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Energy & Green Tech

Wildfires in the American West: Can Technology Help Save Lives?

In the wake of the June 3oth Granite Mountain tragedy, in which 19 of 20 members of an elite Hotshots team died fighting a huge wildfire outside Yarnell, Arizona—the greatest loss of firefighters in a single day since the 9-11 attacks—there is a shift in focus toward the “new normal.” Prevention and preparedness clearly are not enough; by all accounts, the Hotshots were experienced, well-prepared experts, an elite force combat-trained to handle even the toughest wilderness fires. This fire, said their local fire chief, was “just too dangerous.”   More

Energy & Green Tech Global Tech

Power Outages and Military Roadblocks? In Lebanon, There’s an App for That

The hassles of day-to-day life in Beirut, Lebanon, where tech entrepreneurship is growing, have led to some innovative apps. Daily electricity cuts are standard in the capital. Some families have backup generators. Moustafa Baalbaki’s does not. That led him to his breakthrough local app, Beirut Electricity, which tracks the rolling three-hour outages and predicts when the power will be on days, weeks, months, or even years in advance. “My dad used to have a manual [power-outage tracker] on the refrigerator made from paper. I thought, ‘I can do better. I am a software engineer,’” says Baalbaki, who works for KnowledgeView, a UK cross-platform publishing company.   More

Energy & Green Tech Global Tech

Reason Comes to China-Western Solar Clash

After more than a year of antagonism, I’m happy to see that the voice of reason finally seems to be coming to the ongoing clash between China and the West in their prolonged dispute over Beijing’s state support for the solar panel sector. Germany seems to be the driving force behind this welcome change in tone, following German Chancellor Angela Merckel’s remarks last week that she opposed anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar cells being proposed by the E.U.’s trade office. Merkel correctly realized that a trade war over solar panels wouldn’t benefit anyone, and could potentially deal a crippling blow to a sector that will be critical to the world’s future energy security.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Going the Distance: Tesla to Expand Network of Charging Stations

With an expanding network of fast-charging stations, the 10-year-old Tesla electric car will soon be able to traverse the United States. This signals the next phase in Tesla Motors Inc.’s ability to appeal to a more geographically diverse market. “Tesla needs a broader network of charging stations to appeal to customers beyond California and the northeastern U.S., where it now has fueling spots. Without such stations, Tesla drivers are limited by the estimated 265-mile (426-kilometer) range of a battery charge,” Douglas MacMillan & Alan Ohnsman write in Bloomberg.   More

Energy & Green Tech Global Tech

Dutch Eco-Engineering: Using Nature to Protect Against Climate Change

Necessity truly is the mother of invention. With almost three quarters of the Netherlands at or below sea level, Dutch engineers are finding new ways to protect themselves from the increasing threat of floods due to climate change by using nature as a defense against rising tides. For example, the Sand Engine is a vast reservoir of sand continually cultivated to protect eroding beaches,   More

Bio & Life Sciences Energy & Green Tech

DIY Genetic Engineering Project Draws Crowd and Controversy

A fundraising campaign for a DIY biology project to genetically engineer "sustainable natural lighting" was going gangbusters on Kickstarter. And that was before it was featured on page B1 of the New York Times today. But not all of the attention has been supportive.   More

Energy & Green Tech Internet of Things

Why the Internet of Everything Could Mean Fewer Cars

Dire predictions about the mushrooming number of cars jamming the world’s roads and clogging the world's air may never come true. Instead, a dawning era of super-optimized car sharing is poised to shrink demand for cars. Even General Motors and Ford Chairman Bill Ford have invested in technology that can help make it happen.   More

Energy & Green Tech Jobs Manufacturing

Deloitte’s Chris Park: 3D Printing for Cleaner and Leaner U.S. Manufacturing

Revitalizing manufacturing is essential to U.S. economic recovery, but it’s not clear yet how this new phase might look. One thing is certain: it won’t look anything thing like manufacturing did 15 or even 5 years ago. PARC CEO Stephen Hoover has spoken at Techonomy events about how innovations like 3D printing and crowdsourcing can drive a paradigm shift in manufacturing. But can a new American manufacturing approach also be eco-friendly? Techonomy spoke with Chris Park, a principal at Deloitte who helps clients with their environmental, social, and sustainability performance, about how next-generation manufacturing technology could reduce environmental impact and bring jobs back to the U.S.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Ford to Crowdsource Fuel-Efficiency App

As part of a campaign to help drivers learn more about how to optimize their fuel usage, Ford announced its Personalized Fuel-Efficiency App Challenge at last week's New York International Auto Show. The app will address what Ford officials say is the number one concern among drivers. By creating a platform designed to share information through social media, Ford believes it can empower drivers to improve their personal fuel efficiency.   More

Energy & Green Tech Global Tech

China’s Suntech Insolvent, Yingli Links With GLC

The inevitable has finally happened at tanking former solar star Suntech, which has been forced into bankruptcy, ending a months-long battle between the company's founder Shi Zhengrong and just about all the company's other stakeholders. In the meantime, I would be remiss not to mention another solar news tidbit that has panel maker Yingli forming a new strategic tie-up with GLC-Poly Energy, in what could eventually become the first mega-merger in the struggling solar panel sector.   More

Techonomy 12 Energy & Green Tech Techonomy Events Video

The SunSaluter: One Year On

Eden Full studied for two years at Princeton University and is currently taking gap years to work full time on her startup, Roseicollis Technologies, after being selected for the inaugural class of the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship. Full, who was named Ashoka’s Youth Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the Techonomy conference in 2011, founded Roseicollis to take her solar panel tracking invention, called the SunSaluter, to developing communities and established markets that need them. Here she speaks at the Techonomy 2012 conference in Tucson, Ariz.   More

Techonomy 12 Energy & Green Tech Techonomy Events Video

Geo-Engineering: Who Decides, and Who Benefits?

Without tech and science, we cannot create a thermostat for the planet. What are the risks, the opportunities, and the socioeconomic and political implications of the rapidly- evolving science of geo-engineering? Who will decide whether and how we alter our atmosphere? Harvard University's David Keith, Andrew Parker of the Harvard Kennedy School, and Jeff Goodell of Rolling Stone explore some these questions in a session at Techonomy 2012.   More

Energy & Green Tech Manufacturing

Will the Car of the Future Be Printable?

We've already seen 3D-printed guitars, motorcycles, and even stem cells. Is 3D printing ready to disrupt the auto industry? It could happen sooner than you think. The Urbee 2, a lightweight three-wheeled, two-passenger vehicle designed to be constructed from 3D-printed materials, is the brainchild of engineer Jim Kor. Using ABS plastic and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)—an automated, additive process that prints all of the car's parts in about 2,500 hours—Kor and his team have created a prototype at the on-demand 3D-printing facility RedEye.   More

Business Energy & Green Tech

Is 2013 the Year of the Car in China?

The auto industry is humming over new data that show China car sales soared 45 percent in January, marking their strongest growth since April 2010, when government incentives during the global economic crisis helped to turbocharge the sector. Industry watchers are acknowledging that seasonal factors played a major role in this latest jump, but point out that they still expect to see a return to strong growth in the upcoming Year of the Snake, as China's economy improves and consumers rediscover their love affair with cars.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Energy & Green Tech

Better Living Through Bacteria

Chances are, when you hear the word “bacteria,” your mind goes straight to the negative interpretations: nasty infections, food poisoning, tainted water. But the vast majority of bacteria on earth are harmless to humans—and some, if scientists have anything to say about it, could become downright friendly.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Can Chinese Investment in Clean Tech Cut Through Record-breaking Smog?

With Beijing suffering its worst levels of air pollution on record, news that China was the world's biggest investor in clean energy in 2012 may offer a ray of hope—hopefully one that can cut through the thickening smog. As reported at SmartPlanet, a year-end study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that Chinese investment in clean energy reached $67.7 billion in 2012, up 20 percent from 2011.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Canadian Company to Scour Carbon Dioxide from the Skies

The Canadian company Carbon Engineering, formed in 2009 with partial funding from Bill Gates, has developed technology to scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A pilot plant for capturing the gas will open by the end of 2014, reports The New York Times. While the process is aimed primarily at cleaning up the environment, there may be a profit opportunity as well. The oil industry could purchase captured carbon dioxide to inject into oil fields to help extract additional oil, a widely used procedure that Howard J. Herzog, a senior research engineer at MIT, says poses little environmental risk. As oil becomes scarcer, demand for carbon dioxide will likely increase.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Climate Change Threatens America’s Ski Resorts

The next victims of global warming are America’s skiers and snowboarders. Scientists say that climate change means the nation’s ski centers will eventually vanish, the New York Times reported today. After last winter’s record-breaking warmth, the long-term outlook for winter sporting is bleak.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Solar-Powered Plane Flies Through the Night

Two Swiss inventors have developed the first solar-powered plane capable of flying at night. The Solar Impulse has already flown multiple overnight flights, including one 72-hour intercontinental journey, and by 2015 they hope to fly around the world in 20 days and 20 nights. The plane’s carbon fiber frame is super lightweight, and 12,000 solar cells make up the surface of its extra-long wings. The engines use almost all of the solar energy captured, with excess energy stored in batteries. One hitch that makes it unlikely that the plane will be used for commercial flights anywhere in the near future: its optimal speed is only 30 mph.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Considering Solar Power, Post-Sandy

In the month since Superstorm Sandy left millions in the dark, solar power has become an essential part of relief efforts, especially in ravaged areas of Brooklyn and Queens, New York. For instance, a coalition of energy companies called “Solar Sandy” has contributed renewable electricity generators to victims in hardest-hit areas. But can we use solar power to prevent similar blackouts in the future?   More