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Plug-in Electric Cars had better early adoption rate than hybrids
April 9, 2012 07:10 AM - John Gartner, Matter Network, Clean Techies
The failure to reach the sales targets for the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf has led to considerable finger pointing about so-far disappointing attempts to mass market plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). PEVs have increasingly become fodder for politics as every misstep reinforces what opponents call their inevitable failure. But the real problem was in the original lofty expectations for PEV penetration by both the auto makers and the government, which were unreachable given the cost of the vehicles. As we've said all long, the government's projection of 1 million PEVs on US roads by 2015 was too aggressive given the short timeframe to get new vehicles to market and the nascent state of the technology .
Pink on Green: How to Ignite the Second Electrical Revolution
April 5, 2012 09:41 AM - Elisa Wood, Clean Techies
The electric industry is good at building things. That's how it solves problems. Is there a threat of blackouts? Develop a new natural gas-fired plant. Worried about climate change? Build wind and solar power. Does electricity cost too much? Install a transmission line to import cheaper power. But build-to-solve represents only half of the equation in the new world of smart grid. The other half, the part that stumps the industry, is solve-without-building. Rather than adding more energy, smart grid tries to wring maximum efficiency out of the system by changing the way we consume electricity. But it turns out, trying to direct human energy behavior makes cat herding look easy. To get people to pay attention to their energy use, utilities and private companies are experimenting with alluring gadgets and social motivators. So far, success has been minimal. Thomas Edison's light bulb has been such a smashing success for the last 100 years, none of us want to turn it off. So what will it take? The Edison Foundation recently looked outside the industry for some answers, inviting Dan Pink, best-selling author of "DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" to speak at last month's Power the People 2.0 conference in Washington D.C. Consumer motivation has become a common conference topic. But Pink's talk was different. He stepped back and took a broader view and asked: How do we motivate the people who are trying motivate the consumer? Pink calls this "the science of how people do extraordinary things."
Will Electric Vehicle Growth Mirror the Mobile Phone Market?
April 3, 2012 09:11 AM - CleanTechies Guest Author, Clean Techies
It is not surprising how the electric vehicle growth story mirrors mobile phone growth but about 30 years later. It was in 1973, when Martin Cooper, a Motorola researcher made the first analog phone call using a heavy prototype device. Then came the first generation of mobile cell sites, with ability to transfer calls from one site to next in 1979.
The Quiet Clean Mining Revolution
February 21, 2012 10:56 AM - Guest Author, Clean Techies
Few industries have got the black eye, literally and metaphorically, of mining. After centuries of environmental effects ranging from toxic emissions to unsightly tailings ponds, acid mine drainage, massive energy consumption and other impacts, mining is slowly cleaning up its act. Why? Mostly because new clean technologies are increasing industrial efficiencies. They're lowering mining companies' power needs. And they're even helping reduce water requirements, and/or remediating the produced water and mines of years past that are now leaching toxins. And that's translating into cost savings for mining companies, which are being held increasingly accountable for their environmental impacts and are looking for ways to minimize the expenses of both the production phase of their operations, and reclamation.
Innovative Wastewater Treatment Technology
February 13, 2012 07:01 AM - CleanTechies Guest Author, Clean Techies
Israel’s Aqwise is proving to be a success story of international proportions in the arena of biological wastewater treatment. The Company began as a small start-up offering innovative biological treatment of urban wastewater, and today offers a variety of solutions for municipal and industrial customers, due to intensive R&D and expansion into new arenas of activity. According to Israel NewTech, Aqwise is one of the first companies which singled out the potential of the cleantech market for Israeli hi-tech based entrepreneurs. The Company began as a small start-up, which developed innovative technology for the biological treatment of wastewater. Now, 12 years later, the Company is profitable, has 150 installations around the world, and representation and partnerships in over 20 countries.
A Shining Star of Bipartisan Cleantech Support
February 6, 2012 05:12 PM - David Gold, Clean Techies
Amid all the negative publicity that Solyndra's failure has brought to the Administration's cleantech efforts, one cleantech program has received broad bipartisan support: DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-e). In 2012, ARPA-e will receive $275 million, a 53% increase from the prior year with both the House and the Senate supporting significant funding for the agency's third year of operations. ARPA-e is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which for over 50 years has funded early-stage research projects that show the potential to develop technologies that could yield disruptive advances for the military. DARPA's projects have resulted in major leaps including, but definitely not limited to, the Internet, stealth technology and the Global Positioning System. Both agencies operate by soliciting proposals from companies, universities, and labs within broad thematic areas and select the most promising proposals for grant awards. Readers of my blog know that I am not a big fan of some of the Administration's cleantech efforts. ARPA-e is at least one exception. Authorized in the last year of the Bush Administration and initially funded through the Obama Administration's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the ARPA-e program may be one government program that can help seed the disruptive advances needed in our energy economy.
US Beats Expectations Saving Energy
January 6, 2012 08:49 AM - Elisa Wood, Clean Techies
Americans tend to beat themselves up over their imperfections. We eat too much, watch too much TV and owe China too much money. Despite all of our sloth, we can feel good about one area: our progress saving energy.
London Bridge Will Soon Be All Lit Up With LEDs!
November 18, 2011 01:15 PM - Crisp Green, Clean Techies
London Bridge hasn’t fallen down—yet. But any 117-year old bridge is bound to need a few updates here and there. The latest round of improvements will help cut the amount of energy required to light the landmark by 40 percent. There’s no denying that London Bridge is an icon—a song praising its usefulness in times of conflict is sung to children before they can walk. But in recent iterations, the bridge has incorporated inefficient technologies that mar its noble history.
MIT Battery Startup Likes Liquidity
September 28, 2011 02:27 PM - Eric Lane, Clean Techies
The ’503 Application is entitled Alkaline Earth Metal Ion Battery and is directed to an alkaline earth metal ion energy storage cell (10) which contains three liquid constituents: two liquid electrodes and a liquid electrolyte. More particularly, the cell (10) houses a molten metal body (14) that serves as a negative electrode, an electronically conductive liquid alloy body (16) that serves as a positive electrode, and an intervening ionically conductive electrolyte (20).
L.A. Air Force Base Will Deploy 100% Electric Vehicle Fleet
September 27, 2011 03:54 PM - Crisp Green , Clean Techies
The U.S. Air Force recently announced that its Los Angeles base would be the first federal facility to replace 100 percent of its general purpose fleet with electric vehicles. This switch will mean all 40 vehicles owned or leased by the base, including passenger sedans, two-ton trucks and shuttle buses, will be replaced by fully-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and extended-range electric alternatives. Force protection, tactical and emergency response vehicles will remain exempt for now.