Maybe the infamous “they” aren’t suppressing the technology, maybe we’re just plain lazy and apathetic.
I was surprised a couple of years ago when the idea to transform America’s highways into a huge solar grid (we touched on it here) didn’t get a lot more buzz. Regardless of the short-term costs and technical obstacles, repaving America with solar collectors is the stuff of forward-thinking infrastructure rebuilding dreams that could re-shape the global economy. Maybe that’s part of the problem. If you were someone who had hundreds of billions invested in the allegedly limitless oil reserves around the globe, why would you want to change the revenue model? But there’s probably no huge conspiracy to suppress technology, we’re probably just not paying attention. Which is why you may not have heard in the last year about cool ideas like the project at Ohio State where they figured out a way to harness the energy of coal without burning it, capturing 99 percent of the carbon dioxide produced in the reaction. Or how MIT created a light source that cools its surrounding environment rather than heating it. Or the technology that may soon make spray on solar panels commercially viable. Or kinetic sidewalks that capture the energy from our footsteps and convert it to electricity. I guess it’s no surprise that we don’t hear more about all this cool stuff; we are indeed pretty addicted to our fossil fuels. Even though it was Norway that came up with the clever idea of the poop-powered buses we talked about a couple of years ago, they’re still pretty passionate about the more old-fashioned sort of logs. In fact they’ll watch 12-hour shows about them.