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TMCnet GreenTech Week in Review
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October 13, 2012

TMCnet GreenTech Week in Review

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

In green technology developments this week, despite the global recession, there’s good news about green investments – and there may be more to come: A pre-election survey has found that Americans want their President to fund renewable energy.  

Global economic woes are not affecting green energy investments. In fact, ventures in renewable energy technologies continued their steady rise in 2011, with total new investments in renewable power and fuels – excluding large hydropower and solar hot water – reaching $257 billion, up from $220 billion in 2010, according to a report from the Worldwatch Institute’s Climate and Energy program. In a year marked by falling costs for renewable energy technologies, net investment in renewable power capacity was $40 billion greater than investment in fossil fuel capacity, the research finds.

What’s more, in a recent survey by Ozoshare, a new social networking site for “greenies,” 50.8 percent of Americans of all “stripes” (Republicans, Democrats and Independents) said that the government should advance renewable energy using financial incentives.

In other news, on October 9 in Copenhagen, four of Asia’s leading automakers – Honda (News - Alert), Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota – signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with organizations from Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark on market introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

The rollout is expected to take place from 2014 through 2017.

OnStar is testing an app capable of telling Chevrolet Volt owners how much it costs to charge their batteries. The app also compares the Volt’s energy use with the total energy consumed at the drivers’ homes – by day, month or by year. The EcoHub app works by pulling overall home energy usage data, provided by an energy data source, such as a utility or smart meter company. The app also collects Volt charging information from OnStar subscribers and Volt owners who opt in for EcoHub.

The energy use data is then aggregated to show vehicle owners exactly how much energy they are using at home overall, including what percentage of that energy went to charging the Volt.

Apple (News - Alert) has apparently created biodegradable packaging for the new fifth-generation iPod Touch and seventh generation iPod Nano. This has not been announced by the Cupertino, California, computer and consumer electronic company, although Apple does reveal on its environmental website page that millions of iPhone (News - Alert) packages are now being made from renewable tapioca paper foam material – which probably is a component of the iPod box, as well. The scoop on this subject came from Mashable Tech staff writer Lance Ulanoff, who discovered (only he knows why and how) that the earpod case that came with his iPod packaging would dissolve to pulp when completely wet.

However, he warns, “Do not …try to dip the iPhone 5‘s earpod case into water. That thing is all hard plastic.”

GE Global Research has signed a contract with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to produce a carbon dioxide (CO2) monitoring system that may facilitate the widespread adoption of carbon sequestration. According to the terms of the agreement, GE will build a multi-point sensing system to monitor CO2 injected into geothermal containment wells. The use of these cavities—which extend one to two kilometers (0.6-1.2 miles) below the Earth’s surface – is being considered by the federal government, as well as power producers, as an option for the long-term, safe and stable storage of CO2.

Austin-based chipmaker Calxeda has secured $55 million in additional funding, one of the largest semiconductor capital deals this year. Austin Ventures and Vulcan Capital led the funding, in addition to participation by the firm’s existing investors. Calxeda, which claims to have invented the concept of using ARM (News - Alert) technology to cut data center power, plans to use the funding to accelerate adoption and innovation in the emerging market for ultra-low power scalable computing,

Finally, the new Hotel BPM Brooklyn in New York City combines urban, hip credentials with eco-friendly amenities. Indeed, guests planning a stay at Hotel BPM Brooklyn will see more "green" than the hotel's lime green décor. Hotelier DJ BIJAL, an influential deejay on the East Coast, is targeting a clientele that enjoys the latest in everything, from entertainment to environmental chic. Upon entering one of BPM’s 76 rooms, guests can unwind with eco-sensor air conditioner units that keep the room at an occupant’s desired temperature while adjusting air and heat levels based on whether the guest is in or out.

LED Energy Star-rated lighting and Vizeo LED smart TVs with built-in complimentary Wi-Fi allow guests to access Netflix, Pandora (News - Alert), Hulu and other interactive online sites – all of which help conserve energy.

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