Green news harvest: Tapping electricity in trees, solar-coated steel
Also: photovoltaic coatings for steel; wildfire warning systems to harness electricity from trees; fluorescent lightbulbs less green in some regions; record funding for green start-ups.
- A sampling of green-tech news with a quick commentary:
- Solar-painted steel could electrify buildings - Renewable Energy World
A Welsh lab is developing photovoltaic coatings for steel, which could lead to buildings with energy-generating walls.
- Compact fluorescent bulbs may pollute more than incandescents - Environmental Science & Technology
Californians and others in regions where utilities offer a mix of renewable energy might do better by the environment to keep their incandescent lightbulbs rather than switch to mercury-laced CFLs, suggest Yale researchers.
- Tiny sensors tap tree power to prevent fires - MSNBC
MIT researchers harnessed the electrical currents within trees to power wireless sensors that sniff out forest conditions and warn of potential wildfires. Start-up Voltree aims to outfit forests with wireless mesh networks of humidity and temperature sensors.
- Mature forests absorb more carbon than thought - Environmental Research Web
Contrary to popular belief, forests older than 200 years trap significant amounts of carbon over the centuries, according to Belgian researchers.
- Solar companies lead record green tech funding - Greentech Media
The flow of venture capital to clean tech start-ups more than doubled to $2.8 billion in the third quarter from the second quarter of 2008.
- Sharp to dominate thin-film solar market? - Earth2Tech As the electronics giant aims to capture half of the market for thin-film solar, will smaller solar start-ups shrivel in its shadow?
- Wind power doesn't knock out bird populations - New Scientist
British researchers found that wind turbines on farmland doesn't threaten birds including crows and skylarks, although pheasants appeared to be harmed. Other studies have found turbines to pose a danger to raptors.