Not all ten are for hippies. For example:
Hug a Nuke
One of the big problems with nuclear energy is that, to generate power, you first need to enrich uranium. Enrichment is inefficient—some 92 percent of the original uranium gets cast aside as “depleted uranium.” Worse, once you start enriching uranium to make fuel, you can enrich it further to make material for bombs. But what if you could make nuclear power that didn’t need enriched uranium? What about a reactor that runs on depleted uranium? That’s the idea behind TerraPower. “We’ve shown it can work, through theoretical calculations and detailed computer simulations,” says Nathan Myhrvold, CEO of Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue, Wash., “invention lab” where the ideas behind TerraPower were hatched. Myhrvold was once chief technology officer at Microsoft, and his longtime friend, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, is among the investors in TerraPower. The company consults with a network of 120 nuclear-power experts, and the plan is to get a test reactor running by 2020. Likely countries include China, India, Russia, Japan, and France. “We’ve had talks with all of them in the last few months,” Myhrvold says. — Daniel Lyons
All ten ideas here.