Infographic: the periodic table of smartphones

Apple’s iPhone and other smartphones are full of rare earth minerals China is one of the biggest producers (and consumers) of these rare earth minerals, which are becoming such hot commodities that entrepreneurs and investors are thinking about mining the moon for them.

Daily Sprout

Earth, Wind & Fire: A Phoenix, Ariz.-based company called Solar Southwest Technology aims to power compressed air energy storage with surplus wind energy generated at night, rather than coal. To heat the air so it expands and drives turbine blades better, Solar Southwest is using solar power. — NYT’s Green Inc.

SunEdison, Xcel Partner for 50MW: SunEdison and Xcel Energy announced a deal today to build five photovoltaic solar installations in New Mexico that will total 50 MW in generating capacity in southeastern New Mexico by the end of 2011. SunEdison will build, finance and maintain the project under a 20-year solar power services agreement. — Press Release

The Trouble With Rare Earth Elements: Rare earth elements used in “green” techs like hybrid vehicle batteries and efficient light bulbs are mined almost entirely in China — in “some of the most environmentally damaging mines in the country, in an industry dominated by criminal gangs.” — New York Times

German Solar Firms Call for Faster Subsidy Cuts: German solar companies are proposing to cut feed-in tariffs faster than planned — by about 10 percent on January 1, 5 percent mid-year and then another 10 percent in 2011. — Reuters

Battery Help Wanted: The U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), made up of Chrysler, Ford and GM, wants to hear proposals for new and better electric vehicle batteries. The group plans to share costs 50-50 with developers of electrochemical energy storage technologies under four different projects. Autoblog Green

Google: You Buy Some, You Sell Some

on2_video_vp6-transUpdated: Google likes to buy things — sometimes with grand designs. But as we all know, grand designs have a habit of turning into delusions of grandeur. Today, the search giant made two moves. First, it made a smart and strategic bet by agreeing to buy video compression technology company On2 Technologies for $106.5 million in stock. It’s a gamble worth taking. Though whether it will pay off remains to be seen, for On2 Technologies’ codecs are losing favor to H.264.
Regardless, it’s in line with Google’s core competencies, that of web infrastructure technologies. “Today video is an essential part of the web experience, and we believe high-quality video compression technology should be a part of the web platform,” said Sundar Pichai, VP of product management at Google. With On2, Google can actually make enhanced video experiences a core part of its Android and Chrome system platforms. And by pushing On2’s codecs it can try to shape the future of web video. Read More about Google: You Buy Some, You Sell Some