Written by Prognog Staff      Interesting video on Google.org's recent announcement that they are offering $10 million for new research and technology related to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) over the next year.

Written by Prognog Staff   

Interesting article here on Alternet.org.

After a steady stream of news out of Washington this past year that ethanol was going to cure all our woes, it's refreshing to hear some rational thoughts to the contrary.  Written by the Co-Directors of the International Forum on Globalization (www.ifg.org), the authors make some good points about the pitfalls of looking for biofuels to cure our dependence on oil noting that "corn-produced ethanol and many of the other biofuel varieties are leading us down a path of unsustainability as they continue to impact fragile ecosystems, threaten biodiversity, concentrate corporate power and increase inequities in rural communities."

I think a move away from corn based ethanol is an absolute necessity and sources like switchgrass and other cellulosic materials can provide a much more sustainable system of supply.  Ultimately, though, it is like the authors say, " "the answer must involve renewables plus significant efforts toward all-out conservation, efficiency, reduced consumption and "powering down" of energy use."

Written by Prognog Staff   

Mark P. Mills over at Forbes.com doesn't see much progress in alternative energy in the future: "While the next few decades will see many changes, the overall energy picture will, in the end, not be that much different."  He looks at a lot of the trends in the 1970s compared to similar ones now, and it looks like the "experts" were singing the same tune back then... [more]

Others feel the outlook is more hopeful...at least when investing in clean tech companies is involved.  In anticipation of the AlwaysOn Going Green industry leaders in the Green Tech / Clean Tech world were asked to respond to a survey of questions relating to the future of Greentech.  Among other things, "more than three out of four respondents expect to see an increase in venture capital funding of greentech in the coming 12 months as compared to this year."  If you've got a CleanTech start up in the works, get working!!!

Written by Prognog Staff    I don't know about you Prognog readers, but I can't stand plastic bags.  Usually, I take my own bags and stuff them as full as I can.  On the offchance I forget to bring my own, I try to also stuff the store's plastic bags to the brim, carefully carrying them into the house to avoid ripping them.  Then, I try to reuse them as much as possible for trash or whatever.  Every one in awhile, though, I forget to mention anything to the bagger and before you know it I have 16 plastic bags for my 25 items.  A few canned items are double-bagged, the bread is in its own bag, etc.  It's really quite pathetic.

I know that for every one of my, who tries to minimize my plastic bag consumption, there are ten other people making baggers triple bag their groceries and grabbing bags for single items.  Do you really need a bag for a pack of gum?

Here's some interesting facts about plastic bags:

--There are 500 billion plastic bags used across the planet every year. (more)

--An estimated 100,000 marine animals die in the Pacific Ocean alone each year. (more)

--There's an area in the Pacific Ocean nearly twice the size of Texas filled with floating debris, including plastic bags. (more)

Written by Prognog Staff    The solar powered drone, Zephyr, broke the unmanned flight record with a 54 hour fligh, from QinetiQ: "By day it flies on solar power generated by amorphous silicon arrays no thicker than sheets of paper that cover the aircraft's wings. By night it is powered by rechargeable lithium-sulphur batteries that are recharged during the day using solar power."   (more)

Solar start-ups Ausra and Solar City have both recently received a healthy dose of clean tech venture capital funding.  Ausra recently received $40 million to build and develop a solar thermal power plant.  Solar City secured about $21 million in order to expand and improve their services which includes community-based solar programs that encourage entire neigborhoods to convert to solar .

In Congress, lawmakers are duking it out in a fight over the energy bill.  It seems like U.S. automakers are having quite bit of influence over this discussion... (more)
Written by Prognog Staff   

Vestas Wind Turbine
There have been a host of interesting articles on the wind energy industry lately, with several mentions of the Dutch wind turbine company, Vestas.  These include one in Forbes, the Seattle Times, the one we mentioned recently in Der Spiegel, and a host of other in Australia mentioning recent closures.

These articles don't really have much in common besides the fact that they talk about wind energy and mention Vestas.  However, they show an increasing interest in the wind energy industry--beyond the repetitive fluff articles that wind energy is the next big thing.  This awareness is ultimately satisfying for proponents of wind power as it brings to light many of the concerns needed to move the great potential of wind power forward.

Interesting, though, some of the specifics of the articles.  The Seattle Times brings up something not often discussed, the shortage of wind turbines and the price surge this is causing for wind energy.  Vestas is working on becoming more of a player here, according to the Forbes article, but interestingly enough, is closing manufacturing plants in Australia citing the "green energy market unviable."

I hope this is not the case here and that the industry is able to work through these problems and make wind energy power a viable source of electricity.

[photo courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S]


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