Friday, June 26th, 2009
The explosive growth of modern refrigerants, originally developed to replace ozone-destroying chemicals, could become a significant cause of global warming if they are not soon replaced by a new class of coolants, according to Dutch and U.S. researchers.
Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists said that hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – now used in most air conditioning in cars and buildings – are a potent greenhouse gas whose heat-trapping effects currently equal less than one percent of all CO2 emissions worldwide. But booming economic growth in the developing world and the rapid spread of air conditioning mean that by 2050 HFCs could cause at least 25 percent of human-induced global warming, the study said.
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
Detroit car makers would increase profits by $3 billion annually and significantly boost sales if they improve the fuel economy of their vehicles by 30 percent to 50 percent, according to a new study.
Conducted by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, the study found that a major reason for the precipitous decline of Detroit’s sales and profits in recent years was the refusal of the Big Three automakers to recognize the importance of fuel economy to consumers. That failure meant the steady loss of market share to foreign car companies whose vehicles got significantly better mileage, the study said. Had the Big Three paid attention to their own market research showing the importance of fuel economy, “they would not be in Chapter 11 today,” said a co-author of the study.
Monday, June 1st, 2009
HCL CleanTech Ltd., a biofuels start-up based in Tel Aviv, announced today a $5.5 million Series A financing led by Khosla Ventures, Burrill & Company, and angel investor Zohar Gilon.
HCL CleanTech has developed a proprietary technology to make an old, industrially proven German process converting lignocellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars economically attractive. According to the company, it is these fermentable sugars which are considered the gateway to advanced biofuels (biobutanols, biodiesel, jet fuel etc) and biochemicals (bioplastics etc). (more…)
Monday, June 1st, 2009
Two U.S. patent applications in clean technology have opened themselves up to community peer review.
The first patent application filed by General Electric and developed with support of the Department of Energy, seeks patent protection for a predictive algorithm that controls and optimizes power dispatch in a microgrid (Pre-Grant Publication no. 20090062969). Click to participate.
The second patent application, filed by Consolidated Edison of New York, seeks patent protection for a controller that schedules charging of hybrid vehicles on local electric grids (Pre-Grant Publication no. 20090062967). Click to participate.
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
If you haven’t heard about GRID Alternatives yet, you probably missed the fundraiser CleanTechies organized for this fabulous non-profit in March. The party was a lot of fun, and we raised over $4,000 for GRID Alternatives that evening. Now, there’s another fundraiser coming up that – and it promises to be another exciting party: There will be dozens of electric vehicles available for viewing and even test drives – including the Tesla Roadster, futuristic prototypes displayed by Stanford and PG&E, plug-in hybrid conversions, motorcycles, scooters, neighborhood electric vehicles and much more. Industry experts will be speaking about current trends in electric-powered transportation, such as:
Thursday, April 30th, 2009
Last night I had the dubious distinction of being the guy sitting next to former director of the CIA, Ambassador, and Undersecretary of the Navy (a post he held before I was born), and current Senior Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton and partner at Vantage Point Venture Partners, R. James Woolsey.
He has a fairly clear message that he is happy to share with anyone that will listen:
The United States is at grave risk to both “malignant” and “malevolent” disruptions to the grid and that threat can be addressed through distributed renewable generation which can simultaneously reduce the importance of oil to the ignominious fall from grace of salt.
I have had the pleasure of hearing him speak and spending some time with him before moderating last night’s event, and despite how highly I thought of him before, he did not disappoint. His is a decidedly aggressive approach to the US’ energy future, and like the well trained litigator he is, he presents his case very well. Electric vehicles and distributed renewables are the hallmarks of an utopian (utopic?) energy future, that would leave OPEC states reeling with the need to find, as he puts it, honest work, and reducing the disposable cash reserves some currently use to fund terrorist activities.
Thursday, April 30th, 2009
Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO of Better Place, the electric car infrastructure start-up, was named today to the Time 100, a list of the world’s most influential people.
This is the second year running that a leader of Israel’s cleantech industry has been named to the Time 100. Isaac Berzin, founder of GreenFuel Technologies and the Institute for Alternative Energy Resarch at IDC Herzliya, made the list in 2008.
Agassi was born in Ramat Gan, Israel and graduated from Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
Better Place has raised more than $300 million and is partnering with utilities and governments to install its electric vehicle infrastructure in Israel, Denmark, Australia, Portugal, Ontario, Hawaii, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Better Place’s primary R&D center is in Israel.
Monday, April 13th, 2009
In the midst of a crisis, insolvent car-builder Karmann is building several prototypes of an electric vehicle, reported the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag according to Manager-Magazin yesterday. The E3 will have a reach of 150 kilometers (93 miles) and a maximum speed of 140 km/hour (87 miles/hour), making it attractive not only for the city but also for commuters. The sport limousine will differ from other developer’s models – like the US-born Tesla Roadster and the Chinese BYD – in that its battery is not located in the interior compartment but in the undercarriage, according to the magazine. Karmann will be producing up to six prototypes for local energy provider EWE. The car will be presented at Hannover Messe at the end of April.
Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
I was catching up over breakfast with a friend yesterday morning at my favorite cafe* in San Francisco and from another corner we couldn’t help but overhear some chat about Tesla, battery storage and more… I tried to focus, but with ADD that can be tough.
Thursday, March 26th, 2009
Ironic that these pictures come out during lent.
According to the Bible (and the Torah and the Koran), you shouldn’t show the world you are suffering while you are fasting. It should be your own private affair.
Similarly, I don’t think you should wear your green “stripes” by driving around in an aesthetic train wreck (think Toyota Prius and Honda Insight), it is the equivalent of personal green washing to make up for your potentially otherwise extravagant lifestyle (sorry Sanjay, David, Josh… and all my other Prius buddies).