Monday, October 13, 2008

The future is now...

I recently watched the Al Gore vehicle, An Inconvenient Truth and I must say it was better than expected. I mean the Vice President is kind of a dry dude so I think I was justified in being skeptical but I gotta say, it freaked me out, seriously the most terrifying diagrams ever.

So when thinking about future technologies, the green technologies that will help continue our existence on the planet would have to be sort of high on the list. The following is my short list of green technologies that will keep you from getting burned up like the dinosaurs:

1) Piezoelectric Tiles
Featured in the several of the finalists for the 2007 Next Generation Design Contest. These tiles would be placed in public spaces such as airports and other high traffic areas. They convert the pressure from a footstep into electricity using the same principles as a guitar pickup. How cool is that? They don't generate a ton of energy, but if you placed them in a high traffic area they could power all the lighting in a building. There is no silver bullet, so a combination of technologies like this could help ween our oil addiction.

2) Phytoremediation
This one is pretty sci-fi. The idea is to use plants to suck up soil contamination at Superfund sites and then use the plants as bio mass fuel. It has been in use in several places since as early as 2003. Combining this with genetic modifications of existing vegetation provides a powerful, non invasive method of cleaning up contaminated soil and water. How do you like dem apples?

3) Nuclear Power
A lot of people are on the fence about nuclear power, specifically what to do with nuclear waste. This is pretty reasonable, but we already have a strong understanding of the tech and its applications unlike hydrogen power or other solutions, we just need to work on that last step. I see something similar to phytoremediation, where some sort of organism is designed to break down the nuclear waste into more basic, less dangerous components. I see the future as a new nuclear age, but I think I may just want a flying car.

So there is my list. Whats yours?

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