graphene waste water treatment

From Lead Poisoning in Flint to Landfill Reclamation, It’s All About The Cost of Treating Water

The lead poisoning scandal in Flint, Michigan, highlighted that access to safe drinking water is not just an issue in the developing world. And as Reuters reports, “while poverty remains a potent predictor of lead poisoning, the victims span the American spectrum – poor and rich, rural and urban, black and white. An examination of lead testing results across the …

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What Use Is Nanotechnology?

Technology Review, besides being a great magazine edited by Jason Pontin, who I have known since the heyday of Red Herring, also puts on some great conferences. So I was excited and honoured to be invited to EmTech Spain, a two day conference in Malaga focussing on emerging technologies. Along with my World Economic Forum colleague Javier García Martínez of …

Innovation Starvation or Risk Avoidance?

While working on our report on Using Emerging Technologies to Address Global Risks, one of my favourite SciFi authors, Neal Stephenson, popped up with an essay on Innovation Starvation. It echoes Tyler Cowen‘s arguments that all the easy big stuff has been done,  and that all we have left to look forward to are incremental improvements rather than world changing …

What Is Technology For?

(Foreword to Using Emerging Technologies to Address Global Risks , October 2011) This is a question that often comes up in our dealings with global policy makers who spend huge sums on scientific research while simultaneously being fearful of its consequences. Many believe that it is somehow important for the economy in an undefined and non-quantifiable manner, or that it is some …

Cleantech in Melbourne: No Worries!

According to JP Morgan, flying to 21186 miles to Melbourne and back for a clean tech conference generated 5.63 tonnes of carbon dioxide, but unlike most conferences on this subject the hot air emissions were negligible. The Sir Mark Oliphant Cleantech: Mainstream and at the Edge conference was refreshing for the positive outlook on cleantech rather than the self flagellation …

Talking Cleantech In Melbourne

The Sir Mark Olifant Cleantech conference has been a lot of fun so far, from Eric Isaac’s opening overview of the the issues (and solutions) to Stefan Hajkowicz’s analysis of megatrends that will shape our future technology development. I’m still struck by how much cleantech seems to be focused in a few rather obvious areas, something which effectively prices a …

Strategic Geopolitical Trends – From Spooks to Nanotech

The UK Ministry of Defence released its latest ‘Global Strategic Trends – Out to 2040‘ study last month, and it’s a good read (even for non spooks) covering everything from terrorism to to climate change and their impact on geopolitics. The report identifies four key issues, Globalisation, Climate Change, Global Inequality & Innovation which will dominate the next thirty years. The …

The Future Will Be Battery Powered

An interesting battle is brewing over the hydrogen economy with the Obama administration doubting that fuel cells will make much of a difference over the next ten years to be worth funding and describing the decision as a reduction of “less effective programs so we can invest in our economic future.” Honda, Toyota & General Motors have grumbled bitterly about …