Cool Down

NACStech closer talks electric cars, wind tunnels

By 
Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

LAS VEGAS -- Architectural drawings of bicycle tunnels that propel bikers forward using natural wind as well as the parking lot at LAX where cars are hooked up to electric charges evoked a greener future as painted by NACStech closing speaker Bill Nye.

About 250 people at the closing session in Las Vegas listened as Nye, a television host for PBS and the Science Channel, talked about the dangers of global warming. He said the 0.01 change in the Earth's carbon-dioxide level "is changing everything," pointing out how the past 11 years have been the warmest in the history of [image-nocss] the planet--with 2010 being the warmest.

Bringing up the topic of electric cars, Nye said battery technology is improving to where a seven-hour charge up will soon be reduced to 30 minutes. He downplayed the notion that battery-powered cars can't travel as far on a full charge as a fuel-burning engine, saying that most drivers don't travel that far on a daily basis.

Still, he said jokingly, "If someone can figure out a better battery, [he or she] will be crazy rich."

Envisioning a role for the convenience channel going forward, Nye said, "Think of your customers as getting a jolt for the car and a jolt [of caffeine] for alertness."

Nye mentioned numerous developments in energy conservation: Bicycle tunnels that use naturally blowing wind to help propel bikers forward. Sky lights that direct natural sunlight even as the sun goes down. Solar panels that are currently 15% efficient at turning sunlight into energy. He mused that future inventions could mimic leaves of a plant, which are 80% efficient. Using bubbles to reflect light. He said the future could see ships that generate bubbles in an effort to reflect light and help cool the planet.

He challenged attendees to re-imagine the future, even in the face of obvious obstacles. Noting how bumble bees are technically not designed to fly, he said: "But I can tell youthat bumble bees can fly. The problem is not the bumble bee; it's the theory that's wrong."

angel abcede csp By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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