Archived Posts from this Category

Think Big and Think Boldly About the Future of Cleantech

Posted by on 28 May 2012 | Tagged as: cleantech

Peter Thiel offers some thoughts…

So can we do more with less in cleantech? Quite possibly we can. But we need to think about things in the same way we do in the computer industry. Is the breakthrough thorium? Is it something else? We certainly need a big breakthrough. Only then does it makes sense to work on incrementally improving it. The first step, as usual, is to think big and think boldly about the future.

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Solar Sails

Posted by on 25 Jan 2012 | Tagged as: cleantech, transport

Proposed solar sail installation on an Australian mining company bulk carrier

10 years ago invested in an Australian company pioneering hybrid power systems for marine vessels, starting with ferries but ambitions much larger…like oil tanker large. A decade later they may finally have a customer:

Roughly 50,000 ships carry 90% of the world’s trade cargo, and these ships tend to burn a heavily polluting oil known as bunker fuel.

“It’s like tar, you have to heat it up to make it liquid so it will flow,” says Mr Dane.

“These incredibly powerful engines run on incredibly cheap but dirty fuel so what we can do in the short-term is to ensure they use less fuel.”

The industry has proved hard for governments to regulate as it does not fall into one jurisdiction, however the United Nations International Maritime Organization has recently introduced new regulations on fuel efficiency and sulphur emissions that could drive demand for Solar Sailor’s technology.

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Autodesk: Tools for Change

Posted by on 14 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: biomimicry, cleantech

To a great extent, Biomimicry as it is applied to product design and development is a technology-enabled discipline. Much of nature’s genius takes place at the nano-scale, and to understand that brilliance and to put the learnings into effect is often only possible though advanced computer software and manufacturing techniques. As you can read in this latest post from Joel Makower, Autodesk is at the forefront:   

Autodesk and the Future of Sustainable Design: If you start with the premise that many of the solutions to our global sustainability challenges require smart design and systems thinking, it doesn’t take long before you find your way to Autodesk. The 29-year-old design software company has made a series of impressive moves into the sustainability realm over the past few years. It’s one of those largely unheralded companies creating the tools used by architects, designers, manufacturers, and — most recently — cleantech entrepreneurs to produce the next generation of greener, cleaner, more efficient products. Continued at

Cleantech Venture Investing Continues to Grow

Posted by on 01 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: cleantech, financial

Headed in right direction:

Cleantech today posted yet another record-breaking investment quarter globally, with smart grid, thin film and algae biofuel technologies enjoying all-times highs in financing.

But observers caution that economic friction is expected to make for headwinds in the next quarter.

The third quarter brought in $2.6 billion across 158 companies in North America, Europe, India and China, bringing the year-to-date investment to $6.6 billion—surpassing investment in the sector for all of 2007 with three months to go, according to a report released today by the Cleantech Group.

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…but it’s no where near even a single % point of daily oil expenditures…so far to go, so little time…

Getting Serious about Solving the Carbon Problem

Posted by on 20 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: cleantech, video

Vinod Khosla: %27It%27s about main tech, not clean tech%27
Outspoken VC Vinod Khosla speaks at the AlwaysOn GoingGreen conference. Is the “the current green movement as more about style than substance”? I might not agree with all he has to say, but Koshla is one person worth following closely.

GreenPlumbers: The Future of Plumbing

Posted by on 27 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: cleantech, enablers, water

I sat in on a presentation by Steve Lehtonen at PG&E this week and learned about a terrific new initiative:

GreenPlumbers® was developed by the Master Plumbers’ and Mechanical Services Association of Australia. (MPMSAA). The enormously successful training and accreditation program is being introduced in the United States through an exclusive agreement between MPMSAA and the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors Association of California.

The GreenPlumbers® Contractor Licensing Program is being introduced in the United States through an exclusive agreement between the Green Invest LTD of Australia and Onni, Inc. of the United States.

The Australian GreenPlumbers® program has revitalized the plumbing industry’s culture and image in Australia. Since its implementation in 2001, MPMSAA/GreenPlumbers® has accredited more than 5,000 plumbers throughout Australia. MPMSAA is in the process of adding new courses to the curriculum in 2008.

The program and the emerging technologies have been a major catalyst in helping to reduce water consumption levels by up to 50% from 1990 levels.

Steve Lehtonen’s presentation: GreenPlumbers: The Future of Plumbing

Google: “To help green technologies, amass scale.”

Posted by on 07 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: cleantech, energy, energy efficiency

Google’s 650,000-core warehouse-size computer

Ever wondered where your search requests goes when you hit the enter key? Read on…

INDIAN WELLS, Calif., Feb 6 (Reuters) – Google Inc (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile , Research) is prepared to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in big commercial alternative-energy projects that traditionally have had trouble getting financing, the executive in charge of its green-energy push said on Wednesday.

The Internet search giant, which has said it will invest in researching green technologies and renewable-energy companies, is eager to help promising technologies amass scale to help drive the cost of alternative energy below the cost of coal. More via Reuters…

Why would google care so much? Power searching requires lots of power…

Beginning 5 years ago, Google took the lead in making a power consumption an issue for IT vendors. No one cared that much before that because no one else was building 100,000+ server data centers using free software and cheap PC hardware. Google wasn’t the only factor, but their use of free software, cheap hardware and massive scale meant that energy consumption became one of the few places they could cut costs. Continued at ZDNet with additional coverage at NYT.

Smart folks over at Google. Here’s hoping their lead is followed.

2007 New Clean Energy Investments

Posted by on 05 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: cleantech, energy

Wondering just how much money is flowing to clean energy? Over $100B according to a report by analysts New Energy Finance.

The clean energy sector powered ahead in 2007, according to analysts New Energy Finance. In spite of difficult conditions on the credit markets, the amount of new money invested in the sector grew to $117.2 billion, up 41% from 2006’s $83.0 billion*, and more than $20 billion ahead of predictions. Overview continued at Clean Edge…

There appears to be great progress, though its always worth casting a skeptical eye over analyst reports.

GE Energy Financial Services 2010 Investing Target: $6B

Posted by on 05 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: cleantech, company, energy

GE Energy Financial Services

Cleantech growth continues at a pace: GE Energy Financial Services recently raised its 2010 renewable energy investing target by 50 percent to $6 billion. GE Energy Financial Services recently crossed the $3 billion mark with a $300 million investment in wind projects spanning four states.

“Thanks to our strong customer relationships, our expertise, GE’s technical capabilities, high fossil fuel prices and popular support for cleaner power, renewable energy has become our fastest-growing business,” said Alex Urquhart, President and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services. “With our broad capabilities to invest equity and debt within and outside the United States — not only in wind but in solar, biomass, hydro and geothermal power — we have become a major player in a $60 billion annual renewable energy market.” Continued in Company Press Release…

Here’s hoping full thought is given to the manufacturing and siting stages so that we don’t just have ‘clean energy’, but it can also be ‘green energy’. (Of course the greenest energy is the energy that isn’t produced – see my recent post on NegaWatt Power.)

:: More via Google News