Energy News: Researchers found bacteria that can transform light into chemical energy -- a method of photosynthesis still not completely understood by science, but which could become an energy windfall if it's duplicatable by industry. The discovery happened at the famed Yellowstone National Park. The bacterium has "light-harvesting antennae known as chlorosomes
Energy News: Said the fictional Nick Sundin: "These 'eco' products are amazing -- they've totally changed my life Now, I just toss my used Seventh Generation-brand paper plates out the car window, knowing they'll soon be absorbed into the earth."
Productive Product: The city of Sacramento will soon test a system for regenerative braking on its light-rail trains. The idea is to capture the heat energy that exits trains when they're braking, and redirect that energy back into the grid. Similar technology is already used in hybrid cars, so this isn't too experimental, and therefore the prospects look good for taking it into production.
Energy News: Now this is innovative: a 93-year-old, 250,000 sq. ft. factory in Chicago is becoming a shopping, office, and housing complex exclusively for environmentally-friendly products and services. The local government is almost done with the permit approvals stage. There is a similar location in Oregon but not on this scale and not as diverse.
Productive Product: Kanguru Solutions announced the Eco Drive, an external hard drive with three power-saving modes. Its software automatically gauges drive usage to reduce power consumption and extends the life of the drive itself. In idle mode, the Eco Drive operates at 80 percent of normal consumption after 3 seconds of inactivity; in standby mode it
Energy News: Britain's IT Week nicely summarizes the status of an expected Energy Star program for computer servers. A tiered system and various subcategories are likely, EPA and industry experts agree. (Desktops, laptops, and other computer products are already
Energy News: Oil shale and tar sands aren't exactly "alternative" energy sources in the non-fossil sense, but they are plentiful here in the United States. A new report from the Department of Energy explains the emerging technology used to harvest these
Op-Ed: It's crazy to think that American farms can supply enough corn biofuel to make any substantial dent into the energy crisis, columnist John Wasik says. Illinois is America's best place to grow corn, and even if you bulldozed the whole state (including Chicago), you'd only
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.