Recent Posts:

MIT Boosts Fuel Cell Efficiency With A New Way to Spread Catalysts

Michael Kanellos: October 15, 2009, 1:32 PM

Platinum. It's one of the many banes of the fuel cell industry.

The catalytic membranes inside of methanol fuel cells are coated with it: it helps convert hydrocarbons into electric power. Platinum also helps eliminate particulates in the catalytic converter in your car. Although companies like Nanostellar are developing platinum substitutes, platinum remains the industry standard and it's not getting any cheaper. A few years ago, thieves would steal converters out of big rigs to get at platinum.

MIT researchers, led by associate professor of mechanical engineering and material science Yang Shao-Horn, have come up with a way to double the efficiency of fuel cells by creating...

Nanosolar’s CEO Speaks, Doesn’t Say Much

Eric Wesoff: October 15, 2009, 1:09 AM

Nanosolar is a poster child for Silicon Valley solar innovation.

What does it have?

  • Half a billion in venture and strategic investment? Check.
  • Top shelf VC investors? Check.
  • Secretive and allegedly disruptive technology? Check.
  • Ornery technology? Check.
  • Ornery and driven CEO? Check.
  • Billions in alleged order backlog? Check.
  • Periodic rumors of them being the next monster IPO in greentech? Check.

It's been hard to separate fact from fiction with this company. And that's been its prerogative. It's a privately held firm and doesn't have to disclose a thing if it doesn't want to. Which is one reason why Nanosolar CEO Martin Roscheisen's short speech filled the 327 person capacity...

GE Also Invests in Grid Net, Tendril

Jeff St. John: October 14, 2009, 11:59 AM

General Electric's undisclosed, first-time investment in Israel-based SolarEdge Technologies was matched by two other investments in companies with which GE has quite a bit of experience.

Those would be Tendril, the maker of home energy management technology, and Grid Net, the GE-backed maker of software and systems for WiMax-enabled smart meters. GE's investment arm, GE Energy Financial Services, announced the investments Wednesday.

While GE hadn't invested in Tendril before, it and the Boulder, Colo.-based startup have a partnership to use Tendril's software platform to enable GE's planned line of "smart" home appliances that can turn on and off via homeowner or utility commands to...

Nanosolar’s Patent-Pending PV is Encapsulated But Boxless

Eric Lane: October 13, 2009, 12:40 PM

Nansolar, a San Jose, California thin-film solar company, has made a lot of press announcements lately for various news items, including opening a solar panel assembly facility in Germany, boosting its CIGS cells’ efficiency and unveiling new Utility Panel technology (read the Greentech Media story here).

According to Nanosolar, its Utility Panel is the first solar electricity panel specifically designed for utility-scale systems. 

The company’s white paper says the new solar panel provides electrical benefits (increased power per panel), reliability benefits (better sealing and encapsulation to prevent moisture damage) and mechanical benefits (superior strength due to tempered glass...

A Jet Flies on Natural Gas: A Market Finally for GTL?

Michael Kanellos: October 13, 2009, 10:24 AM

Gas-to-liquid fuels have been under development by Shell and ExxonMobil in Qatar for a number of years. The high expense, however, has made it a difficult sell for the car and truck industry.

This week, Qatar Airways flew an Airbus 340-800 jet from London to Doha flying a 50-50 blend of kerosene and GTL from Royal Dutch Shell, according to Reuters. The fuel mix cuts down particulate and sulfur dioxide. Airbus has said that 30 percent of jet fuel may have to come from clean alternatives by 2030. And planes will inevitably continue to run on liquid fuel – the nuclear plane and the battery-powered plane aren't likely alternatives.

You can drink GTL too. I kid you not.

If development...

A 1GW PV and Solar Thermal Plant for the DOD

Michael Kanellos: October 12, 2009, 5:18 PM

Not only will it be big, it will involve the two main types of solar.

Acciona Solar Power, Clark Energy Group and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin development of a 1-gigawatt plus power plant at Fort Irwin in California this Thursday.

The plant will include both photovoltaic panels as well as mirrors and turbines for solar thermal power. Consider this the wave of the future. Some companies are already moving toward hybrid power plants which combine gas turbines with solar thermal systems to keep a more constant flow of power on cloudy days. A PV-thermal farm ideally will let landholders maximize their real estate by plunking down solar panels in corners of land where more...

Supporters Come Out for TV Standards on Eve of Fight

Michael Kanellos: October 12, 2009, 3:32 PM

Last week, manufacturers voiced their concerns about proposed standards from the California Energy Commission that would limit power consumption in TVs. The Los Angeles Times also issued an editorial criticizing the regulations as bureaucratic overkill that could hurt the entertainment industry. A hearing is slated for tomorrow morning in Sacramento.

This week, the Sacramento Bee issued a response in favor of the regulations.

"The new rules are expected to save consumers $18 to $30 per year in utility bills for each television in their home. Once fully phased in, the rules will save enough electricity to power more than 850,000 single-family homes equivalent to the population of...