- Type 0 – From primitive hunting lifestyle to partial usage of home planetary energy such as wood or fossil fuel fire, this type is the beginning of a civilization. Population ranged from a few thousands to a few billions, energy consumption is between 10^6 to 10^15 W, with cities scattered around coastal area. Obviously all inhabitants’ activities are constrained on their planet only.
- Type I – Complete mastery of harvesting home planetary energy, including earth quake, volcano and other natural forces. Typical population reaches 10^10 with efficient energy consumption of around 10^16 W or more. At advanced stage, the whole planet is a megacity with very convenient transportation and communication means. Some of their activities are carried out at inter-planetary space.
- Type II – The civilization builds Dyson Sphere or Swarm or Rings to harvest their home star energy in the forms of radiation, magnetic field and flare. As their population spreads around the whole planetary system in colonies of various sizes, it could reach 10^20 inhabitants with typical energy consumption of 10^26 W, hence the dyson megastructures as their home planetary energy sources are not enough to support all the activities, which are carried out within the planetary system.
- Type III – their technology is so advanced that megastructures other than those being built by Type II are constructed to harness energy from not just normal stars but also exotic stars such as white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. With energy consumption reaching 10^36 W, their population could touch 10^30 with colonies in various forms residing within their home galaxy. At this stage, they shall have mastered faster-than-light travel and communication means.
2. Existing World Energy Scenario
- Fossil fuels (coal, natural gas & oil) – this makes up 64% of existing energy source. To get to the fossil fuel and convert it to use, there has to be heavy destruction and pollution of the environment. The fossil fuel reserves are also limited, it will only last another few decades at current consumption rate.
- Nuclear power – 10% of world energy source is from this. It is created through a specific nuclear reaction, which is then collected and used to power generators. While almost every country has nuclear generators, there are moratoriums on their use or construction as scientists try to resolve safety and disposal issues of waste.
- Hydroelectric energy – 16% out of total world energy source. Every time you see a major dam, it is providing hydropower to an electrical station somewhere. The power of the water is used to turn generators to produce the electricity that is then used.
- Wind energy – Even at just 5% market share, the new innovations that are allowing wind farms to appear are making them a more common sight in energy landscape. By using large turbines to take available wind as the power to turn, the turbine can then turn a generator to produce electricity.
- Biomass energy – Its utilization contributes to 3% of world energy needs. Biomass generally includes crops, plants, trees, yard clippings, wood chips and animal wastes. Chlorophyll present in plants captures the sun’s energy by converting carbon dioxide from the air and water from the ground into carbohydrates through the process of photosynthesis. When the plants are burned, the water and carbon dioxide is again released back into the atmosphere.
- Solar energy – This is the most under utilized energy source with a mere 2% contribution to total energy consumption, considering how much sunlight hits the Earth every second. It harvests the energy of the sun by using collector panels to create conditions that can then be turned into power. Large solar panel fields are often used in desert to gather enough power to charge small substations, and many homes use solar systems to provide for hot water, cooling and supplement their electricity.
- Geothermal energy – This one is very much under utilized as well at only 1% market share. High temperature is produced continuously inside the earth from decay of radioactive particles and spinning of the Earth. Hot rocks present below the earth crust boils the water into superheated steam. The steam is then captured that moves the turbines which then power the generators.
Chart 1: World energy consumption by energy source (1990-2040)
We consumed energy at a rate of 2 x 10^13 W in 2018, but if we crawl at the latest EIA world energy usage growth rate projection of just 1% p.a. (refer to Chart 1), it will take us 625 years to reach 10^16 W a.k.a. energy level for Type I civilization. We need booster.
3. How Does Bitcoin Help?
Chart 2: Annual Bitcoin mining and transaction energy needs
Adoption of more renewable energy
- According to a ccn report, 74% of Bitcoin mining activities use renewable energy. Countries with more exposure to sunlight, wind, etc will be prone to develop these natural forces into energy when they join the army of miners.
- As pointed out by visualcapitalist, we have barely scratched the surface of renewable energy potential, refer to the table below. Bitcoin’s energy hungry and lucrative mining operation will propel people to think of ways to make more use of these energy sources.
More effcient utilization of existing energy sources
- Countries will be forced to be creative to increase energy efficiency to maximize mining profit, especially for nations with limited natural resources. Oil producers by-products are usually burnt as waste gas; but some companies are now exploring the ideas of turning this into producing Bitcoin. All these will push the world to achieve EWS of 3% p.a. as stipulated by Chart 3.
Chart 3: World Energy Usage Efficiency
- Type I civilization could control and make use of the massive energy released by nuclear fusion and natural forces such as weather, earth crust tectonic movement, volcano, oceans, etc. With Bitcoin as incentive, miners and energy providers, together with scientists, will go further miles to explore these exotic energy sources which is unimaginable before.
- For that to happen, new and more advanced technologies have to be developed. For example, a Harvard scientist has conceived of a humidity power generator to harness the energy of the atmosphere which generates hurricanes and tornadoes. More such interesting ideas will come around when people are focused on harnessing energy on their home planet.