This week was an energy week for me. Stan Ovshinsky, the CEO of ECD, Bob Stempel, the Chairman (and the former chief executive of GM) and Iris Ovshinsky, the co-founder of ECD and Stan's wife were visiting Tokyo this week. We talked a lot about the relationship between energy and information and the fact that information was codified energy. The more I think about it the more it all starts to fit together into an amazing unified image.
The picture above is ECD's vision of the Hydrogen Economy. Get Carbon out of the picture. Reduce the cycle to the basic elements of the universe. Photons creating energy to break H2O into Hydrogen and Oxygen. Oxygen goes back to the atmosphere and the Hydrogen is stored and transported in the Hydride material. The Hydrogen is later extracted to create energy through combustion or through the creation of electrical energy with a fuel cell. This electricity can be stored in a Hydride battery which is also based on Hydrogen. The electricity obviously can be used for propulsion or be converted into meta-energy, or information. Photos->Hydrogen->Electrons->Bits that’s all we need. No CO2, fossil fuels, Uranium or any of the non-big-bang stuff please. Oh and by the way, the basic material and the phenomenon used to store hydrogen in a solid, the convert hydrogen in to electricity and the store electricity in hydride batteries is the based on the same basic science.
It is almost like the relationship between the mind and the body. The true cost of information is cost of the carrier which is based on the creation of energy. Just as the spirit lives in the mind which is carried inside of the body, Information is carried in bits which are carried on wires by electrons, thrust forward by some sort of energy source.
When I was talking to the Tokyo Power Company information division folks the other day, I realized an interesting thing... Just as the telephone company can provide flat fee traffic over their leased lines because they own the wires and fiber, the power company can provide data center and wires for free because they make money on the power consumption.
At a lunch with Jack Welch, he once said, "I love the Internet because it consumes energy and I sell more turbines."
Because power companies don't have legacy information businesses, they can jump into the information and telecom business unencumbered. If you also consider that the phone company is so leveraged and losing so much of their core revenue, such as voice, I can imagine a world where energy and power is the whole game and IT is just like an appliance that you OWN and only pay to power it. And... eventually with photovoltaics, we'll just have to buy energy conversion devices and get our energy from the sun...