5 GreenTech Stories You Should Be Reading: April 16, 2012

The world today is talking about molten salt technology to boost the solar industry with energy storage; the place of EVs during times of fuel concerns and technological development; and how energy-efficiency is being marketed to a crowd whose main concern might not be environmentalism. Check it out.

gemasolar, torresol energy,molten salt

image via Torresol Energy

1.”Secret Ingredient to Making Solar Energy Work: Salt” – Forbes – Although solar is a rapidly growing business, to really compete with the well-established fossil fuels, energy storage development is a must. Currently, researchers at Halotechnics, a startup in San Francisco, are searching for the right mixture of molten salt that will store solar thermal energy in the most cheap and efficient manner; they are looking to replace costly potassium nitrate, which as of now makes up 40 percent of most molten salt mixtures, with something more cost-effective.

2.”Fuel Panic Buying: Are Electric Car Owners Feeling Smug?” – BBC – A look at the pros and cons of owning an electric vehicle. While they don’t have to wait in line at the gas station—especially long now in the face of a strike threat by U.K. fuel tanker drivers—they express some concern over the relatively limited range allowed them by EVs, as well as resale values, but it seems many see EVs as the cars of the future.

3.”Subtly Selling ‘Green’ to the Flat-Screen Crowd” – New York Times – A new strategy in selling energy-efficient electronics can be found in places like Sears, where the energy-saving features of state-of-the-art TVs are touted not as stereotypically “environmentalist,” but rather as a triumph of technology in order to appeal to a consumer base that might not put environmental concerns first. The new strategy also points out the practicality of energy-efficient gadgets, and boasts them as money-saving.

4.”When ‘Free Solar Panels’ Can Prove an Expensive Mistake” – The Telegraph – While “free solar panels” seemed like a good idea, it might have been too good to be true. It seems that mortgage applications are being refused, and buildings with these panels installed are now facing being unsaleable thanks to strict leases that lack buy-out clauses, resulting in broken deals. The practice of “free” solar panels is still a fairly new one, and obviously some kinks need to be worked out.

5. “Why You Don’t Want Your Electric Car to be Open Source“- GigaOm – Here’s an argument against the idea of open-sourcing mainstream, mass-produced electric vehicle technology. It’s based on the premise that “beta” software in a car is not exactly practical—and could even be dangerous—and the idea that EVs need to move beyond the realm of DIY tinkerers and become contenders in mainstream automotive manufacturing.

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.

    • Seth Bauer

      “Subtly Selling ‘Green’ to the Flat-Screen Crowd” is a great piece that missed a national source for energy efficient products: toptenusa.org