I can’t help but think egalitarian, revolutionary new energy technology conversion systems inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist Nikola Tesla was often frustrated, because he needed everyone to catch-up with his visions. I think historians also need to honor and credit this man with the title of renewable energy engineer, due to his thermodynamics prowess to understand the bigger picture need.

Perhaps if the advances made in metallurgy and materials science had kept up with him, even his renewable energy designs would have come into fruition much, much sooner.  With vision always focused on the future, perhaps solar electric/photovoltaics, geothermal steam plants, combined heat and power (CHP) and ocean energy thermal conversion (OTEC) would be more mainstream today if he would have had the advanced materials and finances at his disposal to fabricate his design drawings.

It sadly took until the 1980s for materials engineering/science metallurgy to catch-up, so the Tesla Turbine could be independently verified as Tesla predicted it would perform; not only as an engine, but a pump, as well.  And it took until the 1980s for OTEC plant research to come into reality. I find it utterly disheartening that he profited very little by so many of his discoveries e.g. radio, Tesla Turbine Engine using hydrogen as the fuel, combined heat and power applications, essentially capturing waste case from manufacturing entities and repurposing this waste heat.

I think what’s also quite enlightening is Tesla thought atomic power would be a dud and impossibly dangerous to control, especially in a near-future frame, understanding it would take an impossibly long time to control the sun’s reactions. Essentially, Tesla was mindful of (wo)man’s responsible stewardship of planet Earth. The man was all about pragmatism, energy efficiency and elegant solutions. He was a hope addict, indeed. Sad for us, humanity, that he ran out of time…

Reference: Chene, Margaret, Tesla: Man out of Time, Barnes & Noble Books. 1981.