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How To Combat Energy Shortages – Forbes.com

November 2, 2008
  • tags:Lux Executive Summit,renewable energy,

    • In Lux Executive Summit in Cambridge, Mass., held last week, a passel of energy experts talked about emerging technology trends in renewable energy. Some of the ideas were truly mind bending: hydrophobic screens that allow air to pass through while water rolls off a dense network of nanostructures; wirelessly powered, rechargeable batteries; inventions that turn waste into electricity; and drinking water for pennies
    • The Lux conference featured 50 speakers, including inventor Dean Kamen, tech guru Bob Metcalfe and former presidential candidate John Kerry.
    • Metcalfe, a venture capitalist and co-inventor of Ethernet technology, contended that the research universities are the key to our country’s success in solving the energy crisis, as well as competing teams of research professors, scaling entrepreneurs and venture capitalists
    • Roger Duncan, general manager of public utility Austin Energy, described how 22% of new homes built within the next year in Austin will conform to the standards of the firm’s "green" building program. The homes are designed to consume "net zero energy" by 2015–which means that with the addition of solar panels, they should not need any additional power from the grid. He also railed against administrations of the past 20 years–including the Clinton administration–for kowtowing to the oil industry.
    • Kerry  blamed the auto industry for turning a blind eye to the need to reduce U.S. dependence on oil–and conceded that the U.S. will need to continue drilling for the foreseeable future.

    • Dean Kamen, inventor of the portable dialysis machine, insulin pump, the Ibot chair and the Segway, and president of the research and development firm DEKA, figures the U.S. can be saved by scientific inspiration. He showed off pictures of some of his latest inventions: DEKA’s Stirling Cycle Engine that boasts a peak generating capability of 15 kilowatts, weighs less than 300 pounds and runs on cow dung; and DEKA’s "enhanced distillation" machine that takes anything "wet" and produces water, which Kamen says exceeds the U.S. standards for drinking water. Kamen hopes this device will help bring water to remote villages.
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