Productive Product: Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology are working on solar cells that can be painted or printed onto flexible plastic sheets. Head researcher Prof. Somenath Mitra predicts that someday, consumers will be able to make these cells using their computer printers
Op-Ed: My hobby outside of life at ECN is collecting and restoring vintage computers. I write a blog about the hobby and, for my personal collection, I focus on portable systems. Last week I interviewed Henry Laxen who ran software development for a small company called Friends Amis in the early-to-mid 1980s. Friends Amis designed the Hand Held Computer
Energy News: There's a good article in The New York Times about the promise vs. the realities of solar energy research. The best thing of solar energy is that it's infinite, at least for the next few billion years -- scientists agree on that much. But solar energy has an image problem. The new movie Sunshine
Energy News:This made it onto Slashdot today but in case you missed it, a company called Range Fuels is ready to build America's first cellulosic ethanol production factory. Unlike sugar ethanol, which can only be made from certain plants, cellulose ethanol can be extracted
Productive Product: What's the difference between speeding and not turning light offs when you leave a room? When you speed, there are cops and signs to remind you. But when you leave the lights on, or your computers, TVs, and other gadgets, the power they waste just disappears into a lump-sum electricity bill. That's why an alliance of UK energy companies
Productive Product: We last gave an update on electric sports cars three months ago but now we're hearing about ZAP ("Zero Air Pollution") which is promising a $60,000 crossover SUV that goes 0-60 in 4.8 seconds and can travel 350 miles with one charge.
Energy News: Pressed recently about the need for alternative energy research, Exxon's CEO persisted on a traditional tack: "We're in the business of oil and gas." But Shell's CEO is being more progressive. "Well, you won't see me in an SUV. And I've just installed solar electricity panels on my roof," he told U.S. News & World Report.
Energy News: Cleantech America is planning the world's largest solar farm, at 640 acres, for completion in 2011 in Fresno, California. At 80 megawatts, that would dwarf the current largest solar farms in the 4-5 megawatt range.
Op-Ed: Want to save $119 and deprive Earth of 1,405 pounds of CO2? Then all you have to do is activate your computers' power management settings, tech writer Larry Magid notes (but you'll have to register to read this one.) Computers and other common home electronics
Energy News: Yesterday was Independence Day here in the US, which serves as a nice reminder that we're all free to be foolish from time to time. On the energy front, some people do this conspicuously, such as driving large SUVs for no particular reason. Others are more subtle: would you believe that some people still go for perpetual energy?
Energy News: AgriPower Inc. is preparing to commercialize its biomass burners. These aren't quite the Mr. Fusion gadgets commonly found on your time machine, but the idea is similar: rather than paying to haul away your trash, why not
Energy News: Replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps is a simple way to save energy, but a new technology using microwave power may soon lead to traditional(-ish) bulbs that last for thousands of hours. According to The Economist, researchers at Ceravision are perfecting a bulb with no filament, and therefore
Productive Product: Solar power worked pretty well for calculators in the 1980s, and now it's available in cell phones from China's Hi-Tech Wealth company. Like any other new technology, this does not come cheap: think about the $500 range and for now it's only available in China. But it's a great way to show off your green-friendliness to friends and colleagues without having to invest in a hybrid car
Productive Product: Google.org is giving up to $11 million for hybrid vehicle research, with the goal of developing plug-in vehicles capable of reaching 70 to 100 miles per gallon. Google also hopes the project, dubbed RechargeIT, will lead to development of
Op-Ed: It happened a month ago: two months after founding The Efficiency Zone, someone in readerland finally posted a reply. They said, "You're an idiot. Energy efficient design is not about saving mother earth. It's about delivering a device that lasts on a battery all day such as a cell phone. All the new devices stress low power needs to keep the battery going, not because an extra mWh is gonna lessen the carbon foot print on Motorola."