• Blacklight Power announces 'Customer No 2' for its novel hydrino energy system

    January 07 2009 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Energy

    Blacklight powerMost startup energy companies don't expect major media attention when they announce their second commercial deal.

    Unless of course, your technology is reported to generate energy beyond the scientific paradigms of combustion and nuclear reactions.

    This is why Blacklight Power has little trouble attracting press and controversy from paradigm bound scientists.  

    Earlier this Fall we reported on the indepdent verification of the company's novel method of capturing energy released when powder containing hydrogen atoms reacts with a catalyst to drop its energy state into hydrinos. Then in December Blacklight announced its first commercial agreement.

    Now the company has Customer No. 2: Farmers' Electric Cooperative, Inc. of New Mexico for a 250 MW power system which could in theory power 250,000 homes.   

    Related Blacklight posts on The Energy Roadmap.com


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  • UK researchers develop carbon neutral hydrogen production method using ethanol

    January 07 2009 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Energy

    hydrogen and oxygen molecules

    Researchers at the University of Aberdeen (UK) have announced a new carbon neutral method of producing hydrogen using ethanol feedstock.

    The new method could offer an alternative use for bioenergy feedstocks.  Instead of transforming biomass (corn stovers, organic waste) into a liquid fuel used in combustion engines, we can now imagine capturing hydrogen bonds from biofeedstocks to use in more efficient fuel cells.

    Why care about hydrogen?
    Hydrogen is usually misrepresented by both supporters and cynics.  It is neither the 'savior' of Planet Earth, nor is it a 'waste of time'.  

    Hydrogen is a storage system, not a source of energy.  But, what the global economy needs are more breakthroughs in energy storage!  (Hint: batteries are not the end game!)

    Read More:

    Hydrogen Economy = Electricity Economy = Hydricity Economy?
    UK Researchers give us Carbon Neutral, but leave us dependent on Biomass:

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  • Korea to invest $38 billion in 'New Green Deal', Signaling Asian Middle Class 'Eco' Values Shift

    January 06 2009 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Environment

    eco flag

    Is Asia's expanding middle class closer to reaching a tipping point where modern notions of 'environmentalism' become a key component to improving quality of life factors? Maybe!

    The Korean government is pushing forward on a massive 'Green' New Deal style investment package could create more than 900,000 jobs.

    The $38 billion investment plan includes: waste to energy power plants, support for 'Green Homes', transportation infrastructure for rail and bicycles, cleaning up polluted river systems, and investments in energy storage technologies used for electric vehicles.

    Real story = Values Shift up Maslow's Hierarchy
    The long view implications of this story go far beyond any actual investments that may or may not turn Korea's attention towards 'cleantech' industries. These projects might already have been planned long before the recent global economic slowdown.  And $38 billion is not a lot of money for a 'New Deal'.

    The real story is the media spin on 'green' and underlying values statement that shows widespread support within Korea for cleantech and eco-friendly ventures.  The ripple effect of modern notions of environmentalism (able to address impacts of large scale industrialism, not traditional forms of agricultural living) could begin to challenge the notion of 'growth at any cost' that dominates economic policies around the world in all nations, but especially in emerging economies.

    Values are very important when it comes to 'cleantech' policies, and there is no evidence that 'environmentalism' as it is viewed in American and European life is a current global phenomenon.  There are still several billion people in the world who see 'quality of life' factors as related to jobs, education, home ownership and upward mobility, not planetary health.   

    What is driving this value's shift?  Economic Growth, not Traditionalism

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  • Smart Grid Infrastructure Startups to Watch in 2009

    January 05 2009 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Energy

    dumb gridWhat might be at the top of the list as the 'Next Big Thing' for the energy sector?  

    Creating a 'Smart Grid' (Guide) for Electricity that is more resilient, responsive and efficient.

    2009 should be a significant year for investing in the three main ingredients of smart infrastructure: Software, Sensors & Storage.

    In 2009 we will be watching for major investments made by utiltiies with the help of 'smart grid' startups and incumbents capable of transforming how we manage, distribute and store electrons:

    1) Gridpoint
    2) Comverge
    3) BPL Global (Better Power Lines)
    4) Enernoc
    5) Enerwise
    6) Trilliant Networks
    7) Silver Spring NetworksKleiner Perkins investment
    8) Tendril
    9) SmartSynch
    10) Itron
    11) Sequentric 
    12) Eka Systems

    Other notable sensor and systems startups: 
    Energy Hub
    , GainSpan (Embedded Systems), GreenBox, eMeter (Enterprise)

    Incumbents to Watch:
    General Electric, IBM, Honeywell, and Johnson Controls

    Related posts on The Energy Roadmap.com

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  • Moore's Law, Materials Science & The Future of Energy

    January 02 2009 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Science

    energy shapes

    We are not going to 'consume' ourselves into a future global economy driven by clean energy technologies. 

    We have to build it using new scientific knowledge based on nanoscale interactions of light and molecules  mostly- carbon, hydrogen, oxygen reacting to metals and enzymes. 

    Energy = Interactions
    Creating 'clean energy' means using materials that make these molecular interactions that capture and release energy more efficient and less wasteful.

    While consumers might be the ones who get the credit for changing behavior, the real heros of our cleantech energy future will be people involved in chemistry, biology, physics and materials engineering.

    And the good news is that these scientists are increasingly turning to advanced computers and simulation software to accelerate the development of energy related materials!

    Computational Power & Materials Science - Recent Examples for Materials Science 

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  • US Fuel Cell Council proposes $1.2 billion to support Smart Grid & Electric Vehicles

    January 02 2009 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Energy

    Fuel cell

    The US Fuel Cell Council is now lobbying Congress for more than a billion dollar investment to accelerate America's manufacturing position around this important piece of the future energy sector.

    Energy Storage - Sprint vs Marthon
    Even though Asia appears to have won the sprint towards next generation 'batteries', the US could regain its position in energy storage and conversion around the marathon race towards fuel cells.

    Fuel cells convert chemical energy (e.g. hydrogen, methanol, natural gas) into electricity.  They can be used for stationary power to reinforce the electrical grid with onsite generation, or to power portable devices and electric vehicles.

    Fuel cells are not Dead, just Misunderstood
    There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty and skepticism towards fuel cells among eco and energy bloggers.  The technology fell victim to the 'Hype Cycle' after the Dotcom Bust in 2000, but the energy conversion platform has been making steady progress in recent years. Their long term advantages in terms of cost per kilowatt, performance durability, scalable modular manufacturing are still complelling reasons to support fuel cells as alternatives to batteries and combustion engines.

    USFCC's Recommendations:
    Now, the USFCC believes the invesment could create an estimated 24,000 jobs and is recommending funds for: Deploying Fuel Cells ($100 Million), Supporting a Fueling Infrastructure ($65 million), improving Federal Fuel Cell Investment Tax Incentives, expanding applied Learning Demonstrations ($375 Million) building foundation for American Manufacturing Capacity ($100 Million), accelerating Research in Partnership with Industry ($350 Million), investing in Fuel Cell Transit ($180 Million) and including Fuel Cells in President-Elect Obama‘s Energy Initiative.

    Related posts on The Energy Roadmap.com

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  • Top Energy Stories of 2008: #10 Emerging Energy Missionaries & Visionaries

    December 16 2008 / by joelg
    Category: Energy

    By Joel Greenberg

    Putting a face to energy  happened in a big way in 2008.  From T-Boone Pickens' full court press promoting his Picken's Plan for wind energy and natural gas to Shai Agassi coming of age with his Wired cover story promoting his electric vehicle infrastructure company Better Place, energy technology became humanized.  And what do you do for an encore once you've cracked the Human Genome?  Ask scientist Craig Venter and he'll tell you it's using algae to create bio fuels that replace oil.  He's hoping to have something on the market in five years.

    Could personality be the thing that takes a vital, but dry industry from infrastructure to top of mind in the eyes of customers?

    Energy Visionaries


    Continue with Top Energy Stories of 2008


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  • Top Science Breakthroughs in 2008: Novel Energy Systems

    December 29 2008 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Energy

    Edison Light

    "Whether you think you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right." - Henry Ford

    The worst thing we can do when thinking about the future of energy is to look at possible solutions and simply extrapolate today's technologies and scientific assumptions forward about what 'is' or 'isn't possible'.

    There is still a lot we do not know about the basics of energy systems dealing with photons, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, enzymes and metals.  Our current first phase efforts to design nanoscale materials used in energy production, conversion and storage are certain to yield systems that will change how we live in the world in the decades ahead.

    Remember, only a century ago, coal and wood were king, magical 'electric' light intimidated the general public, only a few could see the potential of oil, rockets and nuclear science were beyond our imagination, and the vision of a tens of millions of 'horseless carriages' reshaping the urban landscape was a ridiculous proposition.

    So what seemingly novel ideas could shape the next century?

    List of 10+ Novel Energy Stories from 2008:

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  • Top Energy Stories of 2008: #9 Infrastructure Gains Attention

    December 16 2008 / by joelg
    Category: Energy

    By Joel Greenberg

    The 'Big Grid' is based upon a mass distribution model from the 1930's and technology from even earlier.  But industry and the Department of Energy are beginning to develop standards to transform the Big Grid into the Smart Grid so that it can handle renewable energy sources, electric vehicles, distributed energy generation, demand side managment, and information about it all. The sale of electric vehicle charging technology company V2Green to Smart Grid technology company GridPoint marks the beginning of a market where hi-tech geeks meet energy geeks. 

    Could there be a collision of paradigms between geeks who've grown up under Moore's law and those whose basic technology hasn't changed in 70 years?


    Photo courtesy Bradley Woods.

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  • Report explores energy technology roadmap for Low Carbon Economy

    December 28 2008 / by Garry Golden
    Category: Environment


    'The New Energy Economy' is the latest policy buzz word being used to describe the vision of a future global economy that runs on clean, abundant energy systems.

    The incentives to accelerate this cleantech future are growing.  Beyond issues of climate change, there are increasing concerns about accelerating resource depletion and 'peak' production of key resources as the world adds 3 billion people and doubles energy consumption by 2050. Paris-based International Energy Agency estimates that peak oil production could occur as soon as 2020.

    The 'new energy economy' will require leaps in performance with new forms of energy production and storage systems.  

    Nothing is likely to happen quickly as the transition takes decades to unfold.  And while our dependency on fossil fuels is likely to continue through mid-century, big changes are ahead.

    World Watch Energy Report
    The World Watch has released a report (PDF) looking at a roadmap towards a lower carbon economy based on a wide range of new energy systems.

    "We are on the verge of an energy revolution," says Flavin. "With strong political leadership, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to use policy and technology innovation to stave off the greatest human-caused threat our planet has seen."

    World Watch believes that 'these new energy sources will make it possible to retire hundreds of coal-fired power plants that now provide 40 percent of the world's power by 2030, eliminating up to one-third of global carbon dioxide emissions while creating millions of new jobs.'

    The report's roadmap includes:

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