Here in the U.S., Indie Energy (www.indieenergy.com) may be spearheading a growing trend toward geothermal energy, but this country has been leading the way globally for quite some time. A 2009 report by the U.S. Geothermal Energy Association (www.geo-energy.org) identified the United States as the world leader in geothermal energy capacity, with California and Nevada making up 97 percent of national activity. In May, the organization met with its geothermal-energy counterparts from around the world to form a superpower alliance: the International Geothermal Business Coalition (www.internationalgeo.org). In a joint declaration, the organization called upon “governments around the world to expand their efforts to utilize geothermal resources as an important part of the answer to global environmental, climate change, and energy security problems.”
A Step in the Right Direction
Pavegen Systems (www.pavegensystems.com) is hardly the only company trying to integrate piezoelectric technology into existing infrastructure. There are efforts to install energy-generating components in Israeli rail lines (Innowattech:
www.innowattech.co.il), Tokyo subways (East Japan Railway Company: www.jreastco.co.jp/e/), California highways (via state assemblyman Mike Gatto: asmdc.org/members/a43/), and nightclub dance floors (PowerLeap: www.powerleap.net).
On the more sci-fi end of the spectrum, a Georgia Tech professor, Zhong Lin Wang, is heading a research team looking into the potential of piezoelectric nanowires (www.nanoscience.gatech.edu/zlwang/). One possible application? Subcutaneous implants to harness electricity from the blood flowing through our veins.
Obscura Digital, the multimedia agency that just moved into new offices by IwamotoScott (www.iwamotoscott.com), was busy last month preparing for Coca-Cola’s 125th anniversary. For the event, the firm created a video and light show projected on four sides of the bottler’s towering headquarters in Atlanta (www.obscuradigital.com/work/detail/coca-colas-125th-anniversary). Earlier this year This American Life released a nineteenth-century version of the secret cola recipe, which host Ira Glass found in a 1979 copy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/427/original-recipe/recipe). A company tried making the brew, but it lacked both a major ingredient and important connections. To get fluid extract of coca, Coke has a special agreement with the Drug Enforcement Administration.