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‘The future is about energy storage’-Mark Little, SVP & CTO, General Electric

According to reports, in the present context, concerns over carbon emission are prevalent in any corner of the world they operated, said Dr Mark Little, senior vice-president and chief technology officer of General Electric (GE) here on Tuesday.

Delivering the inaugural address at the fourth edition of EmTech India, organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Technology Review and CyberMedia, he said that they were focusing on making the world a better place through technology diversity.

At the event, Little spoke about innovation in the eyes of GE and added that their range of technologies, among other things, worked towards bringing down the driving cost of electricity. “By 2030, the electricity demand is set to double, while the global population will touch 8 billion.”

In the energy sector, a revolution was clearly sweeping across the globe, and solar and wind power are much more needed. Technologies like advanced turbine platforms, thin film technology are being employed by GE to increase the reliability and efficiency of the generated energy.

“In 2002, we didn’t have any wind business. Now, we are into that and trying to drive that technology, too,” said Little, “As we focus on back-up power for renewable, new sources of large reserves of oil, natural gas have already been identified, to reduce the carbon footprint. These fuel sources are here to stay.”

From Li-ion storage devices to short-term energy needs and compressed air devices, “we can even harness the heat from a chamber, where we could fill air. It is highly cost-effective.”

As for the back-up power for renewables , he also highlighted about their biomass gasification plans in India. “The future is about energy storage.”

Despite concerns, nuclear energy would continue to be a main source of electricity in many parts of the world. Said Little, “Especially, countries like China and India will be building more nuclear plants for their energy needs. We are also actively involved in local power generation… but high-voltage DC transmission is not on our portfolio.”

“In healthcare, cell therapy is going to grow in a big way. Imagine a future when you have to use your own stem cells to increase your immunity. We can reinject the cells into your body and help you recover faster. Our technology will power the research to progress faster,” explained Little.

He also bet big on digital pathology, in which a pathologist could diagnose through a digital image, instead of the conventional glass slide and microscope. It could also be sent across the globe for further analysis.

Some drugs, according to Little, might work only for about 20 per cent population all the time, but through molecular pathology, pharma companies could work on which patient needed what exactly. Through optics, statistical tools and bioinformatics, the means could be achieved, he said.

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