Saturday, October 24, 2009

Obama At MIT

Check out the story I wrote and filmed for New Scientist of President Obama's address at MIT on Friday.
Prior to his clean energy speech, the cynics had already written it off as a token "official" event to justify private funderaisers he would attend later in the day for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd.
While there may be some truth to their claims, his arrival inside MIT's Kresge Auditorium created a buzz that was nothing short of flipping the switch on Alcator C-Mod, the University's nuclear fusion reactor.

Obama faces some tough challenges, increasing skepticism, and looming deadlines as he and others look to move climate legislation through Congress.  Here's hoping they succeed.  
image credit: Shepard Fairey & AP Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Clean Beams

Consumers may never hear of Advanced Electron Beams, but the technology the company has developed could fundamentally change the way everyday products are made in processes that could save millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

Check out the following story I wrote about the company for Technology Review; Clean Tech's Hot New Tool

AEB replaces the heat and/or chemicals that are typically used to drive industrial reactions with electron beams.

For example, car manufacturers today use massive ovens to bake paint onto car bodies.  If you zap the paint pigment with a cloud of electrons instead, you can get the paint to stick to the body panels with no heat in a process that uses 90 percent less energy.  AEB isn't the first to make electron beams by a long shot, but if all works out, their smaller, cheaper beams may be the first to make it main stream.

Image Credit; Advanced Electron Beams

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Sunday, October 18, 2009


I recently co-authored the following feature for New Scientist profiling some of the hottest new technologies for a cleaner, less energy intensive world.

Better World: Top Tech For a Cleaner Planet 

It was a fun project to work on and one that got me scouring the planet for the best in Clean-Tech.   

Not every new development that I proposed made the cut, but, one in particular that deserves honorable mention is EcoRock; a new type of drywall (or sheet rock) that requires 80 percent less energy to manufacture than the conventional stuff.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Love That Dirty Water

"Raw sewage flowed from outmoded wastewater treatment plants. Toxic discharges from industrial facilities colored the river pink and orange. Fish kills, submerged cars and appliances, leaching riverbank landfills, and noxious odors were routine occurrences." -Charles River History, Charles River Watershed Association

The river Charles has come a long way since the above description
from the 1960s. The EPA now gives it a B+ in its annual Charles River Report Card, up from a D just 14 years ago.

Rachel and I spent the afternoon with friends Ben and Heather paddling a section of the river in Newton, MA, about 10 miles west of Cambridge.

The river still has room for improvement--and additional cleanup efforts are underway--but I'd give our afternoon an A+.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dash for Green Cash

If you invested in green funds the past couple years, you likely lost your shirt--even more so than others--in the current recession according to an article in today's Boston Globe. But the smart money today, the article goes on to say, is in another type of green investing; eco-improvements on your home that will reduce your cost of living.

Nowhere does this seem to be more true than in Massachusetts. I've been looking into installing solar photovoltaic panels on our condo and with the combination of state and federal tax credits and rebates, they are practically giving the stuff away.

From what I can tell, a 5 kw, $50,000 system that would cover all of our electric needs and allow us to sell back to the grid would cost $12,000 after a $22,000 state rebate, a 30 % federal tax credit (with no cap), and a 15 % state tax credit (with a cap at $1000).

Unfortunately, it seems too many people have caught on to how good of a deal this is and starting tomorrow night at midnight the state is scaling back its rebate. The 50K system that currently goes for $12,000, will now come in at $15,500.

Anybody want to spot me 12K by midnight tomorrow?

image courtesy of Wikimedia

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