For several years, concern has been growing over the practice of shale gas extraction. Opponents contend that companies pump a witch’s brew of toxins into the ground and that all to often they find their way into nearby aquifers. In Canada, a major shale gas deposit has been discovered in the St. Lawrence lowlands of Quebec, and the area has become a hotbed of opposition to the industry. This weekend saw thousands of protesters converge in Montreal.
The world faces an enormous demand for energy, and climate change concerns means that it will have to come from sources not yet invented. One technology that’s looking promising is a new generation of photovoltaic solar cells, those made from plastic. Unlike the expensive, heavy and fragile existing silicon solar cells, plastic solar cells are light, cheap and flexible. Unfortunately, they only exist in laboratories right now. But there have been some breakthroughs.