Cleantech

Business & Technology

Robots could make solar power super cheap

It’s a simple enough robot: an ATV equipped with a robotic arm and few cameras. But it’s already stealing green jobs from humans. Its suction cups grab onto the glass face of huge, power-plant-grade solar panels and lift them onto a metal frame. One robot, with three human helpers, can install a field of solar panels in an eighth of the time it would take 35 humans. Technology Review explains: The main idea is to save money on labor, which accounts for a growing fraction of the cost of solar power as panels get cheaper … For a 14-megawatt solar plant, …

Cleantech

Levitating LED light bulb could easily be the coolest thing in your house

The internet is full of makers, creating homebrewed technology out of stuff they have lying around, but every so often someone makes a thing that I can totally see as the centerpiece of tomorrow’s science-fiction way of life. For instance, this levitating LED bulb.

Green Cars

This tiny electric car folds up for easy parking

The all-electric Fold is normally eight feet long, already smaller than a SmartCar. But it folds up to a mere five feet long for parking, about the size of a shopping cart.

Global cleantech investment picks itself up off the floor

After a bruising first quarter of 2012, investment globally climbs -- thanks in large part to a spike in China.

Climate & Energy

The future of solar

It'll be a while before we see the final shape of the solar industry, says Michael Liebreich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Business & Technology

How to put solar panels on your roof, even if you don’t have a roof

A bill advancing through the California legislature would make it easy for anyone who pays a utility bill to become a solar customer.

Business & Technology

Spray-on batteries could turn your coffee cup into an energy collecting device

A team of engineers have figured out how to make spray-on, rechargeable batteries that could transform any surface, anywhere, into a device for collecting and storing energy.

Business & Technology

This gigantic hybrid ship can run on a battery

Although gigantic ships are relatively efficient — compared to, say, transporting massive amounts of stuff by airplane — they do use an astounding amount of fuel. The shipping industry is working on this problem. In particular, a Norwegian shipping company and a marine energy company are partnering to work on a hybrid ship, the Viking Lady. The Viking Lady (how awesome is that name?) already has a fuel cell installed that helps reduce its energy impact. Next year it should be getting a battery. Together, those features will mean it won’t have to burn gas while it’s hanging out in …

Cleantech

Here’s a fuel cell that runs on brain juice

Whatever, Google Glasses; I’m holding out for the Google brain implant. And that just got a little more plausible, thanks to new technology for fuel cells that run off of blood sugar. In theory, if you popped one of these babies in your brain, it could get all its power from your own cerebrospinal fluid (the stuff that cushions your brain inside your skull).

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