That headline is the major energy takeaway of Thomson Reuters’ free new report The World in 2025: Predictions in Innovation, which cribbed patent and analytic data from Thomson Innovation, Derwents, InCities and Web of Science to create a vision of the future far more benevolent than our globally warmed present. “Solar is the Largest Source of Energy on the Planet” trumpets its photovoltaic complement, one of 10, which promises that within barely over a decade “the use of the sun as the world’s primary source of energy is no longer for the environmentally-conscious select; it is for the masses.”
This will occur thanks to tremendous leaps in innovation, especially at the quantum scale, where “cobalt-oxide and titanium-oxide nanostructures, photocatalysts and 3D nanoscale heterojunctions” will dramatically increase efficiency in photosynthetic chemical bonding. Solar thermal and photovoltaic power will get thinner than ever, enabling creative placement on pretty much everything one can think of, thereby energizing the phones, homes, cars and lives of 2025’s ubiquitously internetworked populations. Support for this argument, according to Thomson Reuters, is indicated by the fact that Fabrication of novel heterostructure of CO304-Modified TIO2 nanorod arrays and enhanced photoelectrochemical property is the most highly cited paper of the last two years.
Of course, it doesn’t take a bucketload of jargon to sustain that point. Exciting solar power innovations are the flip side of dystopian global warming discoveries: Both are exponentially occurring at light-speed, with more data being accrued by the day.
Less than a decade ago, the solar industry worldwide installed a paltry 1.5 gigawatts of capacity; next year, it could install over 60. Barely five years ago, anyone who wanted to go solar had to shell out thousands of dollars. Today, SunPower, SolarCity and many more PV players will do it for zero-down. You can thank the utter bust of the fossil fuel industry for that, of course, but not really, because its century-long boom and “natural gas” hangover have led us all to an existential precipice below which lies a sixth mass extinction and perhaps “game over” for us and our comfy climate.
Thomson Reuters optimistic vision looks little like that, thanks to a reliance upon scientific innovation that hopefully comes true. By 2025, it explains, we will be routinely testing teleportation, mapping DNA, detoxifying cancer treatment, using cellulose packaging, electrifying our fleets, downsizing Type 1 diabetes, ending food shortages, declining dementia and digitally connecting everyone everywhere to everything.
Fingers crossed. Hard.