RICHLAND, Wash. -- By the year 2008, drinking water will be safer, lighter weight cars will get 80 miles to a gallon and food crops will be engineered genetically to require less pesticide and fertilizer.
In its first environmental technology forecast, a team of researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has identified the 10 most important technological breakthroughs that will lead to a cleaner environment while providing major benefits to consumers over the next decade. Technologies that help prevent problems before they arise surfaced as a major theme.
"Our team members represent decades of experience on national and international environmental issues including global climate change, environmental technology development and remediation of major waste sites worldwide," says Gerry Stokes, associate laboratory director at Pacific Northwest. "Dreams and demos now, these technologies will have real impacts by 2008."
This is the first of an ongoing dialogue to forecast the direction environmental science and technology is heading in the 21st century, according to Stokes. "Our hope is to provide this look ahead on an annual basis to help enhance public understanding and government decision making," he says.
Pacific Northwest researchers ranked the top 10 environmental technological breakthroughs for 2008 as: Agrogenetics--Genetic engineering and plant manipulation will reduce agricultural impacts on the environment. Growing crops will require less pesticide due to greater resistance to pests. Other crops will be engineered to use their nutrients efficiently, requiring less fertilizer or water while providing higher yields. And, crops with several new features -- such as soybeans that taste better, use less fertilizer and resist pests -- will be available.
Smart water treatment--Smart membranes, or filters, will improve water treatment
at sewage plants and municipal water suppl
Contact: Greg Koller or Dawn White
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory