Segments in this Video

Energy on the Edge—Introduction (02:59)


Jason Bateman gives a brief history of the electrical generator and turbine. Engineers at GE work on jet engine turbines. Fossil fuels are the primary method of spinning turbines for power; we need new methods and new fuels to avoid an energy crisis.

Tornado Power (06:06)

Louis Michaud explains his atmospheric vortex engine—an idea to harness the power of tornadoes and vortexes for power generation. See footage of a prototype vortex engine in action.

Solar Reserve (03:51)

Kevin Smith and Brian Painter of Solar Reserve explain the technology and theory behind the construction of the world's first Concentrated Solar Power plant. The CSP uses mirrors to harness the sun's energy and uses it to heat salt for use in a steam power generator.

Harnessing the Sun's Rays (02:23)

Painter talks about the power generation at Crescent Dunes and how it is an inexhaustible source of energy; 10,000 mirrors reflect sunlight onto the concentrating tower.

Geothermal Power (04:05)

Iceland is pioneering the way toward harnessing geothermal power for citizens. Omar Fridleifsson talks about drilling into the Earth to harness energy from underground heat.

Success by Failure (06:14)

Fridleifsson talks about the unexpected success of IDDP-1 and the objectives of repeating that success with IDDP-2. Jeff Karson and Robert Wysocki perform experiments with molten rock to discover how magma and water interact. Fridleifsson talks about the seismic consequences of geothermal drilling.

Fusion Energy (06:27)

Tammy Ma discusses the mission of the National Ignition Facility and the search for fusion power. The NIF is attempting to use lasers to ignite a fusion reaction.

No Ignition (01:49)

The team at NIF learned several things from a failed ignition experiment. Each failed attempt at fusion ignition brings the experiment closer to success.

Turning Waste into Power (04:49)

Dogfish Head Brewery invests in a pioneering method to convert waste water into power. Eric Fitch speaks about his idea to use the wastewater as a resource for power generation.

Power Breakthrough (04:27)

Fitch struggles to get the biofuel system to work. He uses trial and error to solve problems in the system and succeeds in sealing a water filtration system. Turbines and power generators sustain our way of life.

Credits: Energy on the Edge (00:40)

Credits: Energy on the Edge

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Energy on the Edge

Part of the Series : Breakthrough
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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Everything that we do to move, live, work, play, create, and survive, is sustained by spinning a wheel. Whether engines in our cars, or whirling turbines generators in a power plant, spinning the wheels of civilization requires fuel. We've long relied on fossil fuels, but the supply is finite and the environmental costs of burning them are growing. Enter a new generation of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs who are looking to the edge of discovery for new ways to keep these wheels in motion. There is enough energy trapped inside a single glass of water to power a major metropolitan city for a day, and experimental physicists believe they're close to unlocking it. In the sun drenched deserts of Nevada, clean energy pioneers are building a billion-dollar experimental plant that can generate solar energy even when the sun isn't shining. In a remote region of Canada, technology built in an inventor's garage may even harness the awesome power of artificially created tornados.

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL138010

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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