Today on the show, we discover that Windows Phone 7 does have a life in the wild -- at least one phone does, anyway. Also, Plants vs. Zombies are taking over the world and BT, Steve, and I are headed for a Tetris showdown. RIM continues to try to defend its co-CEO setup (why!?) and fans rage, rage, against the dying of the cheap Netflix plans. We direct them elsewhere: toward the studios who want so much for streaming content in the first place.Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
Chicago-based Clean Urban Energy has raised $7 million in Series A funding, the company announced today.
The company has developed a software platform, and the monitoring and analytic services to go with it, that take advantage of a building's thermal mass and thermal-energy storage (TES) to make it run more efficiently and save on energy costs.
Clean Urban Energy says its software analytics platform can reduce the expense of a building's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning energy use by 15 percent to 30 percent.
"By aggregating and optimizing the thermal storage properties of multiple buildings, CUE unlocks … Read more
Developers of solar thermal power plants are scrapping plans to use steam technology in favor of ever-cheaper solar panels that are easier to finance and could help assuage concerns about the systems' environmental impact.
So far this year, at least four California projects, representing about 1,850 megawatts of power generation, have elected to change most or all of their technology to photovoltaic solar panels, which turn sunlight directly into electricity, from concentrating solar power, or CSP, which uses heat to create steam that powers a generator.
The projects are being developed by NextEra Energy, Germany's Solar Millennium, AES … Read more
It sounds a little counterintuitive, but the wasted heat from automobile tailpipe emissions could one day be used to cool and power your car.
Researchers from Oregon State University developed a thermally activated cooling system that harnesses the energy in waste heat produced by cars, factories, and power plants, and converts it to cooling. The system works by combining a vapor compression cooling cycle with an "organic Rankine cycle," an existing energy conversion technology, to convert waste heat from a thermal source to generate power and cooling.
By turning 80 percent of every kilowatt of waste heat into … Read more
Aim is important not just for billiards, sniper operations, and pitching. It's imperative for keeping men's rooms clean. "We aim to keep this bathroom clean; your aim will help" isn't just a pithy phrase to put on a placard above the urinals. It's a real problem. All kinds of factors affect where the stream settles: attention to detail, being considerate, and sobriety. That last one's kind of a pass, I suppose, but still.
The 21st century may not have provided us with the flying car yet, but the whizzes at White Rabbit Express are selling a surefire way to combat this pernicious problem. It's the Thermal Urinal Fly. This crafty little sticker (thanks, Japan!) is supposed to help prevent backsplash by giving prospective pee-ers a target to aim for. The best part is that since the sticker is temperature-sensitive (sort of like those Hypercolor shirts, except you pee on it), once the stream hits the fly, the heat makes it disappear. This is high technology at work, folks. … Read more
The U.S. Department of Energy is offering $2.1 billion in conditional loan guarantees to support what will be the world's biggest solar power plant, the government's largest commitment to date to solar energy.
The aid will support construction of the first two units of Solar Trust of America's 1,000 megawatt solar thermal Blythe Solar Power Project, the DOE said yesterday. Solar Trust of America is a joint venture between German companies Solar Millennium and Ferrostaal.
"For the first time in mankind's history, a solar power facility will be built at a scale … Read more
If concentrating sunlight works for utility-scale solar power plants, how about for heating and cooling a single building?
Santa Clara University, which sits in the heart of Silicon Valley, said yesterday that it has started using 60 rooftop solar collectors atop its student center to concentrate sunlight to generate heat, a technique typically used only for large-scale solar systems.
The solar collectors were developed by start-up Chromasun, which was formed to adapt solar concentrators for commercial rooftops. By heating water to as high as 400 degrees, the solar thermal system can be used for both hot water and to fuel air conditioners … Read more
After record solar-plant approval in 2010, the California Energy Commission believes its "big push" in solar-thermal projects is over.
This past year represented a "sea change" as regulators ended a 20-year dry spell and fast-tracked solar-thermal plant approval, spokesman Adam Gottlieb told Reuters yesterday, helping drive the state's and nation's broader renewable-energy goals.
But because so many developers were rushing to meet a December 31 deadline for federal incentives, CEC staff are expecting a slower year in 2011. In hindsight, the rush was overdone, given that Congress has now extended that deadline for federal … Read more
It's not every solar project that gets its own ground-blessing ceremony.
But the Kalaeloa Solar One project will pay back native Hawaiians with both energy and rent through a partnership with Keahole Solar Power, Hawaiian start-up Sopogy, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL).
Which is why there was a ground-blessing ceremony held for the project yesterday in Kalealoa, Oahu, west of Honolulu.
Sopogy is supplying its micro-concentrated solar panels (MicroCSP) for the 5-megawatt thermal solar plant that will tie-in to a new plan for the Kalealoa community near Honolulu.
Sopogy's panels are actually small solar troughs … Read more
California will soon lay claim to having the world's largest commercial solar thermal energy project in the world.
BrightSource Energy and NRG Energy subsidiary NRG Solar announced today that they're partnering on a 392-megawatt solar thermal project called the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.
All the other moving parts to make the plant a go also seem to be in place.
NRG Solar has signed a memorandum of understanding to partner with BrightSource, and plans to invest over $300 million in Ivanpah. Ivanpah has signed power of purchase agreements with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric. … Read more