5 Green Tech Stories You Should Be Reading: April 24, 2012

What’s the buzz on the Internet today? A battery that breathes, the present and the future of cleantech investments in the U.S. and the world, a new, slightly gross but rather practical version of geothermal, and more.

sustainability base

image via NASA

1. “Where Wastewater is Wanted” – My San Antonio – Philadelphia-based company NovaThermal is using “sewage geothermal,” a technology pioneered in China, to use sewage as a source of heat for buildings. A heat pump extracts the heat from the sewage using a conventional heat pump, and is, they claim, more cost-effective than actual geothermal power, as they use preexisting sewers.

2. “NASA’s Greenest Building Unveiled at Moffett Field” – Mercury News – NASA’s “Sustainability Base,” the newest building at the Ames Research Center, is officially the greenest federal building with an LEED Platinum certification using solar panels, a water recovery system and monitors that control lights and heating and cooling for maximum energy efficiency. Not only that, but it produces more energy than it consumes, allowing it to provide clean power to other buildings on the campus.

3. “California Takes Lead in Clean Technology Investments” – EcoSeed – The U.S. accounted for 71 percent of all the venture capital investments in clean technology in 2011, and 57 percent of that came from California, where investments totaled $3.5 billion. As a result, the state’s economy, which was hit hard during the recession, is growing while dependency on carbon-based fuels is shrinking.

4. “Introducing an Air-Breathing Battery That Could Power a Breakout Electric Car” – GigaOm – IBM recently announced progress in its lithium air battery technology, wherein lithium ions combine with oxygen pulled right from the air to produce power, similar to a way an internal combustion engine pulls in oxygen. A battery like this would have a very high energy density, more than current lithium-ion batteries; its light weight would add to its efficiency; and the fact that it uses oxygen means it would need to be recharged far less often.

5. “Bill Slashes Funding for Clean Tech Investment” – Green Tech Media – Renewable energy funding would be cut in a new House bill, with the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) kitty taking a 17 percent whack in 2013, compared to 2012, while programs for nuclear and fossil fuels would see increased funding. The proposed cuts come at the same time when tax credits for renewable energy, like wind power, are expiring, and the bill could further slow the development of clean energy in the U.S.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.