Could another civilisation have founded another source of energy besides electricity or is it the only source?


Maybe a dumb question. I don’t know much about these but I googled this and could not find anything.

We rely most things on electricity. If there was another civilisation who never discovered electricity, could they accomplish the same things we did with another sort of energy source on earth?

Edit: thanks everyone for that you somehow made this art student understand this topic. you rock

In: Technology

Electricity is not a source.

It is just a way to move power around.

The source is coal, nuke, wind or whatever.

Electricity is not a source of energy, it is a form of energy. It is the so to say the most premium form of energy we know because it can be tranformed into any other form of energy that we like. It can be easily transported but not easily stored and it’s production has a lot of ‘overhead’, which means when we use lower forms of energy to transform them into electricity we lose a lot of the energy, that makes electricity the most expensive form as well. But it is only one form of energy that we find the most useful so far. There is chemical energy, heat energy, compressive energy, kinetic energy and many more that we use for specific purposes where they are more useful than electricity.

I guess it would be imaginable that a civilization does find other forms of energy more useful that electricity. If for example a electrical conductors were exceptionally rare we might not be able to transport electricity that easily and another form, like gas, would be more viable, we did use a vaste gas distribution system before electricity was around, and it worked alright.

i believe there’s a lot of stuff we don’t know.

we didn’t even know the existence of radio waves until a little more than one hundred years ago and today we use trillions of those suckers every day to transmit data to phones.

Some amish communities have power tools that run on compressed air generated from gas powered pumps. Compressed air is just as good as electricity for tools but completely incapable of a bunch of the other things electricity does, and their concern is generally with technologies they fear would weaken community cohesion, so a way to transfer power that can run a power tool but not a TV ia great for them. Ultimately, electricty wasn’t chosen at random, it was chosen because it was the best option. But there are other, worse options that do work.

A lot of folks here have already pointed out that electrical current is not an energy source, it’s a mode of transmission.

The planet earth has only two categories of energy sources: solar power and fission. All forms of energy that we use on earth derive from those two sources.

Fossil fuels, for example, are solar energy stored in chemical form by ancient life.

We use electrical currents to transmit energy due to its dispatch efficiency and easy conversion to useful work. It’s easy to turn electrical current flows on and off and the electrical grid itself stores minimal energy. We can (and do) transmit energy a lot of other was. Natural gas is piped and used as an energy source for heating and cooking.

Electrical current’s ability to be switched on and off easily, combined with the ability of many solids to transport current, means it is useful for computing. But remember that circuitry isn’t the only way to do computing. Biological systems have tremendous computing power and logical systems that are challenging to replicate in silicon.

Computers struggle to walk, drive cars and ID objects. They still can’t investigate unknowns well or form hypotheses. Hell, most of the time I’m better and faster at doing quantum energy calculations by dead reckoning than my DFT software.

In a world where metal and silicon smelting would be difficult (like an entirely aquatic world), you could imagine accomplishing a lot of tasks we use electricity for by chemical, biological or compressive means.

Edit: typos, verb agreement