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Cleantech news you might have missed: 29 Jan. 2009

newspapersNeed an update on recent developments in the cleantech sector? Following are some stories you might have missed:

  • Lockheed Martin is teaming with Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) to develop a “utility-scale wave power generation project” to be located off the coast of either Oregon or California. The aerospace manufacturer/defense contractor would help build, deploy and operate the project, while OPT would provide its PowerBuoy® technology, a “smart” buoy that captures wave energy and converts it into electricity.
  • David Pimentel, the Cornell University researcher known for criticising the efficiency of biofuels, has published a new study with colleagues that asserts biofuel crops not only deliver a negative energy return (that is, they require more energy to produce than they yield in fuel) but carry steep economic and environmental costs. In fact, the team notes, the US is actually importing more fossil fuels in its pursuit of biofuel production.
  • The new Australian Solar Institute has sprung to life with $100 million in startup funding from the Energy Innovation Fund. The insitute’s mission is to find ways to make solar thermal and photovoltaic power more efficient and cost-effective, and to make Australia “a key player in the development of solar energy technologies in the Asia-Pacific region.”
  • The National Health Service is promoting meatless meals for patients in hospitals across the UK in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, the Guardian reports. Someone at NHS must have seen the 2006 report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, which found that livestock operations are responsible for 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • IT virtualisation has enabled Citigroup to cut costs by about $1 million a year, as well as reduce its annual carbon dioxide output by 300 tonnes, according to Computerworld interview with Citigroup green IT chief Michelle Erickson.
  • ReneSola, a China-based maker of solar chips, this week secured a $118 million (US) loan to build a polysilicon plant in Sichuan province. When completed, the plant is expected to produce some 3,000 tonnes of chips per year.
  • Had your fill of ocean fertilisation news yet? Sorry, not yet: a study published in this week’s Nature reports that iron seeding efforts are likely to be far less effective than previously believed in helping capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester it at the sea bottom. The research suggests that “even if the world’s total ocean surface had a craving for iron, satisfying that would not have a large effect on the levels of atmospheric CO2,” the Nature article states.
  • So sad: the Telegraph reports that Dame Judi Dench and fellow campaigners with the group Better Accessible Responsible Development (BARD) have lost their bid to block plans for 10 eco-developments with some 6,000 homes near (or not, so: they’re actually to be about 16 kilometers distant) Shakespeare’s old stomping grounds, Stratford-upon-Avon.
Cleantech news you might have missed: 29 Jan. 2009 – The Global View

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