Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Link to CleanTechnica

Under 31? You Probably Want a Hybrid

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 04:50 AM PST

Gen Y Wants Hybrid CarsApparently my lack of interest in Porsches and GTRs isn't abnormal for my generation at all – a new survey is reporting that the majority of GenY consumers (currently aged 19 to 31) are in the market for something greener, something a little more eco-friendly, and maybe even sustainable (at least when it comes to their cars).

The Survey

The survey in question was conducted by researchers at Deloitte, an accountancy firm founded in London and headquartered in New York. The firm's researchers reported that 59% of their GenY respondents liked alternative power driving their wheels – mainly hybrid-electric (with 57% of the vote) augmented with pure battery electric (2%). Only 37% of respondents indicated that they wanted a traditional gas guzzler.

The younger generation was most drawn in by fuel efficiency, but cars with all sorts of nifty features (think touch screens and smart phone apps, although an interactive windshield seems like a really bad idea to me) were also super appealing.

The survey – which is Deloitte's fourth annual – questioned 1500 citizens in the US (including baby boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y). 250 Gen Y consumers in China and 300 in Western Europe round out the poll-takers.

The Specifics

If you're wondering just what cars the respondents found so attractive, here are four that made the top list.

  • The Toyota Prius c meets the criteria of good mileage (53mpg highway) and lots of gadgets (USB port for an iPod, hands-free phone capability, Bluetooth). It goes on sale in March.
  • Ford's Fusion Hybrid, which is supposed to get 47mpg (city), also has a number of toys to meet Gen Y consumer expectations (think touch screens to do everything from control climate to make calls). It should go on sale in early summer.
  • The Chevy Volt continues to grab and hold attention with its 25-50 miles of pure electric drive supplemented by a gas generator with an extra 375 miles of range from a full tank (which is 9.3 gallons – that's at least 43mpg). You can get one right now.
  • The last car on our list of vehicles to excite the Gen Y contingent is the VW Jetta Hybrid, which allegedly gets 45mpg. It's fast enough to drive aggressively on the Autobahn.

Questions or comments? Let us know below.

Source: CBS | Image: Chevrolet

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Capturing Sunlight in a Bulb Will Hopefully Eliminate Kerosene for Lighting

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 04:49 AM PST

With advances in renewable energy lighting products like this LED bulb from Nokero, impoverished areas of the world that have no electricity will begin to enjoy better lives, and school children will be able to read at night — affordably and safely.

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The Best Used Car is the Toyota Prius

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 04:40 AM PST

There are many reasons to buy a hybrid—great mileage and low emissions being just a couple of them. Reliability is quickly turning out to be another really good one, at least for the Toyota Prius.

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New York East River Home To New Tidal Energy Project

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 04:33 AM PST

On Monday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its first pilot project license to Verdant Power for a tidal energy projected located in New York City’s East River.

The Project is known as the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project and is expected to generate 1,050 kilowatts of energy by using the East River’s natural tidal currents to generate electricity. The turbine generators will be mounted on the riverbed and capture the energy from the tidal flow as it rolls through them.

"Issuing a pilot license for an innovative technology is a major step in the effort to help our country meet our renewable energy goals," FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said. "FERC's pilot process is doing what it should: allow for exploration of new renewable technologies while protecting the environment."

The pilot licenses are very much for small and innovative companies to test out a new technology, with several restricting rules set in place;

Projects eligible for a pilot license must be (1) small; (2) short term; (3) located in an environmentally non-sensitive area; (4) removable and able to be shut down on short notice; (5) removed, with the site restored, before the end of the license term unless the licensee obtains a new license; and (6) initiated by a draft application with appropriate environmental analysis.

With ten years to prove itself, I surely hope that this is the first of many tidal projects to be initiated throughout the US, and hopefully, the world.

Source: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Image Source: Verdant Power

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OnStar To Allow Drivers to Recharge Using Renewable Energy

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 04:27 AM PST

Owners of the popular Chevrolet Volt electric car may soon have the option to recharge their cars using renewable energy, thanks to a new solution from OnStar.

According to OnStar, “the  technology is enabled as OnStar receives a signal from PJM Interconnection that shows the percentage of available renewable energy on the grid. Data from this forecast is downloaded to the OnStar cloud, or Advanced Telematics Operating Management System (ATOMS). OnStar uses this signal to simultaneously manage the charging of many Volts and to match the renewable energy availability.”

Naturally, in this day and age, a mobile app is the next step, a step that could alert customers to when renewable energy is available.

OnStar will be working with Google to demonstrate the technology on the 17 Chevrolet Volts in Google's "Gfleet" based at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California during the  2012 DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition in San Antonio. Attendees will be able to see live demos at Booth 1543.

"This demonstration shows that in the near future customers will have a real signal of demand for renewable energy," said Nick Pudar, OnStar vice president of planning and business development. "As customers configure their Volts to favor renewable energy for their charging cycle, this real demand signal will influence utilities to tap into renewable sources.”

PJM data has shown tat peak time for renewable energy generation from a wind farm usually takes place between 10pm and 6am. Subsequently, OnStar Smart Grid customers could further reduce their carbon footprint by charging during these off-peak times.

"Solutions like this one will ultimately lead to increased renewable energy generation and allow Chevrolet Volt owners to be a key part of that energy transformation," said Pudar.

The renewable energy technology is the latest addition to OnStar's suite of Smart Grid solutions. OnStar has also developed intelligent energy management technology solutions including:

  • Demand response – This solution connects utilities to companies that have intelligent energy management products. These companies can use OnStar to manage energy use for Volt customers who opt in for the service. This future service allows the customer to save money on energy costs while enabling more efficient use of the electric grid.
  • Time-of-Use (TOU) rates – OnStar can receive dynamic TOU pricing from utilities and notify Volt owners of the rate plan offers via email. Owners will be able to use OnStar to load the rate plans directly into their vehicle and access them to schedule charging during lower-rate periods.
  • Charging data – OnStar also sends and receives EV data that helps utility providers without having to interface with the vehicle's electric vehicle supply equipment. This includes location-based EV data that identifies charging locations and determines potential load scenarios.

Source: OnStar

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Los Angeles: Clean Tech Capital of America? | Verdexchange Conference

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 04:25 AM PST

If Mayor Villaraigosa gets his way, you betcha. Interestingly enough, the artist’s studio where this piece resides (under the Main St bridge) is right along the Clean Tech corridor being planned. Clean Tech Los Angeles is all about making LA a desirable place to start and grow clean tech businesses. The real growth in manufacturing and engineering jobs is in this sector, and LA wants to be sure to catch the wave. Also frequently mentioned throughout the conference were our top three research universities— UCLA, USC, and (of course) Cal Tech. At the Verdexchange conference I saw a broad range of presentations highlighting what’s being done in Los Angeles. You’ve already read here how California is the US leader in the Electric Vehicle industry. Now, see what’s happening in other clean tech sectors….

Mike Swords, Board President of Clean Tech LA told us about their growth plans. This was one of the most exciting things I saw at the conference. The clean tech incubator was mentioned a number of times throughout the conference, and has some very exciting member companies. Proving the Clean tech LA is serious about job creation, it’s hosting a career fair on February 1st. Swords also reminded us of the EB-5 visa for migrant entrepreneurs who can create at least 10 jobs, by stating that the city of Los Angeles was trying to facilitate that process.

Jeff Milanette, Executive Director of PortTech LA, told us about its cleantech incubator, which focuses on port technology. Most of the imports Americans consume come through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. This article from the Infrastructurist shows the world’s busiest ports. If LA & Long Beach were counted as one port, they’d be the 5th busiest port in the world. Not bad considering LA is also the cleanest port in the world, as claimed by Mayor Villaraigosa at the conference.

The other major threads I saw throughout the conference were utility-scale renewable energy, water management, and waste-to-energy conversion. All of which can benefit from the sort of companies that would operate in this clean tech business hub. There was also a lot of talk about California’s new carbon market, but it seemed to center around offsets. I’m going to try to give those topics the attention they deserves in later posts.

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Cleanweb Hackathon Winner is…

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 03:27 AM PST

Last week, we announced that there was going to be a big “Cleanweb Hackathon” in New York City (the second, following one in San Francisco a few months back). Priti Ambani of sister site Ecopreneurist has more on a couple of the winners, including the overall winner:

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Motor Free of Rare Earth Metals from Toyota?

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 03:21 AM PST

Rare earth metals are not, by definition, rare (even though it sounds that way). Though, some are harder to come by than others and some countries (especially China) have essential monopolies on some. So, reducing dependency on these metals is important for cleantech (as well as non-cleantech) companies. Toyota’s well aware of that, and is working on it:

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Wind & Transport News (5 Stories)

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 03:16 AM PST

And, wrapping up my wrap-ups for the week, here are a few wind energy stories and transportation stories we haven’t covered yet. Enjoy!

wind turbines

Wind

1. First Wind gets go-ahead increase size of Oakfield Wind project in Aroostook County, Maine from 51 MW to 150 MW. The project will be able to create enough power for over 48,000 homes.

2. CleanTech Innovations, Inc., a U.S. company and manufacturer of wind towers and other industrial products serving the renewable energy industry, has sued the NASDAQ Stock Market for “racial profiling and discrimination against CleanTech Innovations, Inc. and China based companies.”

3. Iberdrola, a large Spanish wind energy company, is investing €22 million in a 22-MW wind farm in Jumilla, Spain. Iberdrola already has 6 wind farms with a combined power generation capacity of 140 MW in this region.

bmw electric car

Transport

1. Interested in leasing BMW’s first-ever all-electric vehicle, the ActiveE? For a shot at participating in BMW’s field trial, click on the link above.

2. Zero Motorcycles and Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle best-equipped to cash in on increasing demand for electric motorcycles. “While the market for electric motorcycle and electric scooters is in its infancy in most regions of the world, there is one major exception: Asia Pacific.  The vast majority of e-motorcycle and e-scooter sales in 2011 occurred in that region (17 million vehicles estimated for Asia Pacific, versus just over 30,000 for the rest of the world combined), but the market is on the verge of major competitive changes over the next couple of years.  A few large vendors, including Honda and KTM, have entered the market, while competitors like Brammo, New Vetrix, and Current Motor Company have drastically revised their business plans or developed new products over the last two years.  According to a new Pike Pulse report published by Pike Research, the two manufacturers who are best positioned to take advantage of the upcoming shifts in the market are Zero Motorcycles and Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle.” (Note: we’ve covered Zero Motorcycles in the past.)

Wind turbines via shutterstock; All-electric BMW ActiveE via BMW USA

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Solar News (10 Stories)

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 02:53 AM PST

Some recent solar energy news we haven’t hit yet:

1. Agendas for the 7th Annual Photovoltaics Summit and 4th Annual Concentrating Solar Thermal Power, scheduled for April 17-19 in San Diego, have been announced.

2. Kyocera has now launched ”its highest-output solar module, the 80-cell KD 315,” the company notes. “The new module is ideal for large-scale installations like solar-covered parking, and is now available for U.S. customers.”

3. Polysilicon prices hit record low of $0.90 per watt in 2011 (from $1.80 per watt at the beginning of the year). However, expected to drop even lower, going below $0.70 per watt in 2012.

4. 50-MW solar thermal power plant now supplying electricity in Lebrija, Spain. Can power up to approximately 30,000 Spanish households.

5. GE to supply 23 megawatts (MW) of advanced solar equipment to Invenergy for Grand Ridge Solar in Illinois, which will be the largest solar farm in the Midwest when completed (project is currently under construction). Project sits next to 210-MW Grand Ridge Wind project, which uses GE wind turbines.

6. Japan’s Solar Frontier the clear market leader in CIGS thin-film solar panels (and just signed contract with enXco to provide it with up to a whopping 150 megawatts of solar panels). 2011 production numbers of top CIGS producers:

* Solar Frontier, 577 megawatts
* MiaSolĂ©, 60 megawatts
* Solibro, 95 megawatts
* Avancis, 25 megawatts
* Global Solar, 19 megawatts
* Nanosolar, 20 megawatts
* Soltecture, 14 megawatts

7. Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited becomes first solar PV company in world to have carbon footprint lifecycle assessment conducted of its PV modules by TUV Rheinland. “According to the Assessment, the carbon dioxide emitted during the manufacturing phase is significantly less than that will be reduced during the 25-year usage phase,” but no specific numbers were given.

8. 18-MW solar power plant in Dunhuang, Gansu Province in west China now connected to the grid. “Located in the solar base of China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company in Dunhuang, the solar power plant covers an area of 400,000 square meters and JinkoSolar provided all 76,000 modules for the installation,” JinkSolar announces. “Solar power projects currently completed or under construction in Gansu exceed 100MW, about one-eighth of China’s total solar capacity of 768MW.”

9. SunEdison in talks with Japan about $4.6-billion plan for solar farms in the country. ”US solar developer SunEdison has confirmed it is working on plans to deploy 1GW of new solar capacity in Japan at an estimated cost of Y350bn ($4.6bn),” Business Green reports.

10. GE pitching solar panels to go with wind farms now. (See item #5 above.) Investors must diversify their investment portfolio. And we must diversify our electric grid. Right now, that is largely about adding wind and solar. “General Electric Co. is trying to convince developers that have bought its wind turbines to double down on clean energy by purchasing its solar panels as well, said Vic Abate, who runs the company's renewables unit,” Business Week writes.

Solar panel installation via shutterstock

 

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