Daily Sprout

Definite GOP Votes for Climate Bill: “There are definite Republican votes,” for the Senate’s climate legislation, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said today, “and we hope to grow that over the next weeks and months.” — The Hill’s E2-Wire

Lockheed Martin Backs MIT Greentech Research: Lockheed Martin announced today it will invest $5 million over five years in the MIT Energy Initiative, supporting research on “global climate initiatives, such as carbon modeling and verification and utility-scale energy storage.” — Press Release

New York Phasing in Decoupling for Utilities: New York is phasing in revenue decoupling, “a new billing system for electric and gas delivery that guarantees utilities steady revenues even when sales fluctuate.” The system is replacing “the traditional way of charging for energy delivery in which the more customers consume, the more revenue utilities collect.” — Associated Press

Progress Energy to Retire Four Coal Plants by 2017: Under pressure from state regulators to plan the retirement of aging coal power plants that don’t have “scrubbers,” Progress Energy has announced plans to close four coal-burning power plants by 2017 as it moves toward more natural gas-fueled plants. — North Carolina News Network

Mictroturbine Supercar Concept Unveiled: Meet the CMT-380 concept car from Capstone MicroTurbine, a “jaw-dropping” supercar that features “lithium-ion batteries, a diesel-electric turbine and design work from Electronic Arts’ creative director Richard Hilleman.” — VentureBeat’s GreenBeat

Celtx Offers Free Pre-production for Your Multimedia Content

Many of us are increasingly working with multimedia online, including video and audio applications for everything from podcasts to video tutorials. While well-known tools such as Audacity and Blender can help you deliver slickly produced online audio and video content, really good producers make use of pre-production tools before they even start recording. Celtx is a free, open-source multimedia pre-production application that is very popular for organizing and scripting everything from screenplays, to audio/visual tutorials, to webcasts. You can download it here for Windows (s msft), Mac (s aapl) and Linux, and take advantage of an accompanying online Studios environment to collaborate with others on multimedia pre-production.
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Daily Sprout

The Problem With MPGs: The folks behind the Automotive X Prize lay the smack down on General Motors’ 230 MPG claim for the Chevy Volt, and make the case for their MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) method of calculating the fuel efficiency of plug-in vehicles. — Autotmotive X Prize Blog via AutoblogGreen
Move Over, Prius: Toyota reportedly plans to introduce a new medium-sized hybrid sedan called the SAI, priced somewhere between the Prius and the Lexus HS 250h, this year. — Green Car Congress
Tug o’ War Over Clean Energy Bank: “One of the most excellent pieces of the climate bill now awaiting defenestration at the hands Senate Blue Dogs is its creation of a Clean Energy Bank that would help finance nascent clean energy projects…Naturally, conservatives are now coming out in opposition to the bank.” — Grist
Lockheed on the Grid: “Global defense contractor Lockheed Martin is teaming with Black & Veatch, a major construction and consulting company, to offer utilities a suite of products they can use to improve their smart grid implementations.” — VentureBeat’s GreenBeat
China’s EV Power Play: In a profile of electric car startup Coda Automotive, Bryan Walsh argues, “If automakers in the U.S. and elsewhere aren’t worried about losing the race for the next great technology to the Chinese, they should be.” Time

Daily Sprout

EU Gets Another Fuel Sipper: What’s not a hybrid, doesn’t have a plug and isn’t available in the U.S. — but gets 59 MPG? A new aerodynamic Corsa ecoFLEX from GM’s European brand, Vauxhall. — AutoblogGreen

The Problem With Carbon Capture: Carbon capture and storage could be “the longest of long shots on which to pin humanity’s hopes” for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. — Climate Progress

Ex-Wall Streeters Flock to Carbon Trading: As collapsing firms send bankers packing, the nation’s few carbon-trading shops have seen an influx of interest from ex-Wall Streeters. — NYT’s Green Inc.

No Happy Campers: Is anyone satisfied with the 932-page compromise version of the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill? — WSJ’s Environmental Capital

Solar’s Good, Bad and Behemoth: Bechtel, Chevron and Lockheed Martin are important players in the U.S. solar industry, and with enormous balance sheets and expertise designing, building and managing complex projects, they pose a threat to pure solar players. — Greentech Media

Lockheed on the Hunt for Clean Energy Tech Partners

searchingIf cleantech startups want to get into government contracting — an option with increasing appeal given the state of today’s private markets and the size of projects covered by stimulus spending — why not ride the coattails of one of the giants? That’s the route opened up this week by Lockheed Martin (s LMT); the defense behemoth has launched a search for partners with which to develop smart grid, energy storage, high-efficiency photovoltaic conversion and carbon nanotube technologies.

Lockheed is looking for companies to present at the firm’s Special Innovation Symposia at the Nanotech Conference & Expo in Houston this May, but there’s more at stake than a seat at the roundtable. In its call for submissions, Lockheed said it’s looking for “joint R&D, licensing and partnering opportunities towards applied research, intellectual property and early-stage companies focused on” those four areas of clean technology.

Lockheed’s own R&D resources are not insignificant — the company employs some 146,000 people worldwide, most of whom are tasked with the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. But Lockheed has already turned beyond its own ranks for help with cleantech. This latest partner search comes a little more than a year after the company said it plans to test stealthy startup EEStor’s supercapacitors on the battlefield as part of its effort to achieve “energy independence for the Warfighter.” The defense contractor also recently partnered with Starwood Energy Group to build a New Jersey facility for testing utility-scale solar technologies, slated to open this spring.

Photo courtesy Flickr user petercastleton

Lockheed, Ocean Power to Team Up on Wave Power

opt-powerbuoyLockheed Martin Corp. (s LMT) and Ocean Power Technologies (s OPTT) plan to develop a utility-scale wave power project off the coast of California or Oregon, the two said this morning.

Lockheed will construct the project and handle operations once it’s up and running, and New Jersey-based Ocean Power will provide the technology — so-called “PowerBuoy” (pictured) generators that convert wave energy into electricity, which can feed into a local power grid via underwater transmission lines. The 12-year-old company, one of the more established wave power developers in a growing field, claims that its 10-megawatt buoys can work in arrays of up to hundreds of megawatts.

Wave power technology, however, has yet to be tested on that scale. Even single-digit megawatt projects (“utility-scale” generally means generating capacity of at least 1 megawatt) remain in the early stages of development. As Finavera Renewables found out three months ago when the California Public Utilities Commission sunk a 2-megawatt project planned for the Pacific coast, it’s a long haul between an agreement like the Lockheed-Ocean Power one unveiled today and actual deployment.
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Lockheed, EEStor Working On Body Armor With Energy Unit

lockheedeestorimage3Add another log to the rumors igniting around energy storage startup EEStor. According to a patent application with World Intellectual Property Organization that was recently published online (via bariumtitanate.blogspot.com), military-industrial giant Lockheed Martin is researching developing body armor and utility garments that could include using EEStor’s energy solution (page 7 of the application).

While Lockheed’s patent application references a more general rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery being used with the garment, the application not only specifically refers to possibly using EEStor’s technology, but calls the general energy storage technology an “electrical energy storage unit,” precisely what EEStor calls the energy storage device on which it is working. A garment with an energy storage layer could help soldiers power electronics like a radio, flashlight, or GPS for longer periods of time — soldiers often carry a significant amount of weight in extra batteries to power such devices.

lockheedeestorimage41

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Lockheed Set to Tap Ocean Thermal Energy With DOE Funds

The world’s oceans are an energetic place, and military-industrial giant Lockheed Martin (s LMT) said today it has been granted $1.2 million by the Department of Energy to demonstrate that ocean thermal energy conversion is possible. Although the ocean often doesn’t feel very warm, the temperature gradient between the warm, sun-soaked surface and the frigid, dark depths provides enough of a differential to run a heat engine. The idea has been kicking around for over a century but has never been scaled. Lockheed Martin helped build the largest ocean thermal energy conversion system to date back in the 80s, but it only ever produced 50,000 watts, or .05 megawatts.

For those who aren’t so up on their thermodynamics, whenever you have a temperature gradient, there is accessible energy to be had. Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) works best when there’s a temperature difference of at least 20 degrees Celsius. Waters of two different temperatures are pumped through a heat exchanger which vaporizes and then condenses the water, producing energetic steam in the process.
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Markey Opens 2nd Round of Net Neutrality Fight

Ding! The second round of the Net Neutrality battle officially started today, with Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey’s introduction of H.R. 5353, a bill supporters are calling the “Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008.” Detractors, of course, will call it many other things, including a revival of 2006-era attempts to write Net Neutrality concepts into law. But a quick read-through of the official document shows a few twists, including some provisions for easing of video franchising laws, that may win some previous detractors over to the Net Neutrality side.

In addition to the video-franchising language, perhaps the most surprising thing about the bill is its timing — most telecom policy insiders doubt that any such legislation will pass until after the presidential election, since there doesn’t seem to be a wide consensus or support for the ideas it contains. But Markey’s somewhat expected bill — co-sponsored by Republican Chip Pickering of Mississippi — rolls the Net Neutrality ball back onto the court after basically being sidelined since the fall of 2006.

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