The Royal Society of Chemistry reports that US researchers have developed an efficient way of producing hydrogen from urine – a feat that could not only fuel the cars of the future, but could also help clean up municipal wastewater.
Using hydrogen to power cars has become an increasingly attractive transportation fuel, as the only emission produced is water – but a major stumbling block is the lack of a cheap, renewable source of the fuel. Gerardine Botte of Ohio University may now have found the answer, using an electrolytic approach to produce hydrogen from urine – the most abundant waste on Earth – at a fraction of the cost of producing hydrogen from water.
Everyone loves predicting the future. It offers endless possibilities of fantastical technological inventions and advances. When will there be flying cars or time travel? Filmmakers and fiction writers concoct extraordinary tales that capture the attention of mass audiences time and again.
So when several of the world’s top scientists met at the kickoff event of a collaboration between IBM and the University of Southern California to explore the intersection of creative arts and science and technology, it was only natural for them to foresee how technology would affect life in 2050.
As one might expect, the predictions created quite a buzz. Suggestions included that supercomputers will soon become handheld devices; clean water and energy will be available to the entire world, and personal pharmacies built into the human body will administer medicine based on data from internal sensors.
Seem like a bit much? Think back to a world 20 years ago when the Internet was used only by the military and computers were the size of a large living room.
IBM scientist Don Eigler suggests that by 2050 we will have laptops with 100,000 times more horsepower than a state-of-the-art machine today. “What would you do with it?” he asked the audience. “We’ll find new ways. I just can’t think of any today.”
Read Dan Farber’s report in CNET.