In the future, utilities will pay you to plug in your vehicle. Millions will plug in their electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) at night when electricity is cheap, then during the day when energy is expensive, sell those extra electrons at a profit. Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology is a bi-directional electric grid interface that allows a plug-in to take energy from the grid or put it back on the grid. V2G helps solve the major problem that demand for electricity is high during the day when everything from industrial plants to air conditioning is running … Read more
Discussion of a "clean-tech bubble" has been going on for about two years and as fears of a recession set in, people in the field are starting to ask: how bad will clean-tech companies be hit, if at all, by a slowing economy?
Rob Day, a clean-tech venture capital at @Ventures, appears to have been first out the gate with a blog analyzing the potential impact of a recession, which has already helped take the wind from the sails of public solar companies.
Day lays out the possible scenarios, from increasing investment in clean energy to the floor … Read more
President Bush called for the creation of a clean-energy fund for developing countries in his final State of the Union speech on Monday, but energy policy took a back seat to other international and domestic issues.
Bush reiterated many of his previous policy priorities during the speech, including a call for funding of carbon capture technologies, nuclear power, and fuels that reduce the country's reliance on oil. An excerpt from the speech:
"To build a future of energy security, we must trust in the creative genius of American researchers and entrepreneurs and empower them to pioneer a new … Read more
Is it time for a "small revolution" in the world of renewable energy electronics?
Start-up Enphase Energy on Tuesday announced that it has landed $6.5 million in funding with the bulk of the money coming from Third Point Ventures.
The company makes a system that uses a microinverter, an electronics device that converts direct current from solar panels to grid-ready alternating current on each individual panel.
Each panel can also relay information on its performance to Enphase Energy's Web site, which customers can view from a browser. The company plans to release the system, aimed at … Read more
Hallowell International is effectively committing air conditioner fraud.
The Bangor, Maine-based company has figured out a way to get heat pumps--the basis for heating and cooling systems for much of the Southwest U.S.--to work decently in cool climates. For residents in the Northeast and Midwest, that's good news. Electric heat pumps are more efficient than fossil fuel heating systems and double as air conditioners in the summer.
In some northern states, residents can pay up to $4,000 a year to heat and cool their homes with fossil fuels, said Hallowell CEO Duane Hallowell. The company claims … Read more
Admit it: somewhere in a drawer or stashed in your closet, you have an old cell phone or digital camera with no practical purpose.
Second Rotation is a Web site designed to find a home for that used and no-longer-loved electronic gear. On Tuesday, the company announced that it has raised $4.4 million in funding led by Venrock to expand its product catalog and ramp up marketing.
The Web site, which launched last July, acts as a broker between consumers and eBay or an electronics recycler.
To unload your old Treo or Canon, you write the product name into … Read more
Providing fresh evidence that solar thermal is one of the hottest segments in green tech, Solel said on Monday that Ecofin is investing $105 million into the company.
Solel makes equipment for solar thermal power plants, facilities that use the sun's heat to create steam and turn an electricity generator.
Its specialty is parabolic troughs. Thousands of troughs reflect sunlight to heat a liquid that makes steam. The company's equipment has been in use in the Mojave Desert since 1985.
Solar thermal is one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable power and is best suited for desert … Read more
Scientists at the CEA/Leti-Minatec in Grenoble, France are looking at ways to produce electricity from the vibrations caused by falling raindrops.
It's the latest step toward exploiting piezoelectric principles. In piezoelectrics, bending or otherwise deforming an object can produce power. If you take a tiny wire and bend it, for example, a negative charge gets produced on the stretched side while a positive charge gets created on the compressed side. When the pressure on the wire is relieved, an electrical current can be detected.
Using the CEA's concept, raindrops hitting a flexible surface set off the vibrations … Read more
Sugar or sunlight?
That's one of the fundamental questions for companies trying to transform algae into transportation fuel or dietary supplements. Solazyme says it will grow algae through fermentation--for instance, feeding the algae sugars in a heated, sealed environment.
"We're not growing it photosynthetically. We put it in stainless steel tanks similar to what you see in a brew pub," said Solazyme President Harrison Dillon.
By contrast, GreenFuel Technologies and LiveFuels will exploit the sun to grow the single-celled creatures. And here there is a divide, too. GreenFuel grows its algae in sealed, transparent tubes … Read more
Jeroen van der Veer, the CEO of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, sees easy oil coming to an end and a potential worldwide "scramble" to mitigate climate change.
Van der Veer outlined to potential scenarios for energy usage and extraction over the coming century in a speech published Friday on the company's Web site.
Regardless of whether countries "scramble" or take in a more orderly approach to adopting low-carbon fuels and renewable energies, getting oil and gasoline will not be as easy as it once was, he said.
"We are experiencing a step-change in … Read more