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  • 2000 BCE

    Coal Discovered as Energy

    Coal Discovered as Energy
    It is estimated that around 2000 BCE, the Chinese were the first to discover the use of coal as energy. They used the coal for heating and cooking and later to smelt copper when the first coal mine, Fushun was created around 1000 BCE.
  • 500

    Wind-Powered Grain Mill Invented

    Wind-Powered Grain Mill Invented
    Around 500-900 CE, the Persians were the first to begin using wind-powered mills to grind grain and pump water for irrigation. This was known as a vertical axis windmill, which generated energy from wind to perform tasks.
  • The First Practical Steam Engine

    The First Practical Steam Engine
    The first commercial steam engine is invented by Thomas Newcomen in England. The engine derived power from steam which expanded through burning coal, to create mechanical power and turn wheels. This invention is largely credited with fueling the Industrial Revolution.
  • The First Electric Lightbulb

    The First Electric Lightbulb
    In 1802, Humphrey Davis was credited with inventing the first, basic electric light bulb. This invention was called the Electric Arc Lamp. It was the first incandescent light bulb created by connecting wires between two carbon rods, and passing a current through a platinum strip. It didn't produce light for an extended period, and contained other flaws, but was the first step in creating practical light bulbs by inspiring other scientists.
  • The First Commercial Oil Well: Drake Well

    The First Commercial Oil Well: Drake Well
    On August 28, 1859, the first commercial oil well, known as the Drake Well, began operating. Edwin Drake used a drilling rig to produce the first commercial oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Previously, petroleum could only be found in small natural seeps; however, the first successful oil well allowed it so that we could tap into large reserves of oil in the ground. This fueled the oil boom and allowed petroleum to be used as a practical energy source.
  • Solar Energy Discovered as Possibility: Photovoltaic Energy

    Solar Energy Discovered as Possibility: Photovoltaic Energy
    In 1876, William Grylls Adams and his student discovered that when exposed to light, selenium produced electricity. While he did not create the first solar panels, Adams was among the first to discover that light had the potential to be converted into electricity and is the reason that other scientists soon produced the first solar cells. This was known as the photovoltaic effect, which determined that it was not the heat from the sun that could produce energy, but the light itself.
  • Hybrid Electric Vehicle Invented

    Hybrid Electric Vehicle Invented
    The first hybrid electric vehicle was invented by Ferdinand Porsche and Jacob Lohner around 1900, and revealed at the Paris Exposition. The car was the first to use two kinds of power; a battery-operated motor and diesel to power an internal combustion engine. In other words, it used both the conventional engine in addition to electricity to power the car, which produced less pollution and energy consumption due to its greater fuel efficiency.
  • Hoover Dam

    Hoover Dam
    The Hoover Dam was commissioned in the 1930s to help overcome the Great Depression. It was built between Nevada and Colorado, and at the time was the largest dam in the world. It was a great energy feat as it created a source of hydroelectric power for the Southwest. That is to say, the dam created a way for the water to provide electric power for over 1 million homes-- a cleaner source of energy -- and also helped to control flooding and irrigation.
  • Hydraulic Fracking

    Hydraulic Fracking
    Modern hydraulic fracking began in 1947 after Floyd Farris conducted fracking experiments in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Farris used gelled gasoline and sand drilled into limestone to extract oil and gas. This created a new and highly efficient way to extract oil from underground -- making this form of energy more readily available and affordable. For a video on hydraulic fracking, click the link below: Link text
  • First Nuclear Power Plant Opens

    First Nuclear Power Plant Opens
    On June 27, 1954, in the Soviet Union city of Obninsk, the first nuclear power plant began operating. This power plant was grid-connected and the first to generate nuclear energy for the commercial, surrounding area. The power plant was a breakthrough in effectively using nuclear energy to supply electricity on a greater scale, and influenced other countries to develop their own power plants.