The DOE’s Loan Program will seek guidance from relevant nuclear agencies on lessons learned from the Japanese nuclear incident, but at this point remains committed to nuclear power, said Jonathan Silver, DOE Loan Chief at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco on Wednesday.
French environmental giant Veolia has named the first five startup partners in its “innovation acceleration” program, ranging from wastewater recovery and environmental management to green transportation and city network modeling.
Gary Conley, the entrepreneur who founded concentrating solar company SolFocus, is at it again. Last month he launched b2u Solar, a startup which uses the sun’s heat for industrial applications like drying, curing and commercial baking, and is one of a crop of startups working to take advantage of the higher efficiency potential of heat compared to electricity.
At the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco last week, Conley claimed b2u’s technology can deliver the equivalent of 40 to 60 cents per watt – and 2.5 to 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour – by generating heat directly, instead of producing energy that is then used to make heat. That makes it potentially competitive with natural gas today, and the economics look even better if the heat is also used for air conditioning, as well as heating, Conley said. (It may sound counterintuitive, but heat can be paired with a chiller to generate cool air).
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When private investment in cleantech fell last year, government stimulus programs more than made up the difference, according to estimates that the Cleantech Group released at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco this week. And no government is doing more to fill the gap than China’s. China has set aside a whopping $200.8 billion in stimulus funding for cleantech, 79 percent more than the $112.2 billion the U.S. stimulus funds have allocated to the industry, according to the latest Stern report released last year. (Estimates of U.S. green stimulus funding have varied broadly, with many ranging between $50 billion and $80 billion as of last year with $36.7 billion allocated to the Department of Energy.)
A chart that Sheeraz Haji, president of the Cleantech Group, presented Thursday shows that while worldwide private investment in cleantech fell below $150 billion in 2009, from just above $150 billion the previous year, global stimulus spending added an estimated $76 billion to the total pool of cleantech funding in 2009 and is expected to reach $182 billion this year (see chart, above). The chart is based on analysis from the Cleantech Group, as well as numbers from the World Economic Forum, the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook, Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance and HSBC.
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Green building is growing, but researching and evaluating the numerous green-building products available — and calculating which ones can help buildings rack up the most points toward earning coveted LEED certification — can cost the construction industry hundreds of hours per project, says Green Wizard CEO Adam Bernholz. “This is a pain,” he said, adding that contractors view the challenge of doing such research as “the No. 1 problem in green building today.”
Green Wizard, one of several companies that were looking for funding at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco this week, hopes to help solve the problem with a cost-comparison platform that it claims will better enable architects, engineers and contractors to figure out the cheapest way to get the certification they want. Green Wizard plans to help contractors maximize every dollar they spend. “We empower our users to build greener structures for less money in less time,” Bernholz said.
The Charleston, S.C.-based startup, which has raised $250,000 million and is now seeking $4.5 million, is developing an online marketplace that it describes as “akin to Expedia meets Lending Tree” for green materials.
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