Archived Posts from this Category

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.

Continued at



Bay Area Public Transport via Google Maps

Posted by on 24 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: personal comments, transport

If you live in the San Francisco bay area, check out a recent addition to Google Maps – bus times – right on the map. This is just the kind of innovation needed to move people from personal cars to public transport, and with record high gas prices the timing couldn’t be better. Spread the word!

Update: Google adding help for bikers and pedestrians, via BusinessWeek.

Trains vs Planes in Spain

Posted by on 02 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: transport

The Guardian and Treehugger report on a new high-speed link between Madrid and Barcelona. The Ave covers the 410 miles between Madrid and Barcelona in just 2 hours and 35 minutes.

From The Guardian: The aim is to have 10,000km (6,200 miles) of high-speed track in Spain by 2020, meaning that 90% of the population will be no more than 30 miles from a station through which the train passes…trains produce at least four times less carbon dioxide per mile than planes, and even less when compared with short-haul flights. Spain is preparing itself for a future in which there may be limits on the number of flights a person is allowed to take, particularly within the EU.

Given the choice I will happily take a train over a plane any day. How about you?

My Other Car is a Bright Green City

Posted by on 27 Jan 2008 | Tagged as: liveable cities, transport


Another weighty editorial by WorldChanging’s Alex Steffen:

Today’s cars are costly, dangerous and an ecological nightmare. What if the solution to the problems they create, though, has more to do with where we live than what we drive?

Alex argues that building compact communities should be one of America’s highest environmental priorities, and says our obsession with building “green cars” may obscure other options.

Driving is often just a habit rather than a conscious choice. I lived in San Francisco for years before I ‘discovered‘ there was a serviceable option to driving, especially for downtown trips. Here’s to livable cities movement!

SolarSailor – Innovation Inspired by Insects

Posted by on 20 Jan 2008 | Tagged as: biomimicry, business, transport

Solar Sailor

Solar Sailor is an Australian company innovating in the marine industry. Recent CNN coverage is gratifying – it’s not easy to turn old industries around. See recent video on CNN. (Disclosure: I’m an investor in this company and served on the board for a couple of years.)