Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic trends, advisor to the European Union (EU) and author of the book “The Hydrogen Economy” has stated that a Third Industrial Revolution based upon hydrogen will create millions of jobs. According to Rifkin, the world is “approaching the sunset of the oil era” and in the next 25 years, many businesses involved in renewable energy will wholeheartedly accept the hydrogen economy.
Rifkin has stated that the EU is leading the US and all other countries by mandating that 20-percent renewable energy be used, across the board, by the year 2020. Speaking in Dublin a couple of weeks ago, Rifkin stated, “To remain dependent of fossil fuels will have ominous consequences for the future of human civilization and the ecosystems of the earth. Every government needs to explore new energy paths and establish new economic models with the goal of achieving as close to zero carbon emissions as possible.”
As in his book, Rifkin has stated that so far every industrial revolution has coincided with a communications revolution. The first industrial revolution, paired up coal powered steam technology and the printing press. The second industrial revolution paired up telephones and gasoline engines. The third industrial revolution will pair up the Internet with the hydrogen technology.
According to Rifkin, hydrogen is the universal energy storage medium of choice for renewable energy. In regard to solar, wind, ocean and hydropower, the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow, the tides don’t always move and rivers don’t always run at full capacity. When renewable energy does provide electricity, the over abundance can be stored as hydrogen to be used at a later date.
Rifkin believes that as part of the Third Industrial Revolution, energy needs to be created and stored locally from renewable resources. Government and business needs to get behind this kind of new energy paradigm and the results will be energy independence and millions of more jobs in the green collar sector. A decade ago this thinking would have been seen as some misguided pipe dream. But, because of recent breakthroughs in hydrogen and renewable energy technology, this vision is indeed feasible.