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TMCnet GreenTech Week in Review
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October 27, 2012

TMCnet GreenTech Week in Review

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

In green technology news this week, scientists from three top U.S. research institutions have come up with a deceptively simple suggestion for slowing down the pace of global warming; and for those who love lists (or want to appear on them), the annual Green Rankings from Newsweek/The Daily Beast are out.

In the era before sunscreen became de rigueur, many beachgoers used aluminum reflectors to “catch some rays” and direct them at their oiled-up bodies to achieve a deeper tan. Now, scientists have considered the benefits of doing exactly the opposite—directing sunlight back at the atmosphere from which it originates—to alleviate the effects of global warming. Indeed, based on the results of a new study executed by researchers at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC; and California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, it may be possible to mitigate the effects of climate change caused by greenhouse gases by using “solar geoengineering,” tailored to reduce heat inequality— or to manage specific risks such as the loss of Arctic sea ice. By increasing the concentrations of aerosols in the stratosphere or by creating low-altitude marine clouds, the as-yet hypothetical solar geoengineering projects would scatter incoming solar heat away from the Earth’s surface.

Big Blue has snagged the number one spot as the most eco-friendly company in America, based on the Newsweek/Daily Beast fourth annual Green Rankings report. IBM (News - Alert) continues to innovate, both in reducing its own environmental impact and in helping client companies to do the same. The granddaddy of all computer companies also came in at number four in the world rankings. The 2012report broke the results down into a number of categories—including America’s Greenest Companies, the Greenest Companies Globally, the Greenest U.S. Energy Companies; the Greenest U.S. Politicians—and more. The list of the top five greenest companies in America comprises the following firms: IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sprint (News - Alert) .Dell and CA Technologies. (For the other lists, see the story.)

And speaking of rankings, Datapipe, a provider of managed services and infrastructure for outsourced IT and cloud computing, is moving up in the world. The company has moved to a lofty number eight on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Top 20 Tech & Telecom list of the largest green power users. According to Datapipe, this ranking reflects its undeterred commitment to safeguard  the environment by improving its existing partnership with EPA’s Green PowerPartnership. The company is making use of more than74 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power every year.

In other green news, London’s first fleet of all-electric minicabs will be created by two companies that bring relevant talents to the table, or rather, the street: Rechargeable battery and electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer BYD, based in Shenzhen, China, and the London minicab service greentomatocars have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to test what they are calling the new BYD London eTaxi. BYD will supply greentomatocars with 50 of its pure electric e6 models for trial use in Britain’s capital city. The BYD e6 is roomy, five-passenger-crossover, with ample luggage capacity. It is a zero-direct-emission EV, which means that it emits no harmful toxic emissions. Greentomatocars is London’s second-largest quality minicab service and strives to use the most environmentally-friendly vehicles in its current fleet of 300 hybrids. It is expected that the new electric BYD e6s will be available for customer use in the second quarter of 2013.

It’s not “dry cleaning” as we know it today, but the process eliminates 90 percent of the water used in a commercial laundry facility. Xeros Ltd., a United Kingdom-based start-up, has developed technology that combines little polymer beads with a small amount of detergent to launch a molecular cleaning reaction that pulls stains out of clothes and into those beads. Xeros says its process is up to 30 percent cheaper than conventional washing. Apart from saving on water, the cleaner uses 50 percent less cleaning chemical and 50 percent less energy.

The summer of 2012 will go down in history as the third-warmest ever for the continental United States—and July was the hottest month on record in America—according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. Thus, it was no small feat for Norcross, Georgia-based Comverge., a provider of intelligent energy management solutions, to save its U.S. customers 32 gigawatt hours (gWh) of electricity from June through September. In fact, when combined with the company’s overseas savings for a total of 35 gigawatts, Comverge achieved the equivalent of taking more than 36,000 homes off the grid for one month. This doubles the 16 gigawatt hours of energy reduction Comverge delivered during the 2011 “cooling season,” when customer air conditioners also were continually busy. Comverge executed more than 235 events—providing rapid response to changing energy loads— during the summer of 2012, compared to 199 events during all of 2011.

Soon, you’ll never have to leave your couch again, because the home energy market has gone Wi-Fi. The newest entry is from Irvine, California-based GreenWave Reality, and it’s a total residential lighting solution that can be operated using your ubiquitous smartphone or a remote control. Forget rewiring your house and take the electrician off your speed dial The GreenWave Reality Connected Lighting Solution—incorporating JenNet-IP network layer software from NXP Semiconductors (News - Alert) in Eindhoven, the Netherlands—can be used right out of the box. You just screw in some LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs, plug GreenWave's miraculous little box into your existing wireless router, and do a quick setup on your Apple (News - Alert) iOS or Android device. It’s that simple. The LED bulbs fit in most standard sockets. The starter kit, which includes the Wi-Fi device and four LED bulbs, will cost around $200.

Finally, Telvent GIT, a real-time IT solutions and information provider, recently announced that its advanced distribution management system (DMS) has been selected by New Zealand’s Unison (News - Alert) Networks. According to the officials from Unison, the new solution will help the company combine energy management into a single integrated platform that will include SCADA, distribution management and outage management functionalities, providing the company with core technology to modernize its electric grid.

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