Innovations - February 15
Central bank digital currencies, clean tech advances and paralysis no more?
Central Bank Digital Currencies
"Private cryptocurrency is a huge threat to macro-economic stability and financial stability...investors should keep this in mind that they are investing at their own risk."
Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das ominously portended the impact of private cryptocurrency shortly after his government declared a 30% tax on income from cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. India’s finance minister believes that if the central bank issues a digital currency, it would potentially be a stabilizing factor for the digital company that would “lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system.” When India does launch its own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in its next fiscal year (April 2022 - March 2023), it will be joining China, Sweden, the Bahamas..and quite possibly Kenya.
An emerging clean energy option
Two-thousand and fifty, our global goal for net-zero carbon emissions, will come sooner than we realize. As clean energy production increases from wind, solar, geothermal, water and bioenergy, another source popped its head up again this past week - nuclear fusion. In their most recent experiment, scientists and engineers working at the UK’s Joint European Torus (JET) fusion reactor set a new global record for sustained nuclear fusion energy produced - 59 megajoules over a fusion ‘pulse’ of 5 seconds. The most recent JET experiment has “..taken us a huge step closer to conquering one of the biggest scientific and engineering challenges of them all..”
What to do with decommissioned wind turbine blades?
Clean tech may produce zero carbon emissions, but they do not produce zero waste. Take wind energy - power generated from large fiberglass blades cannot generate energy from the same blades forever. On average, these blades last up to 25 years and with many wind farms having started in the 1990s, we may very soon see a significant number of turbines ending up in landfills, which obviously is counterproductive to the green energy movement. To help frame the magnitude of the problem, each turbine blade is more than 150 feet in length and weighs more than a dozen tons - and there are more than 70K turbines in the U.S. alone!
Paralysis may soon not be forever
Nature Medicine recently published a report, detailing a clinical trial, led by neuroscientist Grégoire Courtine of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Dr. Jocelyne Bloch from Lausanne University Hospital, in which 3 people completely paralyzed below the waist were able to regain motor function and once again walked, swam, bicycled, squatted and even paddled canoes. Michel Roccati, a trial participant who lost his ability to walk in a 2017 motorcycle accident, described his initial experience after surgery - ““The first few steps were incredible – a dream come true!”