As with most things, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about electric vehicles. Last Friday, Ian Wright and I spent a couple of hours around my conference table discussing our philosophies on electric cars. Wright knows something about this topic, as he was formerly an executive at EV start-up Tesla Motors, and is now the founder and CEO of Wrightspeed, a Silicon Valley-based start-up whose first car is going to be a high-performance electric supercar, price tag just shy of $200,000. And as it's electric, Wright expects it should out-start, outrun, out-turn, and … Read more
How do you know if your solar systems are paying off? You watch them.
Fat Spaniel Technologies unfurled Insight Manager at the Solar Power 2007 conference. The software console is essentially a grander and more ornate version of the tools the company currently sells that let users see and understand how well their solar systems on individual buildings are working. The software has been sold to consumers but also has been installed in a few Wal-Marts.
Insight Manager can monitor several sites at once and provide information on electrical capacity and other issues. It can also be programmed to send … Read more
Perpetual Water started with a ban on watering lawns.
In Australia, which is suffering through years of drought, a local government agency passed a law to make it illegal to water your lawn in the city of Canberra, said Ralph Petroff, a director for the company's U.S. operations. People began to just take their old bathwater out and dump it on their lawn.
In response, Perpetual Water essentially created devices that automated the process and cleaned the water at the same time. The water goes in, gets stripped of biologically active agents and solids, and then gets sent … Read more
Don't drink out of the some of coffee cups at West Coast Green.
The organization running the conference ordered a bunch of paper coffee cups to use at the conference, which took place in San Francisco this week. Unfortunately, the organization ordered the cheapest ones. They came from China with a warning on the bottom: caution contains lead. Sarah Suzanka, the author of "The Not So Big Life" and one of the hosts of the conference, asked people in the audience to come up with ideas for ways to use them.
Recycling after all is a big … Read more
Forget biodiesel. To put a dent in global warming, we are going to have to stop using coal, said Ed Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030 at the West Coast Green conference taking place in San Francisco this week.
"The only fossil fuel that can fuel global warming is coal. If you stop coal, you stop global warming. End of story," he said. Architecture 2030 is a non-profit that encourages builders, suppliers and architects to move toward making carbon neutral buildings by 2030.
The problem with coal is two fold: it spews a lot of carbon dioxide, among other … Read more
San Francisco--Steve Wozniak will put up a modular home as soon as he can find an ideal piece of real estate.
Wozniak, a former Apple employee, is a fan of homes from Enertia, which sells kits for energy efficient homes. The kits range in price from less than $100,000 to more than $300,000, depending on the size of the home and the design. Wozniak right now is looking for a piece of real estate in the Bay Area that will be suitable, he said during a hallway conversation at West Coast Green, a green-building conference taking place in … Read more
Dell is offering a new service to recycle tired electronics for small businesses. The program, which will wipe sensitive data from hard drives in the process, will cost $25 each of up to 10 pieces of hardware. Dell also offers companies the option to resell old equipment that remains valuable.
The company began its free curbside recycling pickup for consumers last September. Greenpeace and other environmental groups have given the company high marks for its takeback program. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition lists Dell as one of the nation's "responsible recyclers" that does not send e-waste to … Read more
Amyris Biotechnologies, which is working on make jet fuels, gasoline and medicines through biologically inspired processes, has raised part of a $70 million funding round that it hopes to complete by the end of the year.
The company also said that it will try to come out with its bio-diesel, bio-gasoline and bio-jet fuels as early as 2010.
Amyris specializes in synthetic biology. It studies metabolic processes in bacteria and other microorganisms and then tries to replicate those processes artificially in labs. One of its first projects was developing a synthetic form of artemisinin, a medicine for malaria that grown … Read more
SEATTLE--Carbon offsets, energy efficiency credits, renewable energy certificates. The lexicon of the new, niche business world of brokering in greenhouse gases was spoken at the Discover Brilliant conference Monday. (It felt like being in Charlie Brown's classroom.)
Carbon markets have begun to boom over the past year, offering corporations options for offsetting their emissions by trading them with cleaner companies. Many proponents of carbon trading want laws to force businesses to clean up their act.
EnerDel says it will come out with a lithium-ion battery for plug-in hybrids that will cost $1,500, a development that could go a long way to making these cars palatable in terms of price.
The Indianapolis-based company, which recently received a $6.5 million grant from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), hopes to deliver the battery to car manufacturers for their 2010 lineups, according to Charles Gassenheimer, vice chairman of the company. The 2010 model cars will start coming out in September 2009, he said.
By then, there will probably be 65 hybrid cars on the market, … Read more