Thursday, December 27, 2007

Solar Surges Ahead

This blog entry on Grist Environmental News and Commentary points out that Nanosolar has shipped its first panels, and that the company means business. Its new factory in San Jose will be producing more panels than all other companies in the US combined. These panels are printed thin-film cells. Significantly, the commentator points out that the price of these panels will undercut the price of new coal production. Read about it here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Transportation Developments

Here's a fun article about a guy who's a motorhead with a talent for hotrodding big vehicles to be both more powerful and more efficient--often with the ability to run on a variety of fuels. For example, he's modified a Hummer to get twice the mileage with twice the power using a diesel motor which can run on grease as well. He's cut CO2 emissions, too, by as much as 80% in some of the cars he's messed with. In many cases he uses 90% factory parts, and he wonders why the big boys can't do this stuff themselves. The article suggests they're starting to take notice. Read all about the Motorhead Messiah here.

Then, this story reports on a company that's promoting the use of giant parachute kites for reducing energy needs in ocean shipping. Computer chips are used to measure winds and maximize efficiency of these systems. The company aims to equip 1500 ships by 2015. Read about the Football field-sized kites for ships here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Being Green Can Produce Jobs

With the US economy on the rocks or near to it, some look to the green business sector for hope. In the book Natural Capitalism (which I couldn't recommend more highly) Hunter and Amory Lovins and Paul Hawken argue--for one thing--that there's huge money to be made and limitless work available in the field of fixing the planet.

Here's a story from Time Magazine which makes the same point. Van Jones (pictured above) is promoting programs that "Give the work that most needs to be done to the people who most need the work." The article says his message is to "solve two pressing problems--pollution and poverty--at once."

Other pertinent ideas:
"For the environmental movement, embracing Jones' message means recasting global warming not just as an existential threat but as an enormous economic opportunity."
"A study by the Cleantech Network, which tracks green investment, found that for every $100 million in green venture capital, 250,000 new jobs could be created."
By my math, that's just $400 per job. Hmmm...

It's a short article. Go read it all.