In the future what possible new and better sources of cable connection could there be? I mean what other new and better kinds of energy could be run through cables instead of electricity on short distances which we could know about already but not apply yet because of some reasons?

I mean only cable connections not wireless. But cables without electricity. E.g. in a spaceship.

  • $\begingroup$ It is unclear if you want to know about data (wireless comes to mind) or power (wireless is also possible, but for small energy transfer, otherwise I fear power cables conveying electricity will stay with us quite a long time). $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Sep 4 '17 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ @ZioByte I mean power, data, and anything else but by cables. $\endgroup$ – SovereignSun Sep 4 '17 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ This would seem to depend very much on why a society might want to move away from electricity. What are the downsides of electricity that the society is trying to mitigate? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Sep 4 '17 at 17:47
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    $\begingroup$ @K.Price No magic, no! $\endgroup$ – SovereignSun Sep 4 '17 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ Well data has already been done - fibre optics already have advantages over electronics for some applications. $\endgroup$ – Matt Bowyer Sep 4 '17 at 21:53

There have been public compressed air utilities. Massive steam engines would run compressors, and the air would be distributed by pipeline. It was cheaper this way than for each business to run it's own steam engine.

There have also been cable utilities, where engines moved cables, and you could tap energy by pressing a pair of wheels on either side of the cable. I have a 1900's book that describes how to move motive power from a windmill on a hilltop to a pump on the creek using wires and bell-cranks.

In early industrial age workshops, the main engine spun shafts that went the length of the building. Individual machines ran by tightening a belt that wrapped a pulley on the shaft and on the machine.

Startrek blithely talks about plasma conduits.

Hydraulics are possible, but tend to be lossy. Invent a new compound that has very low viscosity?

With perfectly reflective conduit you could move energy as light, or more practically, as microwave.

We currently move energy with natural gas -- essentially moving it in chemical form.

Electricity is a lot easier.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for "electricity is a lot easier". Why take a step backward? $\endgroup$ – Draconis Sep 4 '17 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ Fiber optic cables move energy as light. Can-string telephones move energy as vibration. $\endgroup$ – Willk Sep 4 '17 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Will Those work for transmitting data, less so for transmitting energy as specified in the question. $\endgroup$ – Draconis Sep 4 '17 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Draconis: The prospects of running things off a vibrating string seem slim. But what is the limiting factor as regards an fiber optic cable? How much light energy could one transmit? $\endgroup$ – Willk Sep 4 '17 at 22:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Will That sounds like the beginnings of a good Physics question to me. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Sep 5 '17 at 7:02

As solar, wind and geothermal energy capture improve and as large-scale energy storage becomes low cost and man-portable, each person's need for electricity will become more localized. Eventually, each business and home will become energy independent; generating its own daily need and storing their own reserves. The national grid will remain (if at all) only for use in unusual situations.

With inexpensive and scale-able electricity available everywhere, water purification and indoor hydroponic farming also become portable. This frees people from the city high rises and suburban sprawls. We get to live comfortably even in the most remote and inhospitable places.

Information, in the form of voice communications, email and internet access, has already become wireless, leaving its wired roots in place only where speed and reliability trump convenience.

Cables will continue to be used for power transportation but they will be only one of the available options and will therefore find their markets. For example, cold-climate inland industrial sites may use cables to receive power from coastal tidal generator farms and warmer-climate solar farms.

I don't think that we will find new uses for cables as we move further into the wireless age. Instead, power poles, transformers and all their connective wiring will fade into history like horse-drawn carriages and open sewers.

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you using "wires" here to refer only to the electrical infrastructure grid? Or what do you propose those solar, wind and geothermal energy installations actually produce for delivery to whoever needs the energy? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Sep 4 '17 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @MichaelKjörling, I thought by mentioning both energy capture and storage in my opening paragraph that my point ( that power would someday become a locally generated rather than grid distributed resource ). I will attempt to make it more clear now. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Sep 4 '17 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ The problem is that even if you have a bunch of solar panels on your roof and a wind turbine in your back yard, the power still has to get from those to whatever you want to power -- say, your desk lamp. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Sep 4 '17 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ You are correct again, but I think I've corrected that issue as well. The OPs question was about cables not necessarily wires. I've now focused my answer on the distance spanning cables which webwork across our cities, not necessarily the wires which crawl through our walls. Thanks again for the help. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Sep 4 '17 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ That's better. (Though I'd argue that communications hasn't become wireless, except possibly for the "last mile", but that's a completely different issue and not the core focus of your answer nor -- as I read it -- the question.) $\endgroup$ – a CVn Sep 4 '17 at 18:19

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