Innovation is the Key to Sustaining Sustainability

Heshmat, H. “Innovation is the Key to Sustaining Sustainability” IMECE2010-37432, Proceedings of ASME IMECE, November 12-18, 2010, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Volume 5, pp. 1259-1270.

Economic survival and sustainability in the increasingly interconnected global community during the 21st century and beyond will require new and innovative technologies supported by subsequent continuous product improvements that minimize the negative impact to the earth’s environment, resources and inhabitants. In the past several years, worldwide consumption of energy, through consumer products, industrial processes and transportation systems, has increased rapidly and has even given a whiff or glimpse of things to come in the not too distant future. As scarce resources become reality and global climate change accelerates, technological innovation must occur at a pace never before seen if we are to extend a new and sustainable lifestyle to more of the world’s inhabitants while also protecting our environment. Sustaining sustainability (i.e., the cycle of continually improving and introducing environmentally conscientious products) will require that we radically alter our myriad of energy consuming and producing systems through technological innovation. While every branch of engineering has its own impact on and contribution to the environment, it is in the energy consuming and producing technologies that considerable effort is needed. This paper will present several innovative oil-free systems designed to minimize deleterious emissions to the environment through higher system efficiencies and elimination of hydrocarbon lubricants. The discussion will also identify possible directions to foster innovation.

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