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Posts Tagged ‘clean technology

Things in the wind

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Recent news on the environmental front is full of wind chimes.

Did you know, for example, that Mars Inc. is making M&Ms with wind power? In fact Mars has engaged two popular spokespersons from its M&M entourage, ‘Red’ and ‘Yellow,’ Red, the self-proclaimed leader and Yellow, his faithful sidekick, have become the latest advocates for renewable wind-powered energy, tackling climate change in the launch of M&M’s Fans of Wind energy crusade.

“We want to make sure that everyone understands that climate change is a real issue,” said Berta De Pablos-Barbier, president of Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., in a recent interview for TheStreet. “A wind turbine spinning for one second produces the energy equivalent to what’s needed to make eight packs of M&M’S,” she said. Here’s her video.

The Fans of Wind campaign is part of Mars’ Sustainable in a Generation Plan that includes $1 billion investment over the next few years to tackle climate change and the scarcity of resources.

Microsoft has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for 100% of the electricity from GE’s new 37-megawatt Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland. Microsoft said the deal will help support an expansion of its cloud computing services offerings in the country.
 As part of the deal, Microsoft also signed an agreement with the Dublin-based energy trading company ElectroRoute to provide energy trading services to Microsoft.

In addition to producing energy, the project will produce valuable data on energy storage. Each turbine will have an integrated battery; Microsoft and GE will test how these batteries can be used to capture and store excess energy, and then provide it back to the grid as needed. “This provides more predictable power to an increasingly green Irish grid, by smoothing out peaks and valleys in wind production. This will better enable intermittent clean power sources like wind energy to be added to the Irish grid,” Microsoft said. This will be the first deployment of integration into wind turbines to store energy in Europe.

Then, according to a Washington Post article last month, “there’s enough wind energy over the oceans to power human civilization, scientists say.”

The article cites National Academy of Sciences findings that there is so much wind energy potential over oceans that it could theoretically be used to generate “civilization scale power” — “assuming, that is, that we are willing to cover enormous stretches of the sea with turbines, and can come up with ways to install and maintain them in often extreme ocean environments. ”

That sounds very theoretical, expensive and probably extremely unlikely, but it’s nice to know the potential is there if we need it — and we probably will someday.

We might as well try and catch the wind.

Image: Turbine B W by richardghawley via Flickr CC

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It’s not nice to ignore Mother Nature

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A new book by Geoffrey Heal, professor at Columbia Business School, makes a trenchant point that’s ignored by those currently in power: our prosperity depends on protecting the planet.

Heal did a Q&A interview about his book, Endangered Economies, in the current issue of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ magazine Catalyst. (Heal is also UCS board member and an expert on economics and the environment.)

“The natural world provides everything we depend on,” Heal says. “We get our food from the natural world, we get our drinking water and our oxygen from the natural world, and we evolved as part of it. We simply can’t live without it. Plants create food, and they need pollination from insects and they need rain and they need soil. We can’t synthesize these things. So we really are totally dependent on the natural world in the end. Read the rest of this entry »

Wells Fargo launches “Innovation Incubator” program

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Sunrise at the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.  (Photo by Dennis Schroeder / NREL)

Sunrise at the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder / NREL)

Wells Fargo last week launched an “Innovation Incubator” program (IN2), a $10 million environmental grant program for clean technology startups.

IN2 was announced 28 October at the NREL Industry Growth Forum in Denver and is the first of its kind in the banking industry, according to Wells Fargo. Under the program, clean-tech startups will be identified and recommended by Wells Fargo’s network of technical, financial and industry advisers at laboratories and research facilities across the country.

The first of three rounds of selected companies will be announced early next year, and will receive up to $250,000 for business development needs, research and testing support at NREL’s Golden, CO facility, along with “coaching and mentorship” from Wells Fargo. An independent advisory board of nearly a dozen industry leaders representing the commercial building sector, academia, community organizations, successful entrepreneurs and technical experts will select the final companies to be included in the IN2 program. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

3 November, 2014 at 6:37 am

Airbus electric aircraft flies

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E-Fan Technology Demonstrator (2)_loRecently I wrote about Boeing’s all-electric satellite, which might launch later this year. Not to be outdone, apparently, Airbus Group flew the first all-electric aircraft late last month, called the E-Fan.

The E-Fan is an all-electric trainer aircraft made of composite material.

Leaving jet fuel behind means there is slight hitch: at the moment the the plane can fly for about an hour on a single charge. In any case this is a pretty big deal, because the largest aerospace and defense company in Europe and the world’s leading commercial aircraft manufacturer is backing it, is planning to build the trainer in series and is also planning to use what it learns to eventually develop a regional passenger model. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

20 May, 2014 at 4:03 am

Solar heat

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solar energy_Mike RaySolar is very hot at the moment. A list of cleantech stock picks for 2014 has First Solar (a solar manufacturer) and SolarCity (a solar installer) at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and further down the list are a solar holding company, Renewable Energy Trade Board, and a solar equipment company, Meyer Burger.

There are many reports, including one on another site that I write for on occasion TriplePundit, that the solar market is heading for a “second gold rush” this year; there’s little to dispute the fact that solar is definitely an in thing, especially for investors. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

13 February, 2014 at 4:00 am

Infographic: Do Hybrids Make Sense and Cents?

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Infographic – Get smart about that thermostat

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Vivint Inc., one of the largest home automation companies in North America, designed this infographic. It was sent to me courtesy of Alex Koritz, partner and vice president at Method Communications, a Salt Lake City PR firm. Vivint provides services to about 500,000 customers through its offices in Provo, UT, South St. Paul, MN, and Calgary, AB.

Vivint says its mission is to help families “live intelligently by creating simple, affordable home automation systems where all devices work together to enhance safety and convenience and improve energy efficiency.”

It seems like such a simple step: Time to get smart and green on the home front.

Written by William DiBenedetto

15 August, 2012 at 2:01 am

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