Recent Posts:

An Oil for Utilities. It’s Superfine!

Michael Kanellos: January 7, 2009, 2:30 PM
Superfine. No, it's not a lost album classic from the late Rick James. It's the brand name of a recycled oil for transformers produced by England's Hydrodec. The company signed a deal with Consolidated Edison, New York's mega-utility, this week under which ConEd will deliver 450,00 gallons of spent transformer fuel to Hydrodec a year. In turn, Hydrodec will turn the spent oil into Superfine (I just can't get enough of that name) and then sell it to transformer manufacturers. Recycling essentially will obviate the need to dig up new fossil fuels. It should also cut down on pollution. Now, used transformer oil is sold to the secondary market. These new customers take it and...

Solar Maker Odersun Gets New CEO

Michael Kanellos: January 7, 2009, 10:59 AM
Odersun, the German maker of flexible copper indium disulphide (CIS) solar cells, has named Hein van der Zeeuw CEO. He replaces Ramin Lavae Mokhtari, who helped guide the company from the R&D phase to early manufacturing. Under Mokhtari, Odersun raised a $60 million B round in early 2008 from Virgin Green Fund, PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund, AGF Private Equity, Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures, and Advanced Technology & Materials. It also received ~$30 million in German government funding. The money was largely used to erect a 30-megawatt-a-year factory. The idea is that van der Zeeuw will now beef up mass manufacturing and sales. Before Odersun, he was part of the...

A Clunker for Quercus: Odyne Suspends Operations

Michael Kanellos: January 7, 2009, 7:30 AM
You can't win 'em all, particularly when you have so many. Odyne, which wanted to make propulsion systems for hybrid buses and trucks, said late yesterday that it is calling it quits. "Odyne retained Matrix USA, LLC to explore strategic alternatives. These efforts have not been successful. Accordingly, Odyne today announced that, after careful consideration, it has determined to wind-down the operations of the company, terminate substantially all of its employees, discontinue its operating leases, resolve its outstanding liabilities and liquidate its remaining assets," the company said in a statement. The company is one of the 47 we've found...

It’s Not All Rainbows and Unicorns

Darryl Siry: January 7, 2009, 3:00 AM
While the prevailing campaign optimism was that the Obama administration would be able to address all of the country's problems, the reality is that tough trade-offs will need to be made. Many of these trade-offs will, of course, upset supporters who assumed that the new administrations decisions would fall in a direction that favors their personal interests. For example, will Obama stand firm and demand strict concessions from UAW as he catches the problems that the Bush administration punted to him? Or will he avoid alienating his UAW supporters at the expense of a competitive U.S. auto industry? Another example: how will Obama walk the line between broader economic recovery...

LED Shareholder Derivative Suit Has an IP Twist

Eric Lane: January 7, 2009, 2:30 AM
This is something I haven’t seen before: a shareholder derivative action for patent infringement. BaoLiang Wang (Plaintiff Wang) is a 22 percent shareholder of a small California LED sign maker called Sun LED Sign Supply Inc. (Sun). Last month, Plaintiff Wang sued Sun, two of its directors, Xiao Ping Wang (Defendant Wang) and Wei Rong Fang, as well as JT LED USA (JT), Sunfire LED LLC (Sunfire) and The LED Inc. in federal court in Los Angeles, alleging patent infringement against all defendants and unfair competition against the two directors of Sun. The patent at issue is U.S. Patent No. 7,245,279 (’279 patent), for which Defendant Wang is the named inventor. The...

Pentagon Goes Green With Cree LEDs

Jeff St. John: January 6, 2009, 2:32 PM
The Pentagon — known for such money-saving ventures as the mythical $600 hammer and wildly over-budget weapons development projects — is taking a crack at saving electricity with energy-efficient lighting. Cree Inc. (NDSQ: CREE) said Tuesday that it has a deal to install 4,200 of its light-emitting diode (LED) recessed luminaires in Wedge 5 of the Pentagon. The LEDs are expected to use 22 percent less power than the fluorescent lights they will replace, enough to pay back their extra cost in four years, the company said. LEDs are power-sippers compared to incandescent and fluorescent lights, and they're already in wide use for traffic lights, billboards and other outdoor...

Apple Copies Mitsubishi, Skips Zinc in New Notebook

Michael Kanellos: January 6, 2009, 10:21 AM
Well, here's a surprise. A lot of people, including me, thought Apple would adopt the zinc silver batteries from ZPower in its 17-inch notebook. ZPower, after all, is slated to soon announce a notebook win with a major manufacturer. It turns out that Apple has rigged its notebook with a lithium-polymer battery that it designed itself (with probably a good deal of help from battery makers.) Lithium-polymer batteries don't come shaped in cells, like standard batteries. Instead, they are sacks of electronic goo. Lithium-polymer batteries typically don't share the same energy density that lithium-ion cell batteries have, but the amorphous shape allows notebook makers or others to...