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Energy & Green Tech Techonomy Events

Can Geo-Engineering Help Lower the Earth’s Temperature… And Cause War?

Just weeks after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast, climate change was on the forefront of everyone's mind at Techonomy 2012 in Tucson, Ariz. In a session about geo-engineering, Harvard physics professor David Keith and Harvard Kennedy School research fellow Andrew Parker talked about the realistic possibility of reflecting sunlight away from the planet to lower the earth's temperature -- and, more pressing, the complicated political implications of this climate change quick-fix.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Will We Finally Get Serious About Climate Change?

To those of us who believe in science, which includes the rest of the world and apparently no more than half of Americans, it has been painful in recent years to see continued bizarre and destructive weather, even as data clearly suggested climate change is at least partly responsible. Now in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's devastation, experts like Eric Pooley of the Environmental Defense Fund are clearly articulating yet again why we must act. This will be hard politically, because reasonable action will by necessity be global, not just national. We're not too good at that here. Not to mention that many Americans, including powerful politicians, still willfully disregard reality and the likely costs of inaction. This essay by Pooley from The New Republic eloquently underscores the basics. Business Week's cover story entitled It's Global Warming, Stupid! also is a must-read. (Pooley, a great supporter of Techonomy, was my editor at Fortune.)   More

Energy & Green Tech

Tech Companies Pitch in to Provide Storm Support to Startups

Many tech and media businesses have been disrupted by power loss and connectivity issues in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. But several companies, like the social media optimization service SocialFlow, are fortunate to have fully operational offices. In addition to being able to offer uninterrupted service to clients, they've been generous with their good fortune by opening their offices to entrepreneurs who need space and resources. The workspace sharing hub PivotDesk has stepped up to create a dedicated page for entrepreneurs affected by the storm. "Entrepreneurial communities thrive when people give before they get," reads the site, which lists available office spaces at tech companies throughout New York and New Jersey.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Chicago Lays Pollution-Fighting Pavement

In an effort to curb pollution one block at a time, the Chicago Department of Transportation is developing what it calls "the greenest street in America." A two-mile stretch of Blue Island Avenue and Cermak Road in the industrial Pilsen neighborhood, which sees heavy truck traffic, is made with pavement that both recycles air and is made from recycled materials. The "photocatalytic cement removes nitrogen oxide gases from the air through a catalytic reaction driven by UV light," as reported on SmartPlanet. The street also incorporates bioswales, rain gardens, and permeable pavements, designed to keep polluted water out of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan and divert rainfall from the sewers. According to the CDOT, 60% of the project's construction waste was recycled.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Energy Data Management Heads to the Cloud

Managing “Big Data” is a big issue these days, especially within the energy industry, SmartPlanet reports. Companies are compiling huge amounts of data about energy supply and consumption, and cloud computing is enabling them to forecast future usage and even create alternative energy models.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Whiskey, Beer, and Wine Producers Clean up Their Act

Could tech make having a stiff drink good for the environment? As reported by David Worthington at Smartplanet, Tulibardine distillery in Scotland has partnered with energy startup Celtic Renewables to turn whiskey byproducts into butanol based biofuel, so booze hounds can feel they're doing their part to save the planet. The project, which repurposes sugary waste produced during the distillation process, represents an eco-friendly—and cost-cutting—trend in the spirits industry.   More

Energy & Green Tech Learning

Augmented Reality Intensifies Nature on Middle School Field Trips

The annual field trip to the local pond has gone high-tech for some Massachusetts and New York middle-school students. Harvard education researchers are giving the kids smartphones loaded with augmented reality software to see how the technology changes the way they explore of local environments.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Japanese Government Is Strong, Then Weak, On Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is a big deal in Japan. Before the Fukushima power plant emergency in 2011, more than 30 percent of the country’s electricity came from nuclear reactors. Now most Japanese people are adamantly against nuclear power—yet the government seems indecisive. They announced last Friday a plan to completely phase out nuclear power by 2040, but backed off only five days later. In less than a week, the government’s commitment to end its reliance on nuclear power “transformed from bold determination into sheepish second thoughts,” SmartPlanet reports. Nuclear opponents are disappointed, but, as some point out, the country’s nuclear future depends on more than the government taking a firm stance—it is also contingent on the will of electricity users, technological innovation, and the global energy outlook.   More

Energy & Green Tech Manufacturing

Techonomy Detroit in the News: Was Tim Draper Wrong About Detroit’s Electric Car Future?

At Techonomy Detroit last week, venture capitalist Tim Draper had some harsh words for the local crowd. Detroit automakers have lost the electric-car battle to Tesla Motors, he said, and the only hope for the Big Three is to make something as innovative as a flying car. But Todd Woody at Forbes says Draper was wrong: “The electric car battle has only begun and if the objective is to win the war against fossil fuels then Tesla needs Detroit, Tokyo and Munich to join forces and sell as many cars as possible."   More

Energy & Green Tech Startup Culture

GreenLancer Boosts Renewable Energy from Detroit to Afghanistan

In anticipation of the Techonomy Detroit conference on September 12, we're profiling six Detroit tech startups that are driving the city’s re-emergence as a center of innovation. GreenLancer Energy connects freelance renewable energy engineers with companies and contractors looking for green expertise. Since 2011, GreenLancer’s clients have included the U.S. Department of Defense, Occidental Oil, General Motors, and the U.S. Armed Forces. I spoke with co-founder and CTO Patrick McCabe about freelancing renewable energy, the Midwest’s lack of green energy experts, and Detroit’s tech scene.   More

Energy & Green Tech Techonomy Events

Conservation Camps Founder on How Tech Is Changing Life in Nepal

In this short talk from Techonomy 2011 in Tuscon, Ariz., Anil Chitrakar, founder of Conservation Camps for Children, gives four examples of how technology and social incentives are changing the lives of Nepalese.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Energy & Green Tech Techonomy Events

Fred Krupp on Using Data and Tech to Prevent Overfishing

In this 10-minute talk from Techonomy 2011 in Tuscon, Ariz., Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund, discusses how new techonoloy is helping to monitor and protect fisheries from over fishing. Data collection using video cameras and powerful software is helping local fisheries in Canada sustain their fish populations by calculating yearly fishing limits for fishermen.   More

Energy & Green Tech Techonomy Events

Picarro’s Michael Woelk on New Emission Mapping Technology

In this talk from Techonomy 2011 in Tuscon, Ariz., Michael Woelk, CEO of Picarro, introduces state-of-the-art technology that his company has developed to map methane and CO2 emissions in real-time. Picarro has invented scientific equipment that can fit inside a mini-van and monitor emissions from polluters and regulators just by driving by.   More