The Future Makers

An exciting snapshot of the emerging sustainable energy industry in Australia.

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Product name: The Future Makers

Reviewer: James Arneman

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It's a revolution taking place in the fog of the Daintree rainforest, the shallows of our coastal waters and in the desert heat of the Birdsville track.

Most importantly it's taking place in the hearts and minds of our leading researchers and developers.

This is the hopeful portrait painted by The Future Makers, a new documentary focussing on Australia's leading role in developing clean energy solutions for our troubled planet.

The film covers advances in solar cell, solar thermal, ocean power and 'hot rocks' geothermal technologies, all of which have vast potential as clean and renewable energy sources for the future.

After all the grim predictions about our environment it's refreshing to see the remarkable idealism that exists in this field.

All of the scientists featured are excited, and with good reason.

Their creations are on the verge of being adopted around the world, with the potential to radically reduce carbon emissions and stabilise the world's climate.

One of the more interesting ideas explored is that of biomimicry - using the forms and designs found in nature as inspiration for new technology.

Amazing footage of marine tests shows us tidal power devices that mimic the sway of plants on the ocean floor and the glide of a fish through the sea.

Both these inventions could become the basis of 'wave farms' with the capability of providing power for thousands of homes.

Out in the desert of South Australia we are introduced to the concept of geothermal energy, harvested by drilling deep into the Earth.

In essence these pioneers are using our sunburnt country's most barren and hot expanses to create energy that could power Australia for hundreds of years.

This is the sort of technology that has been considered science fiction for far too long.

The simple, logical explanations of these systems and the working prototypes shown suggest radical changes are just around the corner for the energy industry at large.

With so much hinging on the Rudd government's declaration of carbon emission reduction targets some time in December, this is a timely documentary for Australian viewers.

Without throwing its net too wide, The Future Makers succeeds in giving us an exciting snapshot of the emerging sustainable energy industry and the technologies that are being developed in our own backyard.

It's enough to make you feel hopeful and proud, perhaps even empowered.

Director: Maryella Hatfield

Screening on Discovery Channel in December 2008.

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