Faith in American Technology24 November 2009 | By LowellB in Economy, Lowell, TN Blog, Uncategorized
Every now and then I see news stories that remind me of what was once called “Yankee ingenuity.” Yankees are pretty rare these days outside that baseball stadium in the Bronx, but I do think humankind’s technological capacities are something we’re not thinking enough about.
For example, amid all the discussion about how to reduce our dependency on carbon-based fuels, stories like this one come out and remind me that we really could solve the problem if we made it more of a priority to do so. Consider the story’s lede:
Talk about a Eureka moment. Scientists at Sandia National Labs, seeking a means to create cheap and abundant hydrogen to power a hydrogen economy, realized they could use the same technology to “reverse-combust” CO2 back into fuel. Researchers still have to improve the efficiency of the system, but they recently demonstrated a working prototype of their “Sunshine to Petrol” machine that converts waste CO2 to carbon monoxide, and then syngas, consuming nothing but solar energy.
Well, how about that? Is it really so far-fetched to think that such efforts could produce serious game-changing breakthroughs if we devote enough resources to them? Considering what we got out of the U.S. Space Program in the 60s and 70s, I don’t think so.
Nuclear power — long considered environmentally hazardous — is emerging as perhaps the world’s most unlikely weapon against climate change, with the backing of even some green activists who once campaigned against it.
Maybe we need to have more faith in our ability to solve the energy problem – whether one considers that problem one of excessive dependence on unstable or unfriendly suppliers, or excessive emissions from carbon-based fuels.