GEOPOLICHIPS #4: Will the next war be fought for control of semiconductors?

TSMC – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation – now fabricates the best computer chips available at any price, transforming Taiwan into a prize that China needs in order to continue its rise as an economic and military superpower.

To service the growing demand for semiconductors, South Korea has committed nearly $200 billion.

TSMC is planning on investing at least $100B over the next four years.

GEOPOLICHIPS #3: How did America lose the semiconductor race?

For sixty years, Intel made the best chips in the world. As of 2020, they no longer do – and a company you’ve likely never heard of now holds the chip-making crown.

One of the key events reported in this episode concerns the firing of Intel Chief Engineering Officer Murthy Renduchintala after the chip maker announced delays in development of its all-important 7-nanometer semiconductors.

Not long after that, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich stepped down.

Episode 5.03 – Series 5 Predictions: Can we make friends with a superpower China?

Prediction: Our long-running low-level spats with China are the new normal, the Chinese superpower rubbing up against the regional power of Australia.

Series 5 continues with some predictions on geopolitics in this decade, when America and China swap positions, and political power tilts eastward.

THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 6: The Next Billion Passengers

Apps have turned us into ride-sharing, route-planning, ‘micromobility’ experts. We’re all passengers now, with more options than ever before.

LEK Partner Mark Streeting is an expert in ‘mobility-as-a-service’, a new term for the kind of seamless end-to-end transportation pioneered by Uber…

LEK’s Mark Streeting advises businesses & governments on ‘mobility-as-a-service’

Special correspondent Drew Smith spoke with ZipCar co-founder Robin Chase about how the city has been defined by cars – and what it means to move past that into the age of passengers.

Robin Chase, co-founder of ZipCar

And co-host Sally Dominguez found an intriguing Chinese startup – Grove Hydrogen Automotive – building hydrogen-fuel-cell powered vehicles and offering them to drivers on a ‘subscription’ basis – as a path toward jump-starting hydrogen fueling infrastructure throughout the nation.

A gull-winged Grove Hydrogen Automotive subscription vehicle.

THE NEXT BILLION CARS Episode 3: The Next Billion Volts

Tesla drove electric vehicles from impractical to inevitable. Powertrains will soon feature a mix of hydrocarbons, hydrogen – and batteries.

Co-host Sally Dominguez toured China in a hydrogen-fueled Mercedes:

Sally felt as though she might have been driving a small hydrogen bomb around rural China…
But at least it wasn’t one of these clown cars! (Well, ok, so it is…)

The history of the automobile isn’t exactly the history of petrol – even if that’s what Carl Benz used in his internal combustion engine, there have always been lots of alternatives, including the Stanley ‘Steamer’:

1912 Stanley ‘Steamer’ (photo credit: Stephen Foskett)

The London Electrobus Company pioneered electric public transport over a hundred years ago – promoting itself as the cleaner alternative on London’s dirty streets:

London Electrobus (circa 1908)

Automobiles can even run on compressed air, as in the TATA/MDI OneCat:

(Photo credit: Deepak Gupta)

Special correspondent Drew Smith talks to automotive design legend Mate Rimac about what it takes to design electric automobiles.

(Photo credit: El Monty)


Episode 2.02: Power Tools with Ramez Naam

Solar power cost $100 per kilowatt hour when energy futurist Ramez Naam entered the world. Last year, the UAE signed a 20-year contract for solar power at a four thousandth the cost. For Ramez Naam it’s no longer a question of if renewables, it’s a matter of when: the data proves it. Energy has been mixed with politics from the beginning – so over the next billion seconds, how do we talk ourselves out of our coal culture and into a sustainable future? Ramez Naam makes a convincing case for a future where we profit from the sun.

Here’s an excerpt:

 

There are some amazing things happening in the renewable energy space, as shown in this chart about a typical week of energy generation in South Australia:

Ramez gives a lot of talks about energy futures, here’s a recent one given in South Africa – a nation with some energy problems…

Ramez has also written a series of blog posts on the energy future – the first is linked here

Finally, here’s that infamous photo of Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison, on the day they passed a lump of coal around in Parliament:

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