Vinod Khosla: Searching for the Radical Solution


2010-12-23 Scientific American 

Khosla Ventures:  Vinod Khosla's company has invested in 37 infotech companies and 53 clean-tech companies, including EcoMotors.

Khosla Ventures: Vinod Khosla's company has invested in 37 infotech companies and 53 clean-tech companies, including EcoMotors. Image: Courtesy of EcoMotors

Clean technology investor Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, talks with Scientific American editor Mark Fischetti about the energy payoffs to be had by reinventing mainstream technologies.
In Brief
  • Radical innovation, not incremental improvement, is needed to make clean, efficient energy technologies that can compete, unsubsidized, in big markets.
  • Mainstream technologies such as air conditioning and automobile engines may be the best targets for breakthroughs that change the energy game.
  • More people with Ph.D.s in technical disciplines are needed to create true breakthroughs. Students are beginning to flock to these areas.
  • A low-carbon-electricity standard, not renewable energy standards or cap and trade, would most encourage cleaner technologies, including fossil fuels.
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