Political furor over the Solyndra bankruptcy has dealt a body blow to the idea that the government should try to help clean tech start-ups through the costly "valley of death" to commercial viability.
The capital needed to commercialize cutting-edge, renewable energy technology is seen as too risky for both venture capitalists and for the banks.
Until the fossil fuel industry has to pay for the carbon it emits, renewables such as solar and wind are unlikely to attain the scale needed to compete with cheaper coal, oil and natural gas, and will depend on government support.
The Obama … Read more
Move your butt over, Prius. Japanese toilet manufacturer Toto has a new take on a green driving machine. The Toilet Bike Neo combines a three-wheel motorcycle with a latrine. The kooky contraption runs on biogas.
Biogas is just a fancy way of saying poo power. In case you were wondering where the source of the stool is supposed to come from, the bike's built-in toilet should answer your question. It doesn't leave much to the imagination. Could we get a privacy screen, please?
According to coverage by Spoon & Tamago, the rolling toilet can play music, write messages in the air using residual light imagery, and talk. There's no word on what exactly the toilet says, but I imagine it has an extensive repertoire of potty humor.… Read more
SANTA ROSA, Calif.--On-demand aviation, the idea that mobility one day can be just as personal and convenient in the air as it is on the ground, is a lofty goal. And it's what competitors at NASA's Green Flight Challenge going on here this week are trying to attain.
Aerospace Engineer Mark Moore said the challenge, which is one of NASA's Centennial Challenges and sponsored by Google, is about finding ways to use the layers of uncluttered 3D space above us to get around--and how to do it in an energy-efficient manner.
Commercial planes currently average about … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Venture capitalists have become bipolar when it comes to green-technology investing in a debate affecting the pace of innovation.
The core question is whether it's better financially and environmentally to bet on technology breakthroughs or to play it safer by developing incremental improvements over existing products. It's an undercurrent to the AlwaysOn GoingGreen conference here this week and reflection of how green-tech investing has changed over the past three years.
"It's a huge debate, but we're in the second inning of an extra-inning game," said Andrew Chung, who recently joined Khosla Ventures as … Read more
Ever wondered what we could do with those annoying used coffee grounds?
Engineer Martin Bacon and a group of volunteers from Teesdale Conservation in Durham, England, have been hard at work making those often-overlooked grinds into something special: gas for a speedy coffee-powered car.
This is not a joke; in fact, the car earlier this month broke a Guinness World Record "for vehicles run on gas from organic waste," according to the BBC. The coffee car--a modified Rover SD1--topped out at 77.5 miles per hour and hit average speeds of 66.5 mph after many modifications, including the removal of more than 550 pounds of excess weight from inside the vehicle.
It's no secret to anyone following green tech that the Department of Defense has taken a particular interest in advanced biofuels, vehicle fuel efficiency, renewable energy, and building efficiency. But many may not realize to what extent the DOD has changed its policy, or the large impact this shift is going to have on the economy, according to a report released yesterday afternoon by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The report (PDF) asserts that the DOD is one of the world's largest institutional consumers of fossil fuels, consuming 300,000 barrels of oil a day in 2009. The DOD's energy cost for 2010 was $15.2 billion (PDF) … Read more
There's a place where Wi-Fi and cell phones are non-existent. It's not in the middle of the rain forest or from a time long, long ago. It's in Green Bank, W.Va.
Green Bank may sound like geek hell, but it's heaven for people who believe electromagnetic radiation makes them sick. The BBC chatted with a couple of these refugees from technology and they described symptoms ranging from physical pain to fatigue.
"When I'm exposed to the cell phones, it hurts to think," Green Bank resident Diane Schou told the BBC. She describes herself as a "technological leper" who has found relief since moving from Iowa to West Virginia.
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity has been the subject of some controversy. The symptoms may feel very real, but a 2007 study led by Elaine Fox of the U.K.'s University of Essex showed that short-term exposure to a typical GSM base station-like signal did not affect well-being or physiological functions in sensitive or control individuals. … Read more
Too busy to keep up with the tech news? Here are some of the more interesting stories from CNET for Wednesday, September 7.
Police are looking into the case of the missing iPhone. The news of this keeps unfolding.
HTC sues Apple for using Google patents. "HTC will continue to protect its patented inventions against infringement from Apple until such infringement stops. We believe that we have an obligation to protect our business, our industry partners and our customers, who love using our products," Grace Lei, HTC's general counsel, said in an e-mailed statement to CNET.
Even … Read more
Entrepreneur Brad Hines' first solar company crashed and burned, but he's already started another venture, a story which offers cues on how the entire green-tech sector can reinvent itself in tough times.
In 2005, Hines left his work as a NASA engineer to build a radically new and powerful type of rooftop solar collector. But even after taking in tens of millions of dollars from top-shelf investors, the company, Soliant Energy, ultimately failed and its intellectual property was sold off, reportedly at bargain basement prices.