10 Energy Events That Changed the World

Posted by: Anna | 03/18/2014 at 03:13 PM

The way people view energy has changed dramatically over the last few centuries. Technological advances in the way power is used and produced have enabled the energy industry to grow by leaps and bounds.

View the infographic below for 10 key events that changed the energy landscape throughout history:

  • 1751 – Electricity’s Giant Leap – Armed with a kite, string and a key, Benjamin Franklin‘s experiments pave the way for future energy usage. Without Franklin’s ideas on electricity, numbers 2-10 on this list don’t exist.
  • 1839 – Fuel Cell Developed – Using hydrogen and oxygen, Sir William Robert Grove creates the first fuel cell. These are now used in everything from automobiles, trains, aircraft and submarines to cell phones, laptops and radios.
  • 1859 – First Successful Oil Well – Edwin Drake’s persistence kicks off an oil rush that sends wealthy businessmen dashing to break into the oil refinement business.
  • 1879 – The Incandescent Light Bulb – Thomas Edison’s improvement on the original light bulb produces the incandescent bulb. This invention was the first light bulb practical enough for home use, which is why this simple design is still used today.
  • 1886 – First Alternating Current (AC) System – William Stanley builds the first AC system and powers offices and stores located on Main Street in Great Barrington, MA.
  • 1887 – The Electricity-Producing Windmill – Professor James Blyth builds the first windmill used exclusively for electricity production in Glasgow, Scotland. It powered his home for over 25 years.
  • 1890 – Solar Power – French Scientist Henry Becquerel introduces the photoelectric effect, which paves the way for solar cells used today.
  • 1904 – First Geothermal Plant – Prince Piero Ginori Conti invents the first geothermal power plant in Tuscany, Italy at the Larderello dry stream field. This plant still produces energy today.
  • 1931 – Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Introduced – The Darrieus turbine, known as the eggbeater windmill, is patented by Frenchman George Darrieus. The design is still used today.
  • 1958 – U.S. Commercial Nuclear Energy – The first U.S. commercial power plant splits uranium atoms to produce energy in Shippingport, PA.

Infographic: 10 Energy Events That Changed the World

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