Recent Posts:

New Englanders Gripe About LED Billboards

Michael Kanellos: March 5, 2009, 7:21 PM
Advertisers love them, but drivers and residents around Boston say that billboards made with light emitting diodes are irritating. The billboards -- which flash signs about low mortgage rates and podiatry clinics -- are far easier to switch around, thereby cutting their costs and improving ad churn. Advertisers say that drivers pay attention to them too. But they aren't popular, according to the Boston Globe. (As a side note, because there's less paper involved, the signs are arguably more eco-friendly than paper billboard and far better than neon.) "It's like trying to watch TV driving down the street," Craig Bower, 40, of Beverly, told the Globe. The best ad is one for...

Gemini Solar Snags First Utility Contract

Ucilia Wang: March 5, 2009, 1:59 PM

It’s official: Gemini Solar Development, a new joint venture between Suntech Power Holdings and MMA Renewable Ventures, has scored its first project.

The City of Austin on Thursday awarded Gemini a $250 million, 25-year contract to sell electricity from a 30-megawatt solar power plant. The plant, which is scheduled to begin producing electricity in 2010 to customers of city-owned Austin Energy, will be built on 350 acres of city-owned land, the city said. Gemini, based in San Francisco, will be responsible for operating and maintaining the power plant.

The deal would help the municipal utility meet its goal of obtaining 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by the...

Some Progress on My Startup ‘Plato’s Forms’

Darryl Siry: March 5, 2009, 1:23 PM
I've talked a bit on this blog and left various cryptic messages on Twitter and Facebook about the new startup company I have founded and am working on. I have a few bits of news to add: For starters, the provisional name of my new startup is "Plato's Forms." I say this is provisional because I may change the name prior to launch depending on how it grows on me and how the business model and product evolves (as they tend to do.) The inspiration for the name is quite simple: When I first conceived of the business idea and the problems I was trying to solve, I kept thinking back to Plato's Allegory of the Cave. After the usual endless iterations of what I might call the...

Cal Air Resources Board Proposes New Fuel Standard

Ucilia Wang: March 5, 2009, 12:56 PM

The California Air Resources Board released a draft regulation Thursday to require the use of alternative transportation fuels in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

CARB released the proposal for the Low Carbon Fuel Standard that would promote alternative fuel use and enable the state to meet its emissions reductions goals. Fuel producers, importers, refiners and blenders will have to start providing fuels to meet the standard starting in 2011. The standard is based on calculations carried out by CARB's staff on the greenhouse gas emissions that can be produced by the production, transportation and use of various types of fuels.

One of the goals for enacting a new fuel standard...

Ecolite: Cleantech Concrete for Green Buildings

Eric Lane: March 5, 2009, 12:19 PM

Ecolite Concrete (Ecolite) is a San Diego company that provides sustainable construction materials using proprietary modeling software and a patent-pending system for making pre-fabricated concrete (read the Sustainable Industries article here) The manufacturing process starts with project plans developed by the company’s EcoCad modeling and engineering software, which produces a shop drawing of each wall panel.  Ecolite has filed an application to register the EcoCad service mark for “computer-aided engineering services for others (77194288_app.pdf). The wall panel info is sent to roll-forming machines, where the shop drawing is translated into appropriately sized and marked steel...

Would-Be Biofuel IPO Declares Bankruptcy

Jeff St. John: March 5, 2009, 8:24 AM
Changing World Technologies has gone from floating the possibility of an IPO to filing for bankruptcy in little more than a month's time. The West Hemppstead, N.Y.-based biofuel maker filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, saying it had faced the threat of running out of cash at the end of March and would lay off most of its staff, including 50 workers at its biofuel plant in Carthage, Mo. Changing World raised eyebrows in January when it declared it was ready to go public through an unusual "OpenIPO" auction process. After all, the credit crisis and economic downturn drove down the number of IPOs in 2008 to their lowest level since 1978, according to Renaissance...

Corn Ethanol Worse for Environment Than Leaving Land Alone, But Cellulosic Seems Good

Michael Kanellos: March 5, 2009, 3:28 AM
A new study from Duke University (by way of Green Car Congress) indicates that we're probably better off from an environmental perspective by leaving fields fallow and not trying to grow corn ethanol at all. The researchers, after analyzing 142 soil studies and extrapolating forward, found that the greenhouse gases reduced by running cars on corn ethanol are largely offset by the carbon released in the corn farming and harvesting. Corn farming releases 30 percent to 50 percent of the carbon in soil, according to Gervasio Piñeiro, the lead researcher. When consumed in cars, corn ethanol produces 20 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gas at the tailpipe. Corn ethanol,...