Saturday, May 7, 2011

What role can engineers play to ensure a greener world in the next 125 years?

“I miss you” said the sweet voice. Sara jumped into Sam’s arms and gave him a kiss. 


“1600hrs, March 12th 2136. All systems go” responded Captain Samuel. “G’day mate! This is Sydney control. Air locks sealed, vacuums engaged. Friction low. Temperatures dropping.” The twenty section train, each jumbo jet sized, started to levitate, effortlessly gliding into the underwater tunnel 20 meters below the harbor. Captain Samuel glanced down. The koala bear toy reminded him of little Sara.

“Hi daddy, today mummy took me to SkyZooTM. I saw koalas and kangaroos! Then we went to SkyFarmTM on level one-hundred-sixty-five. I had strawwwberrries! There were cowwwws and chickins and feeshhhess! Mummy bought carrots. Mummy wants to use the video now…” 

Beneath the waves, the huge tunnel branched off the gas fields off Northern Australia and into South East Asia. Abandoned platforms adorn the calm sea, reminiscent of an age foregone. Few recyclable FLNG vessels, floating giants, still remain, still squeezing remnants from the hydrocarbon era. 

“4000mph” read the speedometer. “This is control Singapore. E.T.A. five minutes.” Here, a revolution started, rendering waste to drinking water plants essential to every sustainable city. Tradition goes: Engineers drank the first glass of recycled water! The behemoth train stopped gently. A few carriages swung free and new carriages were attached. Within minutes, the hypersonic train was forging towards India with new passengers and millions in cargo. 

The pristine azure Andaman Sea danced the sunlight underwater. Here, fishermen and ecoresorts carry on their livelihoods, powered by cheap, mass producible thin film OPVs. Chennai was closing in fast while Sam made an iVisorTM call…

 …Connecting via SupercondTrackTM network…
…Internet connection established…
 …Thank you for choosing U2 TM …
…Go green, internet from any U2 TM broadband powerline…
 …Charging via SuperTrackPowerTMWireless…
 … U2 TM, broadband, energy, logistics and U… 

“Hi Sam. Say hi to daddy, Sara.”

 “Hi dear, how was your HologramMeetingTM today?”

 “Exhausting. My engineering team managed to reach an agreement to start operations in South America. Meeting with lawyers, government officials and economists, we convinced them that this project will rejuvenate the environment and their economy. Now about our vacation...” 

Samuel took a quick sip of SmartCoffeeTM and in five minutes, Sri Lanka was a hundred miles ago. SmartTM packaging is range of time controlled memory materials used in everyday products. In the bin, the material gradually return into plastic spheres, easily separated, stored and remolded. 

Passing Mumbai reminded Sam about the methane economy. Pioneered by innovative engineers, and rewarded by engineering institutions, low cost anaerobic wastewater treatment facilities now produce methane and fertilizers for cities worldwide whilst recycling water inland, thereby keeping the oceans pollution free.
On both shores of the Red Sea, perpetual solar panel factories thrive. Using energy from existing panels, the factories “breed” more solar cells from desert sand. As far as the eye can see, oceans of green glass tubes, towering algal bioreactors, provide the most efficient means of extracting negative emission hydrocarbons and animal feed. Solar power and algal production will keep growing. Mirror processes around the world’s deserts, now integrated into a continuous network, power the global economy, sunrise to sunrise. 

“Next Station: Cairo.” 

Fifty tons of old tires we offloaded, all destined to be melted down in the solar furnaces. Combined with glass from the factories, they make the neutrally buoyant composite subsea train, internet and power tunnels eco-friendly while being cost effective. 

“…Perhaps someplace in Greece? The sun, the beach and real seafood. We can stop at Athens…”
 As the train sped across the Mediterranean, Sam recalled the first time he tasted real fish. Not surprisingly, reconstituted protein from plants, bacteria, fungi and insects made the staple diet of the world’s inhabitants for the past fifty years. They were not as tasty, but much cheaper and greener than livestock to feed the billions. His taste buds tickled as Spain and the junction to America zoomed by the horizon.

 …Somewhere in Europe… 

Sam ended his shift. Although he travelled half the world, he left no carbon footprint. In fact, he never left the station. Above, hundreds of drivers keep freight, people, energy and information in motion via remote control. Sam picked up the little koala toy. He headed out, walking towards the silhouette of the two people in the world he love the most.

 “I miss you daddy” said little Sara as she jumped into Sam’s arms, giving him a little peck on the cheek.


Jacquelyn Ho said...

You deserved to win :)

Congrats! Hehe

Kokd said...


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