more green technology a-blazin’!

In lieu of the status quo, what new technologies will be the top contenders against coal-fired power plants? No sectors will die out entirely (they’re all so neat!), but some will shine brighter… say, solar power? British Petroleum is picking up the slack and pouring money into this sustainable technology. Sustainable? Well, the costs of materials and energy-intensive production process have been depressing solar power.

Several months ago, radical departures form the standard volatic cell design emerged – my favorite was a spray-on polymer that aligned its molecules to conduct electricity from sunlight. For others, dive through the Technology Review issues of 2004.

Of course, technology works best in conjuntion with a support network. Just because there may be a patch of sunny-year-round grassy fields, it doesn’t mean electricity can be shipped efficiently enough without a proper power grid. Also from Tech. Review, May 2005; new superconductivity shortcuts include nanotube wires, with virtually ZERO resistance. Maybe wind farms will spring up in North Dakota like they’ve always wanted.

As for BP’s new solar program – it’s comforting when petroleum-intensive R&D makes room for green technology. But, one must always wonder, where is the line between greening and greenwashing?

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