Hi, all. If you’ve stumbled upon this site now, please note we’ve moved to www.svmgreenbits.com. We’re still sharing our favorite green news with you every day, so please check us out at our new home.
As sponsor of MIT’s Clean Energy Prize, a new national student competition designed to stimulate clean energy innovation and entrepreneurship, we get to work with the winners to help them position and promote their technologies. Last week, the top five finalists were announced: Husk Insulation (University of Michigan); Process Water Absorbers (MIT); Troy Research Corporation (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); Sun Point (MIT and Yale); and Levant Power (MIT). SVM is looking forward to helping them bring their innovations to market in the months ahead.
Skyline Solar recently emerged from stealth mode, after an impressive 8-month R&D program from prototype to product, with the announcement of one of the first new high-gain solar (HGS) arrays on the market. The new HGS technology includes some well-known components of the more highly technical mega-arrays that brighten the arid regions of the globe, including motorized solar tracking, solar concentration, and thermal cooling.
According to Chief Executive Bob McDonald, the new arrays generate 10 to 50 times the yield of traditional systems as just a fraction of the cost. He also noted that this is accomplished using only one-tenth of the amount of silicon and less than half the parts of comparable systems. A trial installation is already generating electricity in San Jose, CA. This is one we’re definitely keeping an eye on!
With the big lighting event this week in NYC (LIGHTFAIR ’09) – all eyes are on the best and brightest in the world of LEDs. And with all the incredible innovation, it was interesting to read today in Eric Taub’s technology column for the NY Times that there are still no entries in the twenty million dollar contest for an LED-powered lamp capable of replacing a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb. Sponsored by the Department of Energy the contest was announced at LIGHTFAIR last year, the prize will go to the company that can produce a solid-state replacement for the ubiquitous household bulb or the PAR 38 halogen bulb commonly used in businesses. The “L Prize” (short for Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize) will not only provide cash but also lucrative contracts with government organizations and heavy marketing and promotion support from partnering public utilities. Currently, there are 23 of these utility partners covering 29 states – pretty impressive market coverage for the winner! Looking at the opportunity ahead, I wonder which of the LED innovators will rise to the challenge. . . I only wish our light bulb was worth 20 million!
Renewable energy company Genifuel Corporation today announced a license from Pacific Northwest National Labs for a process to turn algae into natural gas. The company began as an algae biodiesel company, but discovered that making liquid fuel wasn’t feasible, given the problems presented by genetic modification requirements, leftover biomass, and the arduous water separation process. A few companies in the space are devising techniques to work around this, but Genifuel has taken its technology and done something even cooler.
Now it takes algae that grows in ponds and actually cooks it, which produces a synthetic gas that is 65% methane and 35% carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is pumped back into the algae ponds as food, and voila! We’re left with a natural gas that will actually require lower subsidies than its liquid algae counterpart to be competitive with fossil fuels.
Genifuel is still looking for funding (isn’t every innovator these days?), but these guys definitely deserve at least a second look from a VC. Way to take lemons (or in this case, slimy green plants), and turn them into… well, energy.
Forrester Research predicts that the green IT services market could grow by as much as 60 percent per year into 2013, when it will peak at $4.8 billion before leveling off.
According to a report issued by Forrester analyst Chris Mines on April 24th, businesses are deploying sustainability metrics around criteria such as water and power use, and are also starting to track their corporate carbon footprint. Many enterprises are looking to IT services firms to help plan and implement green IT initiatives, and while the global recession is putting a squeeze on IT spending, it also is persuading corporations to optimize their existing IT assets rather than buy new ones, and is fueling the federal government’s drive to fund green projects.
According to an article in eWeek by Jeffrey Burt, there were some positive and negative factors that went into calculating the latest projections. The global recession is expected to cause worldwide IT spending to shrink by 3 percent this year over 2008—with IT services and outsourcing spending falling along the same lines. In addition, the recession’s negative impact on corporate capital spending convinced Mine to reduce the average spend on a green IT project’s implementation phase from about $1 million to $800,000, reflecting the interest by businesses to optimize existing IT assets rather than buy new ones.
Read Jeffrey Burt’s article at http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Green-IT/Green-IT-Service-Market-to-Grow-to-48-Billion-in-2013-Forrester-587606/
Google’s environmental efforts just got a little bit greener – and a whole lot cuter – over the weekend, when the company announced that it has hired a herd of goats to maintain its fields. That’s right, the company is bringing in 200 goats to clear weeds and brush from its property. According to Google real estate director Dan Hoffman, such a low-carbon approach to property maintenance aligns witb Google’s environmental philosophy, and delivers some side benefits as well – “It costs us about the same as moving, and goats are a lot cuter to watch than lawn mowers.”