Business & Technology

Finding a role for everyone in the sustainability revolution

Focus the Nation is trying to help young people find their place in the clean energy revolution, be it innovators, technician, storytellers, or politico.

Cleantech

Google says delaying clean energy will cost the U.S. trillions

Google says that without a focus on renewables and electric vehicles, delaying the clean energy economy could cost the U.S. trillions of dollars.

Company wants to turn world’s biggest coal field into world’s biggest coal plant

A 250 mile long coal seam discovered deep in the interior desert of Australia's Northern Territory appears to be the most gigantic coal deposit on planet Earth, and Central Petroleum Limited wants to burn it all. They project it will take them at least a century to go through the entire reserve, or right about until they’ve turned Australia’s notoriously harsh desert into an incomprehensibly lifeless hellscape populated by miners in climate controlled space-suits.

Flow batteries store electricity in giant tanks of goop

Even if we do manage to set up a shiny futuristic renewable smart grid made of glitter and staffed by zebra unicorns, there are still going to be times when it poops out. Maybe the wind isn’t blowing; maybe a mean old cloud got in the way. And when that happens, there aren't enough boat batteries in the world to store all the electricity we're going to need to keep everything running.

How rainforests can produce biofuel sustainably

Production of biofuel from palm oil has been an unmitigated disaster for the rainforest, leading to clear-cutting throughout Indonesia and propelling that country to the top ranks of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters. That's why it's so strange that biologist Willie Smits, last seen cooking up a plan to save orangutans, thinks that biofuels could actually save the rainforest.

How to build an open-source internet from household trash

If there's anything we learned from the revolutions in the Middle East, it's that the internet has become a critical tool for burgeoning democracies. So what to do in places where the internet is tightly controlled, or just unreliable? For residents of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, the solution is: build your own. Using help from the National Science Foundation and a pile of household trash, they've built an open-source wireless network that can transmit up to several miles.

Check out this solar-powered 3D printer

Yo dawg, I heard you like solar power, so I put some solar power in your 3D printer so you can solar power while you 3D print.

Critical List: ‘Irrational exuberance’ about shale gas; doubling fuel economy in the U.S

The New York Times obtained government documents that call natural gas companies' enthusiasm about shale gas and hydrofracking "irrational exuberance.” That exuberance has convinced some lawmakers, though. Nine of them are writing to President Obama to ask him to push for more gas drilling. In other technology-that’s-not-actually-going-to-save-us news, China's building a $1.5 billion clean coal plant, the first commercial clean coal plant of this size.

Green Cars

Used fuel-efficient compact cars increase 30 percent in value

There may still be something tangible in your life gaining value: your used, fuel-efficient car.