Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Link to CleanTechnica

Malachite Technologies (California Solar Startup) Looks To Hugely Improve Solar Cell Efficiency

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 05:43 PM PDT

Via sister site Ecopreneurist, here’s a quick look at Malachite Technologies… which still has a ways to go to (possibly) achieve its dream (and that of many other startups) of creating much more efficient and commercially competitive solar PV cells:

Solar Startup to Make Super Efficient Solar Cell (via Ecopreneurist)

Malachite Technologies, a startup-company based in San Francisco, California, has been working on how to improve solar cell performance by using higher-efficiency semi-conductors. Their method involves placing layers of gallium-arsenide on top of the silicon, which according to their calculations,…

Cleantech Challenge Mexico Winners Announced

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 05:26 PM PDT

Via sister site Ecopreneurist, here’s a quick look at the 8 winners/finalists of Cleantech Challenge Mexico:

Cleantech Challenge Mexico Names Its Winners (via Ecopreneurist)

Last month, Cleantech Challenge Mexico honored the competition's eight finalists during its award ceremony held in Mexico City. The winner of the completion took away MX$250,000 in cash, while the eight finalists were eligible for up to US$30 million in venture capital investments. The event took…

Nuclear Energy’s US & Global Exit

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 05:14 PM PDT

Quite frankly, expensive and inflexible nuclear energy can’t compete with cheap renewables and natural gas. Nuclear is making its exit, slowly but nonetheless. Below are two recent stories from sister site Red, Green, and Blue on this matter that are really worth a read:

Nuclear reactors? On the way out… (via Red Green & Blue)

Our fleet of nuclear reactors may be bigger than it was in 1916… but it's about to start shrinking. A Wisconsin power company has announced it will shut down one of its aging reactors… and there are a dozen more that are failing. Market forces are at work here… While conservatives (who love…

More Nails in Nuclear’s Coffin (via Red Green & Blue)

I was quite pleased to find out today that the Kewaunee nuclear-power plant in Wisconsin will close next year. Partly I was happy because the owner of this plant is Dominion Resources, which is trying to decide if it wants to build another reactor near my home in Louisa County, Virginia. Dominion stepping…

London Array Wind Farm, Soon World’s Largest Wind Farm, Begins Generating Power

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 08:03 AM PDT

The London Array, which will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm once completed, has now begun generating electricity. The companies behind the project announced the beginning of electricity production on Monday.

Once completed, the first phase will see around 175 wind turbines installed about 12 miles off the coasts of Kent and Essex in the Thames Estuary, generating enough electricity to power more than 470,000 homes.

Construction started back in March 2011. Since then, 151 wind turbines have been installed, with the remaining few expected to be installed by the end of the year. The first phase of the project will total 630 MW.

“If approved, the second phase will add enough turbines to bring the total capacity of the windfarm to 870MW,” the UK’s Guardian notes. “The plans have had to be resubmitted with a reduction in the area the turbines would cover following concerns the scheme would hit the red-throated diver population in the estuary.”

The energy giant E.ON owns 30% of the project, the Abu Dhabi–based Masdar another 20% stake, and the remaining 50% is owned by Dong Energy.

“We firmly believe that electricity from renewable sources has a vital part to play in helping us deliver energy in a way that is sustainable, affordable and secure and this is why we are aiming to reduce the costs of offshore wind by 40% by 2015,” said Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.ON UK.

Here’s more on the London Array in video format, from the London Array:

Source: The Guardian
Image Credit: London Array

Samsung Providing Solar-Powered Internet Schools To South Africans

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 07:30 AM PDT

Samsung’s new program to provide solar-powered “internet schools” to African communities has been a big success. According to the children that benefit from the school, it’s “purely greatness, happily madness.”


Samsung has previously described it as an “exclusively solar-powered, mobile, and completely independent classroom that is geared towards increasing accessibility to education and connectivity across Africa”.

The project recently won the “African solar project of the year” award and is currently supporting around 21 students.

The design of the system features roof- and side-mounted solar panels made out of a rubber-like material. These rubber-like panels were used rather than conventional ones primarily to limit breakage during transportation, and also to make it easy to track them if they are stolen.


“The container has four inches of insulation and extraction fans to keep it cooler (and 21 kids inside warming it up). The solar panels will probably act a bit like sunshades and help keep it cooler,” Lloyd Alter of TreeHugger notes.

Source: TreeHugger
Image Credits: Samsung

LA Mulls Reuse Ordinance To Bring In Clean Tech Companies

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 07:23 AM PDT


Waste not want not could be the motto for a possible reuse ordinance in Los Angeles.

Empty industrial buildings in downtown are on LA leaders’ radar as potential homes to clean tech companies, creating jobs and revitalizing the area. But bringing these buildings up to current city code would probably cost a fortune, scaring off potential investors and companies. So local business and political minds are tossing around the idea of changing city ordinances to encourage better reuse of industrial buildings of yore.

Some aspects of the ordinance changes could include reducing parking requirements around the buildings — making mass transit sound even sweeter in traffic-plagued LA.

Image: LA city limit sign via Shutterstock
Source: Planetizen 

Tesla’s Model S Our Century’s Model T?

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 07:21 AM PDT

Henry Ford and the Model T revolutionized the automobile industry one century ago. Could the Tesla Model S from Tesla Motors be the 21st century equivalent?

Tesla Model S image via Shutterstock

If you listen to the words of the recent Motor Trend video review, it very well could be.

Reviewer Carlos Lago in the video noted that the Model S “may very well be the most important new car since the Model T," while taking it for a test run.

Obviously, there are some unique features of this car that would make it stand out in the automotive market.

For starters, in the video, we get to see the potential of how awesome electric vehicles can be. Lago notes the Model S can drive between 238 to 285 miles on a charge.

Also, unlike other cars, to open the car door, you simply press the door handle, and not hit the unlock button on the alarm pad or open it up with a key.

Secondly, the car in four seconds can go from 0 kilometres an hour (km/h) to 60 kilometres an hour, as "the torque is insane" with the Model S.

Additionally, the car is one huge step out of the fossil fuel era into an era of clean cars and clean energy.

Lago truly has very high esteem for Tesla's visionary vehicle, ranking it with other worthy competitors noted below:

Adding up the performance, style, technology and price, Lago compares the Tesla favorably with the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and Porsche Panamera. He says it feels “like car 3.0.” It all kind of gives us hope our favorite fastback will come out on top when MT reveals its Car Of The Year sometime in November.

While it's still early to see if Elon Musk will be this century's Henry Ford, the Model S could be off to a great start towards putting Musk on the same benchmark as Ford over hundred years ago.

Source: Autobloggreen

Billionaire Tom Steyer Aims to Push Clean Tech Agenda

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 07:15 AM PDT

Often, billionaires are associated with the fossil fuel industry. However, the trend seems to have been changing in recent years. From T. Boone Pickens investments in wind energy, to Bill Gates championing clean technology and Richard Branson's passion for biofuels, the list is growing.

You can add another one to the list….

Meet Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager, who is worth $1.3 billion. Recently, he announced he is leaving Farallon Capital. Steyer plans to devote more time towards both charitable and political causes, according to a Reuters article.

One of them is the upcoming Proposition 39 in California, which he helped put on the November ballot. If successful, the bill would look to stamp out loop holes that benefit out-of-state corporations in California. Under the new bill, if it passes, such companies would pay taxes based on sales within the state.

Proposition 39 would also put half of $1 billion raised from the new taxes into clean energy and energy efficiency jobs within the first five years.

Steyer, who has put an astonishing $21.9 million towards the proposal, believes it's vital to rapidly moving off coal and towards a clean energy future:

His plan: “We immediately get off coal. We move to something that we actually can live with, and proves we can do it in a way that provides a ton of jobs, you know, improves our health, and sets us on a profitable path for the long-term, where we are not causing massive destruction.”

This is not the first time Steyer has been involved in environmental propositions. In 2010, he put $6 million against Proposition 23, which would have weakened greenhouse gas regulations in California.

More billionaires like Steyer in the clean energy arena is a good move, as this infant industry needs strong financial backing against the dirtiest players in the energy game.

Source: Reuters

Desertec Project Continues Moving Forward, Moroccan Government Signs New Agreement with Desertec Foundation

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 07:00 AM PDT

The Desertec project continues to move forward, with the signing of a new memorandum of understanding between the Moroccan government and the Desertec Foundation. This new agreement strengthens the current plans to build a massive series of solar power plants in the northern part of Morocco which will supply power to Europe.


The agreement, signed by the Moroccan Agency for the Development of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ADEREE), confirms that they will collaborate with the German-based foundation, sharing technical expertise and working to develop a policy framework for the groundbreaking project.

The new agreement is expected to help accelerate the development of the project. Once completed, the giant collection of solar power installations would provide clean energy both to their domestic markets and also to Europe via “high voltage direct current transmission lines.”

This will further reinforce “Morocco’s position as one of the leading renewable energy markets in Africa, building on the government’s commitment to generate over 40 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.”

The country have already started construction on one of the major components of the proposed Desertec network, the gigantic 500MW Ouarzazate concentrated solar power plant.

“Morocco is a not just a visionary in the region but also a successful pioneer in the global transition to renewables, where ADEREE plays a key role,” said director of the Desertec Foundation, Dr Thiemo Gropp, in a statement. “We are very happy to support their work in this context.”

This new agreement is a much needed boost to the project; the engineering giant Siemens recently confirmed that it was going to leave the group, as it had decided to sell its solar business. And there have been other reports suggesting that the Algerian government was postponing its final decision on its plans for the new Sonelgaz Desertec Renewable Energy Program until 2013 year.

Source: Business Green
Image Credits: Desertec via Wikimedia Commons

Trailer for the “State of Green” Renewable Energy Documentary

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 04:00 AM PDT

State of Green is a documentary film that is looking for support from you, the viewing public, to help continue it’s goal of examining renewable energy and its effects on the people of Vermont and the US.

The goals of this film are to explore the human story behind renewable development and to foster an intelligent, informed discussion. Our demand for energy is confronting us in our own back yard. Change is inevitable. With change comes sacrifice. Will the green energy movement strengthen our economy or compromise Vermont’s unspoiled beauty?

In an effort to transition away from fossil fuels, the Vermont state energy plan calls for 90% of the state’s power needs to be met from renewable sources by the year 2050. GREEN MOUNTAIN POWER, Vermont’s largest utility, is leading the way in renewable energy development and working to offer their customers affordable, sustainable power.

Vermont purchases a significant amount of renewable energy from HYDRO QUEBEC. Many Cree people were displaced by the development of Hydro Quebec’s St. James Bay project. How much of their culture and landscape was lost in an effort to produce power? Is their story a window into Vermont’s future?

You can find out everything you’d ever want to know about the film, those making the film, and what they intend to do with the film once they’ve completed work on their website, State of Green Movie.

And they’re hoping for your financial help too, as they attempt to gather as much footage and dedicate more of their time to this project.

Philips Launches LED Retrofit Lamps

Posted: 30 Oct 2012 12:30 AM PDT

Last week, Phillips announced the release of three new types of LED bulbs for its LED retrofit line. These new bulbs will help users experience the benefits of LED lighting while replicating the characteristics of the traditional light bulbs they replace.

Philips A21 LED

The first bulb, the DimTone BR30, is designed for the hospitality and restaurant industries. As its name suggests, this bulb is designed to work with the BR30 lighting socket. The bulb itself offers diffuse, omnidirectional lighting; it is ideally suited to work as a light source for recessed and track lighting. Phillips has included an improved driver with this bulb, increasing its compatibility with pre-existing dimmers to provide superior dimming performance. Thanks to LED technology, it can provide a satisfying lighting experience while using significantly less energy and lasting up to 12 times as long as a traditional bulb it replaces.

The second bulb, the A21 22-watt, will be one of the first viable LED replacements for a commercial 100-watt bulb. The LEDs included in this bulb replicate the warm color temperature of a traditional incandescent bulb while drawing up to 78 percent less power; the bulb has already been submitted to Energy Star for certification. Additionally, this bulb can last up to 25 times longer than a normal 100-watt incandescent bulb. Businesses and individuals can save more than $200 per bulb by converting their old incandescent bulbs to the A21. As with the BR30, this bulb includes Phillips’ latest driver and is compatible with most dimmers.

Finally, Phillips introduced an LED T8 replacement lamp. This lamp will be interchangeable with existing T8 fluorescent fixtures and includes an external driver. This external driver is engineered to use the same wiring as the external ballasts for traditional T8 lamps. Phillips’ new LED lamps will use up to 35 percent less electricity than traditional T8 bulbs and will last for up to 50,000 hours of continuous use. The new lamps are DLC compliant and qualify for many energy rebate programs, allowing new owners to recoup some of the cost of upgrading to these lamps.

Source: Philips Lighting

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