5 GreenTech Stories You Should Be Reading: April 6, 2012

What’s everyone else talking about today? The past and the future of electric vehicles, community wind and solar as a way to spread renewable energy to more people, and an efficient new way to store solar energy, thanks to a soil microbe. Read all about it.


image via Nissan

1. “Nissan Chief Still Bullish on EVs” – The Detroit News – Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan Motor Co., is standing by his prediction that electric vehicles will make up 10% of the automobile market by 2020, citing the good sales of the Nissan Leaf and the emerging technology as evidence, and announced that US-based production of the 2013 Leaf will begin inDecember. Others are skeptical, however, based on the poor sales of the Chevy Volt and the Leaf in recent times.

2. “100-Year-Old Electric Car Offers Trip Back in Time” – The Globe and Mail – If you thought electric cars were a modern invention, think again. The Detroit Electric from 1912, powered by nickel-iron batteries (developed by Thomas Edison), reaches a top speed of 38 miles per hour—if you’re going downhill. Though it’s currently in Victoria, British Columbia, efforts are being made to return it to Detroit in time for the city’s sesquicentennial celebration in August.

3. “Buying Renewable Power Should Be As Easy As Downloading an App” – Good – Tom Matzzie started Ethical Electric to connect electric customers with clean, renewable energy in a straightforward and easy manner. Customers can either buy shares in a community solar or wind project and count the energy generated at that project against their electric bills, or match their electricity consumption with renewable energy credits from a local project.

4. “The Future of Wind Power: 9 Cool Innovations” – Treehugger – Developers the world over are making great strides in advancing wind turbine technology, from airborne turbines that float high over the land to turbines that can generate energy from low windspeeds, to turbines that aren’t turbines at all, but large flexible stalks that capture the wind’s energy. Other studies are under way to improve efficiency, cut down on noise, store energy captured from wind and put wind power into the hands of local people.

5. “Fossil Free: Microbe Helps Convert Solar Power to Liquid Fuel” – Scientific American – Researchers at UCLA are in the process of developing a “bioreactor” that fuses biofuel and solar power and may be the stepping stone to creating new forms of alternative fuels. This form of harnessing the sun’s energy in liquid fuel—by way of a genetically-tweaked soil microbe’s natural chemical process—could be one of the most efficient ways to store solar energy.

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.

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