[Our scene is set some decades in the future.]
Turn out those lights, Billy, you’re wasting electricity!
So? Electricity is free and green.
Are you on drugs, Billy?
Silly Grandpa, seems we have this conversation every day.
Who are you? Didn’t I used to date your mother?
Billy is right, Grandpa, electricity is almost free, and green.
Pull the other one while you’re at it. Solar never comes down in cost enough for people to use it, and those great wind farms with their fields of huge propellers cost a pretty penny as well. You can’t have both cheap and green.
Oh, yes we can! All thanks to Shawn Frayne.
It’s the crack, isn’t it, Billy? You can tell your old grandpa.
Show him the video, Dad.
Right, son. Watch this, Grandpa, it will explain everything.
What the hell does that have to do with cheap and green energy? That’s just the gosh darned Tacoma Narrows Bridge tearing itself apart way back in the 20th century.
But Grandpa, now it’s possible to harness all the wind energy in that galloping bridge.
But without the fields of turbines!
Sure, just wait around for the wind to set some bridge fluttering, and harness the energy. You’re both on drugs.
Fortunately, as inventor and 2021 Nobel Laureate Frayne discovered way back in 2007, the principle scales down very effectively. In fact, he was looking for something that would work well in less developed nations, something cheap and easy to maintain that would generate a little juice for lights, radio, that sort of thing. Little did he realize he would set off a world wide revolution in power generation which would change everything in nations both rich and poor. But why don’t I let him explain it himself.
I just love those old newsreels.
So what? They were stupid then, and they’re just as stupid now. I suppose next you’ll be illustrating a point with that old Hindenburg clip.
No, no point. Here it is purely gratuitously.
I’m going to invent a cheap source of energy from exploding hydrogen balloons!
Okay, son. Just try not to burn the house down.
Okay, he’s not on drugs. But maybe he should be.
Enjoy our little play? Unfortunately, the article on which it’s based is a little short on detail, so I don’t know how revolutionary Frayne’s invention actually has the potential to be. But the simplicity of it is breathtakingly beautiful, one of those things where one wonders why no one thought of it before.
And I wonder as well how much energy could be recovered from all our heating and air conditioning vents alone — enough to power a heater or air conditioner? Frayne may be thinking small, but the implications are definitely big.