Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
The arrival of electric vehicles onto a grid that is expanding its use of renewable power use provides many challenges for networking, communications, and resources management. Seasoned IT firms, viewing EVs as an integral part of the larger smart grid opportunity, are lining up to provide solutions that will enable renewable power and vehicles to help instead of hinder grid performance.
As referenced in my new research report for GigaOM IT and Networking Issues for the Electric Vehicle Market (subscription required), having companies like Cisco, IBM, GE and AT&T playing significant roles make sense because of their experience. Many of the challenges are strikingly similar to those faced when the Internet became a mainstream vehicle for business and commerce.
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
What makes energy start-ups succeed or fail? Are energy investments wise for venture capitalists? What will shape energy finance innovations and the adoption of the smart grid?
The 2009 Wharton Energy Conference will explore these questions and more October 30 in Philadelphia. CleanTechies is excited to serve as a media partner of this one-day conference and career fair.
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
Abu Dhabi is going far beyond its borders to build a zero carbon footprint city in Masdar. Clean technology leaders from across the global are helping to build Masdar City, which is being designed to use only renewable power and convert its waste to energy.
The innovative city of 40,000 will have no cars and recycle all of its waste, and is scheduled for completion in 2016.
An Australian firm, LAVA architects, recently won the bid to design the city center of Masdar with a European-style plaza.
America’s General Electric has a prominent role in Masdar, partnering with the Mubadala Development Company on financing programs and clean energy research. GE is also establishing an “ecoimagination” research center in Masdar.
Monday, September 21st, 2009
NPR’s On Point never disappoints, and their show with Christopher Steiner, author of $20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better was no exception. Steiner’s thesis is that as liquid hydrocarbons become all the more difficult to naturally extract and regulation makes them all the more costly to refine and use, prices will inevitably rise. At $20 a gallon, we might not recognize our lives…all for the better, says Steiner.
People will live and buy their locally-grown produce in mixed-use developments clustered around high-speed rail lines. In Steiner’s view, $6 a gallon is an inflection point that begins to redefine the way we live our lives. But, will innovation (or the US government) ever allow prices to remain at that level? Not according to Mark Mills, co-author of The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy.
Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
During the past weekend a team of CleanTechies made up of our staff members, friends and blog readers like yourself put our “Think Globally, Act Locally” philosophy into practice during Solarthon 2009. Our team of 15 people spent a partially rain-soaked Saturday to install a solar electric system on a low-income home in a Habitat for Humanity neighborhood located in Oakland, California. The team was organized by CleanTechies over the last month and its members were given the goal of raising almost $5,000 for the privilege of taking part in the event. All this effort was to support the ongoing efforts of a company we’ve raved about many times; GRID Alternatives.
GRID Alternatives is a non-profit organization making solar electric systems a reality for low-income homeowners who otherwise could not afford the systems. GRID does this through an innovative business model where they train volunteers to do everything from designing a system on a sheet of paper to mounting the final panel on a roof. With drastically reduced labor costs, a team of 10-15 volunteers can work slowly and steadily under the guidance of a GRID employee to deliver a complete system at almost half the cost of a typical solar system.
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
Iraqi officials have endorsed a plan to convert dates into biofuel, an innovative project they hope will boost a once-thriving agriculture economy burdened by years of drought, government sanctions and war.
A United Arab Emirates-based company will produce bioethanol from the dates that farmers can no longer use because they are rotting, said Faroun Ahmed Hussein, head of Iraq’s date palm board.
The nation produces about 350,000 tons of dates annually, but consumes only about 150,000 tons.
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
The creation of a smart grid of energy producers, distributors and consumers will undoubtedly be at the center of a sustainable future. Similarly using information and communications technology (ICT) to extend the benefits of urban living to outlying areas will become a much larger business opportunity.
Cisco is one company envisioning that the same principles of sustainability that will reshape the power grid will also be applied to essential services including health care, education, and municipal services.
IBM, AT&T, GE and Siemens also have designs on capturing a share of this market.
Monday, September 14th, 2009
With steady growth in wind power capacity each of the last five years, China is expected to pass the United States as the fastest-growing market for wind installations this year. But this may only hint at the potential for wind energy in China, according to a new study published in the journal Science.
After modeling China’s wind availability and profitability, researchers from Harvard University and Tsinghua University in Beijing calculated that wind resources, particularly in the country’s northern and western regions, could meet all of China’s electricity demands until at least 2030.
Thursday, September 10th, 2009
U.S.-based First Solar has signed an agreement with the Chinese government to build the world’s largest photovoltaic power plant in Inner Mongolia. By 2019, the plant is expected to produce 2,000 megawatts of electricity, which the company said would be sufficient to power three million Chinese homes.
The deal for the 16,000-acre plant, to be located in Ordos City, solidifies China’s position as the global leader in developing renewable energy, and further boosts the prospects of First Solar, the world’s largest photovoltaic cell manufacturer.
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
By Jonathan Williams
During this past summer, the world has seen multiple advances in the alternative energy field, particularly with algae biofuels. A week hasn’t gone by where I didn’t receive several press releases in my inbox highlighting the latest advances by one of the many algae companies out there.
However, while press releases look and sound good, nothing highlights the advances of a company, if not the entire field, than the announcement of a multi-million dollar partnership with a larger, well-known, and respected entity.
During this summer we saw just that, with multiple algae companies announcing their partnerships with larger corporations or entities.
To give you a brief overview on these partnerships, first came Algenol with their partnership with Dow Chemical researching algae as an ethanol fuel source. Next came Seambiotic with their announcement that they will be partnering with NASA to develop a jet fuel from algae. Most recently, and probably most importantly, was Exxon Mobil’s $600 million partnership with Synthetic Genomics to conduct extensive research on algae biofuels.