Viewing posts tagged: "Efficiency"

Greentech Innovations: Storing Wind Power With Sodium Batteries

Michael Kanellos: November 9, 2008, 2:17 PM
The wind blows. In more ways than one. Timing has always been the bane of wind farms. Winds can be stronger at night in California and Texas than in the day. Unfortunately, most regional customers are asleep, so utilities and power providers often have to dump the power generated by windmills during the wee hours. When utilities dump power, not only do they lose a sale, they lose the attendant tax credits. GeoBattery will try to solve this problem with sodium sulfur batteries, said CEO Dan Vogler. Sodium batteries are one of the best vehicles on the market for storing electrons. (Vogler will speak at the upcoming Greentech Innovations End to End Electricity conference on...

A Fondue for Steel: Greentech on the Factory Floor

Michael Kanellos: November 7, 2008, 1:36 PM
What steel really needs is a fine bath in an acid degreaser. So says Robert Patterson, product manager from NexChem, which was a runner up in the energy-efficiency category at the California Clean Tech Open. NexChem has devised a process, called SteelCleaner Pro, that eliminates many of the steps necessary for processing and finishing steel. Traditionally, steel needs to be run through a twelve step chemical cleaning process. Otherwise, it rusts and becomes useless. NexChem has it down to five steps. The NexChem process also only takes about 20 to 30 minutes, way less than the hour-per-beam time for the traditional process. Overall, this cuts down on the amount of nasty...

CarbonFlow, the How-To Guys in Carbon Credits, Get More Cash

Michael Kanellos: November 6, 2008, 6:55 PM
CarbonFlow, which has developed software tools that the company says will make it easier for organizations to devise strategies and corporate policies for managing carbon credits, has pulled in more money from investors, this time from @Ventures. Other investors include Clean Pacific Ventures, OVP Venture Partners and Meridian Energy. Think of this as Sarbanes-Oxley services for the green market. Carbon regulation is already in place in Europe and will likely be imposed in the U.S. in the near future. Barack Obama wants to reduce carbon emissions to 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050. (whoops--that said 2010 earlier.) But measuring, tracking and putting a value on emissions, and...

Intel: The Secret Alumni Club of Greentech Execs

Michael Kanellos: November 5, 2008, 5:56 AM

Will the high-tech world ever get away from Intel?

Probably not. The company supplies chips for around 80 percent of the world’s PCs and servers and heavily influences the standards for packaging, manufacturing, lithography and computer design.

But the company also plays a large, and often unseen role, in corporate management. Intel alumni are everywhere, and they take their aggressive obsessions with numbers, manufacturability, constructive confrontation (i.e., yelling at meetings; drinking afterward), scalability and "two-in-a-box" management wherever they go. Two of Silicon Valley’s most storied VCs, John Doerr and Bill Davidow, came from the Intel sales department. Chip...

Greentech Innovations: Smart Meter Technology Deployed for Heart Patients

Michael Kanellos: November 4, 2008, 2:52 AM
GainSpan has a chip that can curb energy consumption in the home, and notify your doctor if you're about to have a heart attack. The company has produced an energy efficient WiFi chip that it hopes to install in dryers, electrical meters and other devices in the home. The idea is that utilities and consumers will shut off and/or power down  appliances with wireless signals remotely to curb electricity consumption. GainSpan is currently working with manufacturers to insert its chip into cold storage units, meters and other devices. Hitachi Plant Technologies, the industrial technology arm of the Japanese giant, makes sensors incorporating GainSpan's chips. The company was spun...

HP Puts a Power Cap on Servers, Saves Millions

Michael Kanellos: November 3, 2008, 5:28 AM
Think of Dynamic Power Capping from Hewlett-Packard as a circuit breaker for the circuit breaker. The company has devised a technology (embodied in software and hardware) that effectively prevents servers and other equipment from exceeding a pre-set electrical threshold and thus tripping the breakers. If a datacenter (or some portion of a large one) is only supposed to get 1,000 kilowatts of power, that's all it will get. Setting a finite limit on power consumption in turn allows datacenter managers to reduce their margin of error, explained Peter Gross, CEO of EYP Mission Critical Facilities, a company that designs datacenters. (Hewlett-Packard bought it and made EYP a...

Will the Computer Giants Invade Lighting Too?

Michael Kanellos: October 31, 2008, 4:14 AM
This year, we saw Intel, IBM, LG and others jump into the solar market, following a path blazed by Applied Materials two years ago. Cisco, Freescale and several startups like GainSpan are busy porting wireless chips and equipment originally designed for consumer electronics and computers into smart meters and energy efficient appliances. WiMax, the wireless broadband protocol, is coming to connect homes and utilities. What will the computer world colonize next? Probably lighting. Solid state light sources such as LEDs, plasma lights and OLEDs are expected to become popular over the next five to ten years as the price declines and mass manufacturing cranks up. Right now, LEDs...