What Powered Your Thanksgiving Dinner?
If you live in the United States, chances are good that yesterday you switched on your oven and spent some, if not most, of the day heating a large bird to an internal temperature of between 165 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Inevitably, some of you insisted on heating the bird to an even higher temperature and wound up overcooking your turkey.
A certain segment of you eschewed tradition and cooked a prime rib roast instead, thereby turning the acquaintances at the table into lifelong friends, and friends into honorary family members.
A smaller percentage of you went completely off the page and replaced the turkey with something silly, like tofu, thereby forcing your guests to fill up on stuffing, salad, and pecan pie while you ranted and raved about the virtues of veganism, the outdated stupidity of gun rights, and the scientific basis for gender fluidity.
Whichever route you decided to take, you probably either hosted or attended one of these events in celebration of what I personally consider to be the greatest of American holidays.
Statistically speaking, the heat used in preparing the key components of the meal most likely came from electricity, not gas.
Which means that the most direct thanks to be given yesterday was to the power company that supplied the juice.
Thank God, But Don't Forget Michael Faraday
Unless your power company generates electricity using solar panels, your praise would ultimately go to the chief means of creating that electricity: the electric generator.
This underappreciated invention has been powering mankind since the end of the 19th century and today accounts for about 99% of all the power produced globally.
Take a moment to grasp that concept... 99% of the power you've ever used in your life, whether it was to charge your phone or illuminate your house after dark, has come from a single kind of mechanism.
Invented almost 200 years ago by a British scientist named Michael Faraday, the generator is nothing more than an electric motor that operates in reverse to turn externally supplied mechanical force into an electric charge.
It's allowed man to harness the power of running water, wind, or the expansion of steam and convert it into readily useable, readily storable energy.
Every coal and nuclear plant, every hydroelectric dam, and every wind turbine was designed and built to serve this purpose, and no matter what form of external mechanical force people manage to tap into in the future, the chief mechanism tasked with the job of turning that force into flowing electrons will still be the generator.
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Two Centuries... Zero Improvements
What's even more surprising about the totality of the generator's role in this process is that since its advent, the basic design has gone virtually unchanged.
It's grown larger, but besides that, it's still essentially the same machine it was back in the 19th century: a copper coil wrapped around a shaft, encased in a housing lined with magnets.
What should come as no surprise, however, is that being as old as it is, this technology is heavily flawed.
What was considered a miracle 150 years ago is today a primitive, cumbersome, inefficient design that we cling to because there simply is no alternative.
But there has to be, right? No invention has ever been the end-all, be-all of whatever function it was designed to perform. There has always been room for improvement, whether incremental or revolutionary.
An Idea Whose Time Has Come
The generator is no exception to this rule.
Despite our total and utter dependence on this device, a radical improvement on the original design has finally arrived, and in the next few years, it will start to replace its aging predecessor.
The effects of this replacement, taken on a global scale, will be enormous.
With efficiency and reliability being the two main points of improvement, we will be looking at tens of billions of dollars saved, maintenance issues avoided, and an overall carbon footprint radically decreased.
And all of this will stem from a single invention, made by a single team of engineers, working for a single company.
I don't want to keep you any longer, so I will now dispense with the cryptic storytelling.
When you get a free moment, however, I urge you to check out a presentation I've put together on this topic.
It will detail for you the problems that have plagued modern power generation from the very start, how these problems were solved, and who solved them.
Fortune favors the bold,
Coming to us from an already impressive career as an independent trader and private investor, Alex's specialty is in the often misunderstood but highly profitable development-stage microcap sector. Focusing on young, aggressive, innovative biotech and technology firms from the U.S. and Canada, Alex has built a track record most Wall Street hedge funders would envy. Alex contributes his thoughts and insights regularly to Wealth Daily. To learn more about Alex, click here.
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