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Questions tagged [energy]

For questions about sources of power, generation, storage, how much is needed to perform different tasks, etc.

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18 votes
5 answers
2k views

How might kinetosynthesizing "plants" look?

Suppose that there is a moon, orbiting a gas giant, and that gas giant is a rogue planet - it moves freely through the universe, unbound by the gravity of a star. This means that one, the moon will ...
SealBoi's user avatar
  • 14.9k
8 votes
5 answers
1k views

Would a magic-using society create living batteries?

Postulate My world has functioning magic which is capable of exerting kinetic effect. (That is, move objects, or generate heat, since "heat" after all is just motion at the atomic level.) It can't ...
Matthew's user avatar
  • 14.4k
40 votes
18 answers
5k views

With current technology, what would be the best way to store energy for future generations?

Let's say that the world has successfully converted and only depends on renewable resources for our home energy needs. In fact, we have a massive surplus - currently in the form of raw electricity ...
DoubleDouble's user avatar
  • 7,418
5 votes
2 answers
880 views

What can run the condensers on this Hell Train?

Hell turns out to be a real, physical place. It’s a physical planet. I have most of the science figured out for this literal hades, except the heat engines used in here need a cold sink—a strong one ...
Vogon Poet's user avatar
  • 8,169
17 votes
2 answers
3k views

How much power can you send via a laser through the atmosphere without catastrophic effects?

Assuming that you had: some sort of amazing power plant on the moon that can create an unlimited amount of power a similarly amazing solar panel on earth that can receive an unlimited amount of power ...
user2813274's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
1k views

No sunlight, just high-energy radiation?

Is it possible for a planet to have very little visible-light energy and receive enough energy to support life from ionising radiation? Dim light, including starlight and ionized-air glow is ...
k-l's user avatar
  • 297
4 votes
4 answers
2k views

Energy manipulating superhero -- how would it work

I want to make a superhero that can control all forms of energy. From what I've heard you can do a lot like, manipulate time and space, open blackholes, teleport, shape shift, and manipulate matter. ...
Aaron Tuturro's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
367 views

How can I meaningfully define the energy cost of magical levitation?

In the world I'm building, there is a form of "magic"¹ that effectively amounts to metabolism-powered telekinesis. In particular, there is a maximum power limit of approximately 20 W/kg relative to a ...
Matthew's user avatar
  • 14.4k
13 votes
9 answers
4k views

Could a moon made of fissile uranium produce enough heat to replace the sun?

This was my answer to this question: Retrofitting geocentrism - what replaces the star? I spent long enough on it and got an interesting enough result that I wanted to share, so that it might be a ...
user avatar
110 votes
27 answers
39k views

How to survive the heat death of the universe?

The eventual heat death of the universe is an awful time to be alive considering you wouldn't have long left after the last star finally fades away. In this scenario there is a small group of about a ...
Gorp's user avatar
  • 1,235
83 votes
16 answers
13k views

Can stars that are not powered by nuclear fusion exist?

Stars generate their energy by fusing lighter elements into heavier elements. The most common reaction in Sun-like stars is the conversion of hydrogen to helium via the proton-proton chain, but ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
24 votes
11 answers
5k views

How would relatively cheap and abundant (but not free or limitless) electrical energy at an up-front cost impact society?

A group of scientists has been slaving away largely in obscurity for two decades, with very few publishable results. Suddenly, one of them has an epiphany, which turns out to be instrumental to ...
user's user avatar
  • 28.9k
16 votes
6 answers
3k views

Energy source for a generation ship

A generation ship was sent out a long time ago, to colonize a far away planet. However the ship failed to reach its goal due to navigational issues (which also means they didn't have any clue where in ...
celtschk's user avatar
  • 31.4k
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the caloric requirement of a fire spell?

Let's take this image as our fireball in question: And let's further assume that it travels about 30 meters before burning out (twice the range of a WWII flamethrower) and travels at the speed of 20 ...
Ranger's user avatar
  • 17.5k
8 votes
3 answers
467 views

Is it possible for an organism to convert magnetic radiation into a sustainable energy source?

For backgrounds sake, let's say that there are large, and I mean large beings living underneath the icy surface of Europa. Now consider this excerpt from NASA's page on Europa: One of the most ...
Cole Simchick's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
6k views

Can gamma radiation be used to generate electricity on earth?

Since gamma radiation consists of photons, just like visible light does, albeit on a different frequency, isn't there a plausible way that in, say, 200 years into the future, we could harness the ...
Hyfnae's user avatar
  • 3,822
6 votes
5 answers
2k views

Organic Material able to store massive amounts of energy?

I am looking for a (at least somewhat) plausible organic matter, which is able to store massive amounts of energy. After reading up on biobatteries and so on, I am aware that I would need something ...
user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
5k views

What are the implications for society if perpetual motion was possible? [closed]

Assuming perpetual motion was possible, what influence would that have on society? Would the ready availability of energy help the current third-world? Would that even exist given how history would be ...
James's user avatar
  • 143
2 votes
3 answers
328 views

Energy gain/loss of using synthesized antimatter as a fuel?

Setting aside concerns of containment for now; how much energy would it take to create antimatter? And how much of it would we get back using it as a fuel in a matter-antimatter reactor? What I'm ...
Arvex's user avatar
  • 3,034
0 votes
6 answers
543 views

What are the most compact batteries to store energy from my quazar power plant?

In my previous question, I dealt with the possibility of harvesting the energy of the accretion disk and jets of a quasar Milky Way, by the use of multiple mirrors and panels that are orbiting around ...
Alastor's user avatar
  • 3,392
26 votes
5 answers
3k views

Solar flares: "the week the earth stood still"

I've been hearing and reading about that solar flare in 2012 that could have sent us back to the 18th century, by causing huge geomagnetic storms which would have prevented (every?) electricity-based ...
eyam's user avatar
  • 363
25 votes
7 answers
1k views

Power plants — literally

It is well known that some organisms can produce electricity. Therefore I think it would not be too much of a stretch to assume that also some plants might have evolved that ability (after all, it ...
celtschk's user avatar
  • 31.4k
21 votes
5 answers
3k views

What are the main problems with beaming light from the Sun to Saturn?

I recently finished reading the Kim Stanley Robinson novel 2312 - set, of course, in the year 2312. Part of the background to the political negotiations and ongoing terraforming in the outer Solar ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
20 votes
7 answers
4k views

A Trillion Unruly Gods

Imagine that we live in a setting where there are a trillion humans (see linked question). A bit crowded, I know. Further imagine that at least the entire energy output of the Sun was available to ...
Serban Tanasa's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
1k views

Feasibility of Capturing Hydrogen from the Solar wind

Solar wind density is very low even at Venus it is only 10 or so H+ ions per cm$^3$ but it is moving at a brisk clip of 400 km/s for the slow wind and 750 or so for the fast wind. So (feel free to ...
King-Ink's user avatar
  • 3,709
9 votes
5 answers
447 views

Backing Futuristic "Credits" with Energy?

A lot of worldbuilders that I know and have spoken too, insist that unbacked currencies and items with constantly changing values would be what the economy is based on. I, however, am skeptical of ...
Tevo77777's user avatar
  • 101
9 votes
9 answers
1k views

If energy is conserved, how much energy do I need to reasonably use skeletons as a tomb defense?

Imagine a world of magic. This magic can do anything you want it to, as long as physics agrees (totally useless addendum: physics is actually a very pendantic guy, but rumour has it his mistresses ...
DonQuiKong's user avatar
  • 3,229
9 votes
4 answers
1k views

Energy in a human body?

I would like to make a magic system that follows the laws of conservation of energy, making it so that you can use magic to do something that you can do physically, like lift things, as well as do ...
Jetscooters's user avatar
  • 2,193
7 votes
3 answers
592 views

On the viability of living balloons

This is not a question on whether or not floating, balloon-like organisms are biomechanically viable - I already know the answer to that, which is yes. This instead deals with the plausibility of such ...
SealBoi's user avatar
  • 14.9k
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

How could my solar-powered fairies exist in outer space?

There have been instances of flashes in space that were attributed to sprites and fairies. Now, I know these phenomena can be explained by natural means such as blue/purple lightning. But the concept ...
Theresa Kay's user avatar
  • 2,167
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Could an animal species evolve to use electricity?

Yesterday I was driving at night on an unlit road (nothing nefarious, I swear), and there was a truck behind me with a ridiculous amount of headlamps on, and catching a glimpse of it in my mirror it ...
Mike.C.Ford's user avatar
  • 7,859
5 votes
3 answers
639 views

Can Earth become a micro Death Star?

Can we harvest the fission energy inside of Earth and produce a energy beam powerful enough to destroy Near Earth Object such as an asteroid? Is this technology probable in the next couple of ...
user6760's user avatar
  • 48k
2 votes
2 answers
461 views

Using magnetic repulsion to build zombie-proof building

There has been much thought on how to create a zombie-proof building but I think I have this figured out. I propose a building that covers an area of about one city block, so: 264 x 900 ft, that ...
Kit's user avatar
  • 478
1 vote
4 answers
577 views

How does a dragon evolve to harness energy from nuclear source?

Caveat: No cold fusion! Questions Q1: Where can my dragon source for nuclear energy on Earth set in medieval age and how does it convert this energy for fight or flight? Difficulty:⚠ Q2: How can ...
user6760's user avatar
  • 48k
0 votes
1 answer
561 views

How much energy does this sun crushing ship, the CrushSun, use?

Useless Backstory "Why are you waking me up Sergeant? And why did we enter near-light speed?" "We received a distress call, and there wasn't enough time to notify you, sir." "What kind of distress ...
Christopher King's user avatar
89 votes
22 answers
16k views

How to monetize free energy without revealing its existence?

Just last week while developing a new CCTV camera system I accidentally produced a free energy generator. I know, what are the odds? So now I'd like to make some money. Unfortunately, this device is ...
frodoskywalker's user avatar
73 votes
14 answers
10k views

How to harness Jupiter's gravitational energy?

I am currently orbiting Jupiter, the rent is pretty cheap and the view is magnificent. However, my former electricity provider refuses to connect me to earth's grid for petty reasons like "are you ...
PatJ's user avatar
  • 3,314
41 votes
23 answers
10k views

What would be the ideal power source for a cybernetic eye?

After nearly a decade of development and public prototypes, the Mizaru company is ready to unveil the cybereye. A fully cybernetic eye that provides its user/host with high definition vision, enhanced ...
Celestial Dragon Emperor's user avatar
37 votes
13 answers
11k views

Is a food chain without plants plausible?

Suppose there was a world on which evolution and natural selection took an odd turn and never produced an organism that could be considered a plant by our modern definition, but which still produces ...
Frostfyre's user avatar
  • 25.2k
29 votes
10 answers
10k views

Consequences of an Earth-size object hitting the Sun?

Suppose an extra-solar object the size and mass of the Earth, travelling at a speed of $26\ \mathrm{km/s}$, the same of ʻOumuamua (the first known interstellar object crossing our solar system), hit ...
Nicola Lepetit's user avatar
28 votes
13 answers
4k views

What is the best way to use my two portals?

To avoid being too broad, I'd like to use the portals for purely altruistic purposes (health, environment, safety), and not for scientific or military acheivement (e.g. - not an instant space elevator,...
Mikey's user avatar
  • 17.4k
22 votes
17 answers
7k views

Shooting an energy beam into the Sun (from the Earth) in order to destroy it

This question is about a fictional scenario where an evil suicidal scientist has built a high-energy weapon somewhere on earth. His intention is to shoot a beam of some form of energy (or high-energy ...
x457812's user avatar
  • 749
21 votes
1 answer
4k views

How do I feed my black hole?

Strange title I know, but you'll understand why quickly. I wanted to use a black hole to create absurd amounts of power for hopefully obvious reasons (kind of useful). The problem with natural large ...
Demigan's user avatar
  • 45.4k
16 votes
11 answers
3k views

What would the scientific explanation be for an energy source that can last 130,000 years?

I am playing with the idea of an alien ship landing on earth 130,000 years ago. Over time it's covered up with water and sediments and is eventually discovered in modern day. It contains numerous ...
Luke Duffy's user avatar
14 votes
14 answers
2k views

What are the risks with massive banks of batteries/capacitors?

In redesigning a large number of my ships, I've decided that having larger ships generate enough power for FTL was too convenient and made balancing the factions varied FTL methods difficult (both for ...
Arvex's user avatar
  • 3,034
14 votes
11 answers
3k views

Off-planet energy production - what would be best way to supply this energy planetside?

What would be the best way to send energy that is generated outside the Earth's atmosphere, possibly in the asteroid belt (nevermind the means), so that it can be used on the surface of the planet? ...
AcePL's user avatar
  • 1,113
13 votes
5 answers
928 views

Solar recycling or: How to keep your star from dying

I was in the shower the other day thinking about the sun going Nova, you know...like you do, and a thought occurred to me: Could you turn the sun into a stable, mostly closed system? Some details ...
James's user avatar
  • 32.9k
12 votes
7 answers
3k views

Is there anything about photons and/or space-time that would allow the detection of an energy-based attack from a distance of ten light seconds?

Ten light seconds is a very long distance: 1.86 million miles (3 million Km). For comparison, the moon is about 1.3 light seconds from Earth and the shortest recorded distance between Earth and Mars ...
JBH's user avatar
  • 124k
12 votes
5 answers
491 views

Constant artificial light

Is a scifi setting of constant artificial light everywhere plausible? I'm thinking to the point that the average adult person has not gone out of a city and has no experience of general darkness (...
Henrygale's user avatar
  • 430
11 votes
13 answers
7k views

Hypothetical energy source with higher output than Dyson Sphere

For my Science fiction and Fantasy genre book, I need an energy source whose energy output should be much more than even a fully functional Dyson sphere. Can you please suggest some hypothetical ...
Arpit's user avatar
  • 121