Based on the rash of predictions for cleantech in 2010 from investors, consultants and media (see the full list at the end of this post), I’ve pulled together a “trend of trends” list below that attempts to synthesis the broader, over-arching themes. As always, I’m amazed that water isn’t on the top of every list, every year, although there are some positive signs on that front. So here are the 12 things that filtered to the top: (more…)
In the slums of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya, about 1 million poor people pay up to 30 times more for water of dubious quality brought to them in old tanker trucks than middle-class citizens pay for clean and safe water provided by the local public water utility via standard household connections.
Some may be shocked by these disturbing disparities in the developing world, but a lack of access to safe, affordable and clean water is also an issue in California, particularly in the Central Valley and along the Central Coast. In these communities, more than 90 percent of drinking water is sucked from contaminated groundwater sources. All told, more than 150,000 California residents lack safe water for drinking, bathing and washing dishes; even more have water service disconnected because they cannot afford to pay their bill.
Earlier in the week, Jonathan Axelrad, Co-Chair of this past weekend’s Jewish Response to the Energy Challenge (J-REC) conference held in San Francisco and broadcasted through out the United States and Israel, was asked if a “Jewish response to energy” wasn’t as superfluous as the Korean response to hurricanes.
As one of the few, if not only, gentiles I began the morning a bit skeptical, though after a day of thought provoking lectures and panels, I feel it was not another superfluous conference, and the concept of a concerted Jewish response could indeed be the seed of a terrifically successful piece of the large puzzle that will be the energy (and consumption) solution of the future. The core ideas behind why I agreed with the many bright panelists and moderators for why there should be a particularly Jewish response is because of the interdisciplinary and international nature of the energy challenge, the acute water and related energy challenge within Israel, and the Jewish concept of tikkun olam (loosely translated from Hebrew: the pursuit of things that avoid social chaos).
Water agencies facing droughts and shortages of freshwater, such as in coastal California, have been turning increasingly to desalination this year.
However, current desalination methods can be expensive and energy inefficient. Watchdog groups prefer water conservation and efficiency efforts, and charge that tapping the oceans for potable water can pollute waterways and kill marine creatures.
A $17 million renewable energy project designed to tap into the earth’s heat more than 2 miles deep has been suspended because of difficulty drilling through rock formations.
The project, run by AltaRock Energy and partially funded by Google, was designed to drill down to about 12,000 feet, fracture rock at the bottom of the hole, and then circulate water to create steam.
But the company reported that it had encountered “anomalies” in the rock that had prevented it from drilling deeper than 4,000 feet.
Israeli solar energy companies such as Solel Solar, Aora, Ormat technologies, and a host of others are now world leaders in the development of sun power to produce electricity. But Israel, a small country of 7 million, with more than half its land area being desert, has been a solar energy pioneer virtually since its beginning in 1948.
What is now fondly known to many Israelis as a “dude shemesh” or sun boiler, was invented by a guy named Levi Yissar back in the early 1950’s, when electricity was very expensive due to a severe energy shortage.
Tonight, Imagine H2O will be hosting a Water Efficiency Ideation Workshop in Palo Alto, California. While this announcement might come at short notice to you, it’s worth considering participation.
When: Thursday August 20, 2009, 6:00-8:30pm
Imagine H2O is a non-profit organization that spurs entrepreneurship and investment in the water sector by running business plan prize competitions with an incubator program for water entrepreneurs. This year’s inaugural competition is a $50k prize for water efficiency businesses, and Imagine H2O is kicking this off with tonight’s event. The workshop offers entrepreneurs, innovators, and the public a chance to hear from customers of water efficiency products and services. You’ll be identifying water customers’ needs, brainstorming ideas and building teams.
The NATO Science for Peace Program and the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC) recently awarded grants to researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev to continue working on a novel desalination method. In a region where potable water sources are so scarce, these methods are crucial to water independence and reducing reliance upon imported water sources (which require a lot of fossil fuels).
The team, lead by Dr. Jack Gilron (Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research) and Professor Eli Korin (Department of Chemical Engineering), has developed a desalination method by reverse osmosis that exploits “the finite kinetics of membrane fouling processes by periodically changing the conditions leading to membrane fouling before it can occur.”
Update: This article has been modified since its initial publication. Please note that the report mentioned in this article is not a United Nations publication. More information about the authors and the report can be found here.
A major report issued by the United Nations Millennium Project has just been released. It finds that half the world appears vulnerable to social instability and violence due to increasing and potentially prolonged unemployment from the recession as well as several longer-term issues: decreasing water, food, and energy supplies per person; the cumulative effects of climate change; and increasing migrations due to political, environmental, and economic conditions. It also finds some good in the global financial crisis, which may be helping humanity to move from its often selfish, self-centered adolescence to a more globally responsible adulthood.
After 13 years of the Millennium Project’s global futures research, it is increasingly clear that the world has the resources to address its challenges. Coherence and direction has been lacking. But recent meetings of the U.S. and China, as well as of NATO and Russia, and the birth of the G-20 plus the continued work of the G-8 promise to improve global strategic collaboration. It remains to be seen if this spirit of cooperation can continue and if decisions will be made on the scale necessary to really address the global challenges discussed in this report.
The US Federal government released a major report this week. The report summarizes the science and the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. It focuses on climate change impacts in different regions of the US and on various aspects of society and the economy such as energy, water, agriculture, and health. The report is the work of 12 federal agencies including the EPA, DOD, DOC, NASA, and others. It’s written in plain language, with the goal of better informing public and private decision making at all levels.
The Key Findings of the report are: