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Imagining an Bio-Inspired Energy System

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

This is not quite biomimicry (, but we are definitely seeing a blending of Darwinian concepts, emergent strategy, and technology moving towards a singularity around building more adaptable "ecosystems" for our products, systems and organizational behaviors.   Here's a fascinating trend that is evolving right now in the energy sector.

The recent developments in solar energy technologies will allow energy transfer to take place on unprecedented levels (cars, buildings, devices, people - via clothing/accessories, ...).  Our concept of energy production based on coal, nuclear plants, and water-driven turbines will be shifted once these other devices are brought "online".  The challenge will be how to capture the energy and direct it to storage devices (presumably batteries) or deposit it back into an adaptable energy grid.   Energy capture for fixed devices will be fairly straight forward, but might be a bit more complicated with mobile devices.

Just imagine the common electrical receptacle:  Currently, it is designed to "pull" power from the existing energy grid.  In the future, this will be a bi directional electric receptacle where power can be "pushed" or "pulled" depending on whether the node on the grid is a producer or consumer of energy.   Of course, this will require a complete rethinking of the metering systems used by power companies to ensure these "node owners" are compensated for their energy production.   But (as so often happens), as we solve one problem we create new problems.    When this comes to fruition, how will the energy companies monetize their business models if a growing portion of their customer base become "producer nodes"  on the energy grid ?  Will there be a grid-tax imposed for producers  ?  Will be interesting to see the new economic models that unfold between local, regional, organizational, and state levels.   What about the implications for countries that are "positive" energy producers who wish to capitalize on their surplus energy ?  Will the energy grid be owned by any one company or will it become more of a ubiquitous animal like the internet ?

All of this becomes even more exciting when you consider that electronic data and information are nothing more than energy pulses delivered through a separate network that we call the WWW.  There are already efforts underway to enable a convergent approach to delivering both energy & information.  Though, this may be further off than an adaptable energy grid.   As the energy grid becomes more "intelligent" and adaptable, computing will become a larger component and the convergence of energy & information may become an accelerated reality.  These are tough questions to ponder as control gets transferred from the central "authority" to these autonomous agents that are nodes on a complex adaptive eco-system used to capture & distribute energy needs in an efficient manner.


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