fuel is not possible now. It wont be possible in future. But those who are optimistic can hope that this ideal fuel comes and put an end to all the crisis.

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