Solar Boom in Japan, with Battery to Match

Japan has been making large strides in solar since the Fukushima disaster, and those efforts look set to accelerate, at least in the near term. The country, which is not blessed with a wealth of fossil fuel resources, had relied heavily on nuclear energy, but it is now spending big for solar installations as well as energy storage. Just in time for Earth Day, Bloomberg is reporting that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry...

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Natural Gas and Cleantech

Cleantech fans: it is time to educate yourselves. Set aside for a moment your interest in wind energy, solar, bio-based chemicals, biofuels, and electric vehicles and read this week’s story about what the U.S. may do with its abundant natural gas. Here are some things that the country can do with natural gas: it can make electricity, upgrade it to useful chemicals, use it as a transportation fuel, or export it. The U.S. has access to...

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There’s Still Hope for Energy & Materials Start-ups

Funding for cleantech and related start-ups can be feast or famine. Government, venture capital, and corporate backing ebbs and flows. One constant, though, is that technology entrepreneurs should never miss a chance to get in front of investors. On February 25, start up executives will pitch to investors at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, DC. An event run by Future Energy will provide the space, a slide template,...

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Thin film solar maker Miasolé bought by China’s Hanergy

Hanergy, a China-based renewable energy company, announced today that it has completed its acquisition of thin-film solar firm Miasolé. The buyer first reached a purchase agreement with Miasolé’s investors in September. Of the many photovoltaic manufacturers out there – and/or recently bankrupt – Miasolé is one of the most elegant. And not just because of its attractive-sounding name (news reports online have...

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What the Election Means for Climate, Energy & Cleantech

Update: Here’s a link to C&EN’s election story – including new House & Senate leaders in energy-related roles. It’s been a quiet time in cleantech news lately, what with Sandy and the election happening in back-to-back weeks. But the election – and the superstorm – are likely to have meaningful long-term impacts on energy policy. I took a tour around the internets to see what analysts and...

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SoloPower, Gevo: Can a capital-light strategy save cleantech?

I wish I could be in Portland, Oregon today to watch SoloPower start up its first production line of thin film CIGS solar panels. The company says it can manufacture in a continuous process to make its solar material in strips as long as one mile. The company asserts that its thin, flexible modules are a good fit for building-integrated solar, especially in locations where heavier, traditional glass panels cannot be installed such as...

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