By Tom Cheyney, Small Times Senior Contributing Editor
May 18, 2007 -- The inaugural California Clean Innovation (CACI) conference
on what Caltech president Jean-Lou Chameau called "two vital segments
of the clean technology value chain -- energy and transportation." Some
300 people from the academic, industrial, government, and financial
communities attended the event on May 11 at the California Institute of
Technology, where discussion included micro- and nanotechnology
"We are in the midst of the biggest experiment of all time, and the
world won't be the same in 20 years. We have one time to get it right,"
warned Nate Lewis, one of the principal faculty at the Caltech Center for Sustainable Energy Research (CCSER), during his morning keynote, "Powering the Planet: A Global Energy Perspective."
outlined the environmental and economic pressures created by dependence
on carbon/fossil-based energy, the constraints imposed by attempts to
achieve sustainability, and the energy potential of renewable
carbon-free sources as well as the challenges inherent in exploiting
those resources economically on a scale to satisfy the world's
"We need as much carbon-free energy online in
the next 30 years as all the carbon and nuclear power combined," Lewis
explained. He then presented data on alternatives to fossil fuels:
nuclear, carbon sequestration, and renewables such as solar, biomass,
wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal.