The dream of most every nation: Energy Independence
The basic forms of energy
One can begin by studying each form of energy and by asking the questions, "How can we tap this energy more effectively?" There are seven basic forms of energy: Kinetic, potential, thermal, gravitational, sound, elastic and electromagnetic.
These manifest as useful energy in the following ways:
1. Fire: Solar
2. Fire: Burning oil (fossil fuels), gas, methane, wood, cellulose, and coal
3. Air: Wind
4. Water: Rain (rivers): Hydroelectric
5. Water: Ocean currents (Gravitational)
6. Earth: Geothermal
7. Electrical (Lightning)
9. Nuclear: Fission and fusion
10. Zero-point energy
There are many very speculative efforts underway. One of the most speculative groups is looking way beyond the boundary conditions of currently accepted science.
A little introduction. In the late '50s David Bohm, a distinguished physicist from the University of London, Birbeck College, wrote the book, Causality & Chance in Modern Physics. He was the first to calculate the amount of random quantum energy within a cubic centimeter of space.
Bohm said that he estimated it to be equivalent to fourteen atomic bombs like the Little Boy of Enola Gay used on Hiroshima. Mind you, that is in every cubic centimeter of space which is a little smaller than end of your pinky finger or a dice.
When questioned about it, Bohm pointed to the 1913 work of Einstein-Otto Stern (a pop-up window). And now, the Jovion Corporation of both Menlo Park, California and Boulder, Colorado has been awarded a patent based on these concepts.
Although held in disdain my the general academic community, these wonderfully-adventuresome people pursue a dream. They know the physics community has failed to solve important riddles. Once these folks begin to harvest this very nascent energy, entirely new parameter sets in physics will be introduced.