Green technology boom

Tom James @ 13-08-2008

There are a couple of articles in Wired and the FT today about the recent increase in investment in green technology; including solar power, carbon sequestration, wind turbines, energy efficiency technology, and water purifiers.

Highlighted in both is the how rapidly the amounts of money being invested are increasing, from Wired:

Investments in companies working on green technology in North America totaled almost $4 billion in 2007, according to the CleanTech Group. And 2008 is on track to yield five times what was invested in 2004.

They also compare the current increase in investment with the dotcom boom of the late nineties, noting the comparatively high cost of entry as well as the long term outlook of green technology industries, from The FT:

Earlier this year, Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital, an important venture capital investor, warned of a speculative bubble in clean technology start-ups. It is an inevitable concern in the wake of the dotbomb and the less-than-impressive performance of many social networking websites. But echoing the words of solar power entrepreneur Mr Ford, Mr Traversone ripostes: “This is not a fad, this is a secular trend in investment.”

It would be wonderful if there was a second industrial revolution in clean, green technology. Thinkers like James Martin in his excellent book The Meaning of the 21st Century: A Vital Blueprint for Ensuring our Future talks about the idea of “eco-affluence” – the idea of developing an environmentally-friendly but extremely prosperous economy. I recommend Martin’s book as it discusses many speculative ideas but is grounded in reliable evidence.

[articles from Wired and The FT]


I Can’t Believe How Clean Your Bombs Are

James Boone Dryden @ 31-05-2008

Bombs being dropped from a B-52Two scientists have put together a bomb that could be (and I quote) “more powerful and safer to handle than TNT and other conventional explosives and would also be more environmentally friendly.”

Environmentally-friendly bombs? I’m not a war-monger, but what’s the sense in that? Bomb the hell out of their city, but make sure the trees don’t die? It just seems ridiculous. In an age when being “green” is marketable for a politician or trendy for soccer-moms, even this seems a bit of a stretch. I think Tony Stark would have to laugh at that. [image by James Gordon]


Liberating The Sail

Jeremy Lyon @ 02-08-2007

33-SmThe art of setting and trimming sails has a long and noble history, but when you think about it, it’s an art that exists because of fundamental flaws in the technology. Sails are fixed to a few basic positions that must be carefully tended to translate the impetus of wind into forward motion. Dan Tracy, “an enthusiastic sailor and fisherman from Mount Desert Island, Maine,” took a page from the kiteboarder’s playbook and attached a really big kite to a trimaran. Flying a kite lets him catch higher, steadier winds, from a wider variety of angles, to power his boat. Check him out on your next visit to Hawaii. [treehugger]