There are numerous heated debates regarding which method of energy production from renewable sources is the best one. The debate usually involved hydroelectric dams, wind turbines, and solar panels. What many people in this debate don’t see is that none of them are the best solution, the best solution is not to rely on any single source of energy. While people debate over the best method of renewable energy production some smart individuals at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) actually thought about the problem correctly:
Researchers at MIT have taken a significant step toward battery-free monitoring systems — which could ultimately be used in biomedical devices, environmental sensors in remote locations and gauges in hard-to-reach spots, among other applications.
Previous work from the lab of MIT professor Anantha Chandrakasan has focused on the development of computer and wireless-communication chips that can operate at extremely low power levels, and on a variety of devices that can harness power from natural light, heat and vibrations in the environment. The latest development, carried out with doctoral student Saurav Bandyopadhyay, is a chip that could harness all three of these ambient power sources at once, optimizing power delivery.
Relying on any single source is tempting fate by creating a single point of failure whereas using multiple sources grants a great deal of redundancy. Why rely on just solar panels or just wind turbines when you can use both? After all, solar panels only work when there’s enough sunlight while wind turbines only work when there’s enough wind. Hydroelectric dams work continuously (unless there is a major drought) but the locations where they can be built are very limited.
Let’s learn a lesson from the guys at MIT and stop thinking about a single best solution (this goes for things besides renewable energy production by the way).