Productive Product: It’s tough to say exactly what the word “Zonbu” implies. Is it: A., the name of a millionaire’s estate, B. an unpopular central-African republic, C. some kind of vegetarian dessert, or D., just a made-up word because all the good names for a high-tech company are taken?
Op-Ed: Apple Inc. co-founder and legendary hacker Steve Wozniak recently found a new passion in energy-efficient housing. Last month he told PC World magazine, "I have a long dream to build my own house in a very energy-efficient approach," and here at ECN we thought you'd like to know more. So we interviewed Woz by email. Here is a transcript
Productive Product: What happens when you combine carbon nanotubes and electrolytes, embedded in paper? You create a flexible battery which can be molded into any shape and even cut with scissors, according to faculty and students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Center for Biotechnology.
Op-Ed: Last week I wrote about energy harvesting; here is a new example. MIT researchers are studying ways to power anything from subway trains to rock concerts by capturing the power of simple movements -- in these two cases it's the movement of human feet -- and to borrow
Op-Ed: If the world’s industrial and information cultures are going Earth-friendly, then we’ll need a new generation of trained technical professionals to be leaders. Universities are catching on to this demand by offering a variety of courses devoted to clean technology. Here in ECN’s home state of New Jersey, three top-flight schools exemplify the trend – the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, and Stevens Institute of Technology.
Energy News: Massachusetts history is rich in technology, not just colonial times. Now its local companies are making new history in the clean-tech field -- it's the fastest growing job market, surveyors found. "Of the current 14,400 jobs attributed to the sector, 6,258 are in energy efficiency
Productive Product: What if physics research into levitation could lead to frictionless electromechanics? Levitation is cool, but think of all the power you'd save in new product designs. It may soon be possible because scientists at the University of St. Andrews figured
Energy News: Tomorrow's data centers may not need any help with air conditioning, due to new R&D in server and appliance cooling techniques, and that process may yeild tax breaks, eWeek magazine reports. For cooling, the major hardware companies are working on
Energy News: The number of construction consultants calling themselves "green" experts is skyrocketing. They have varied backgrounds, such as in business, engineering, or general contracting, and there may be some without real qualifications at all.
Op-Ed: I keep seeing articles about energy harvesting, which is the concept of generating electricity from life's daily movements. The latest reference is in this Associated Press story about environmentally friendly nightclubs -- a non-profit group called Enviu is working on a dance floor that captures
Energy News: The U.S. Department of Defense's ARPA -- Advanced Research Projects Agency -- is a hugely successful organization, most famous in academic and civilian circles for funding the original Internet research (no, it wasn't made by Al Gore.) Now Congress hopes to copy that
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.