Recent Posts:

The coming trend in biofuels: burgers

Michael Kanellos: May 14, 2008, 11:29 AM

Flippin\' good

This past weekend, I was talking about a tech company with a friend of mine. The company in question looked promising, but the exit strategy patently seemed geared toward a quick sale.

“It’s a burger,"? he said. “Born to flip."?

That description will become more common in the world of biofuels. A whole raft of cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel and butanol companies have launched in recent years and gathered hundreds of millions in venture capital. Their processing techniques range from futuristic (getting microbes to convert plant matter into alcohol) to slightly retro (employing the Fischer-Tropsch method once used by the Third Reich to turn coal into tank fuel to convert leaves into...

Luxim unveils the svelte streetlight

Michael Kanellos: May 14, 2008, 8:00 AM
That\'s a real quarter Someday, downtown streets may be lit with bulbs the size of a Tic Tac. Luxim, a lighting start-up in Silicon Valley, has released a lamp--the elegantly named LIFI STA-40-01—that delivers as much or more light than a standard street light. The trick is that it consumes less power. The new lamp cranks out 120 lumens per watt. Top-end LEDs provide around 70 lumens per watt. High-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, which you see on light poles today, get about 90 lumens per watt. HIDs are also quite large, which means a heavier street light or spotlight. The bulb at the center of Luxim's lamps is only a centimeter or so long. It looks like a Christmas tree light. You can pick...

Dell to cut PC power consumption by 25 percent by 2010

Michael Kanellos: May 14, 2008, 6:39 AM
There will be less heat coming out of your Dell PC in the future. The Round Rock, Texas-based PC giant has set a target of cutting the power consumption on its laptops and desktops by 25 percent in 2010, according to a report from Martin LaMonica at That will mean lower power bills for large companies—close to two-thirds of the power in PCs never gets used for a productive use, according to some estimates. A lot of that power gets converted to heat (reach around and touch the back of your computer). Idle time also consumes a lot of power. The company will also do the same for its servers. Last month, Michael Dell showed off a compact desktop that uses 70 percent...

Strange Bedfellows: Jim Rogers Joins Applied Materials’s Board

Daniel Englander: May 14, 2008, 5:35 AM
Applied Materials has appointed Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers to its board of directors. Applied is one of a handful of dominant PV production equipment manufacturers, though it only entered that market about two years ago. It's devoted a ton of resources recently with the aim of beating out Oerlikon for market share in the thin film production equipment industry. So, what's the dealio, yo? One clue is Duke's recent plan to invest $100 million in solar power. North Carolina's RPS requires utilities to hit a 12.5 percent target by 2012. Duke, which is one of the largest utilities in North Carolina (and the U.S. - 4 million customers with 36,000 MW of good ole' American coal power),...

The Morning Feedstock

Daniel Englander: May 14, 2008, 1:29 AM
The House and Senate voted separately yesterday to halt daily shipments to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The reserve was created in 1973 in the aftermath of the OPEC embargo, and stocks today stand at close to 727 million barrels. Estimates of the effects the removal of 70,000 barrels per day moving into the reserve will have on gas prices are varied. Energy analyst Kevin Book doesn't think it will have that much of an effect, saying "70,000 barrels is a rounding error. It is not material in an 85.7 million barrel per day market." He echoed a U.S. Energy Information Administration report saying the reduction would cut four or five cents from the price of a gallon of gas. House...