Business & Technology

Business & Technology

Feds approve Shell’s plan to spill oil in the Arctic

The Obama administration just approved Shell Oil's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic, and even though it got its way, the company is still whining about "unwarranted restrictions" attached to this approval (it can't drill when winter ice …

Business & Technology

Heavy metal sucks; this device eliminates it

Heavy metal, as in the music and the cartoon movie with all the boobs, is still cool. (YES IT IS.) But heavy metals, as in heavy metals, are not very popular on account of being toxic. Luckily engineers at Brown …

Business & Technology

Death of ‘lightbulb ban’ greatly exaggerated

Congresscritters who love inefficiency, waste, and air pollution — or at least the money that comes from industries that do — attached a rider to the spending bill yesterday evening that will reverse an earlier law to phase out crappy …

Business & Technology

Fundamental breakthrough could double electricity from solar panels

It is a truth often repeated that fundamental physical limits mean solar panels can never capture and transform more than about 31 percent of the sun's energy. But Xiaoyang Zhu at the University of Texas apparently just did the impossible, …

Business & Technology

Facebook and coal are no longer in a relationship

Until recently, Facebook had an "it's complicated" relationship with coal; an April 2011 Greenpeace report found that 53.2 percent of the company's electricity use was coal-generated. Now, the company is pledging to move away from dirty fuel and work towards …

Animals

Critical List: Jaczko reportedly a jerk; Gore flogs ‘sustainable capitalism’

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's commissioners are calling out their boss, Gregory Jaczko, for being a jerk. It's not exactly reassuring when the body that oversees nuclear power can't even get its own house in order. Other countries are taking way …

Biofuel

E. coli can now make three kinds of fuel out of grass

Switchgrass, Dubya’s favorite biofuel feedstock, is back in the news. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered E. coli — the same bug that is spoiling the lives of raw cookie dough eaters everywhere — …

Business & Technology

Apple HQ could have the country’s biggest solar installation, and it still won’t be enough

The current plan for the new Apple headquarters calls for 500,000 or more square feet of solar panels, generating at least 5MW of power. That could make it the biggest corporate solar panel installation in the U.S. — but Apple …

Energy Efficiency

A magical meter and friendly competition help one community dial back energy use

The Island Energy Dashboard gives residents a real-time look at how much electricity they’re sucking from the grid. When Puget Sound Energy announced plans to build a new substation to meet rising electricity demand on Bainbridge Island, Wash., in 2009, …