|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Saturday, August 19, 2006
Massive collection of news stories, blog links, and articles on renewables and clean tech. Includes some unique content, like an analysis
of the implications of today's solar silicon shortage, which "will likely end at some time from 2008 to 2010" when production levels are expected to at least double. "it is reasonable to suppose that the solar silicon shortage will
continue in 2007, but will be greatly reduced in 2008 and will come to
an end by 2010," which has some implications for thin-film producers. "In industrialized nations with solar incentives, such as the USA,
Germany, and Japan, the trend is towards a need for smaller and higher
efficiency solar panels, which means that silicon is best suited for
this market. In the developing world the need is for cheaper solar
panels that may take up more space, so that low cost thin films are
best suited for that market." 12:36:27 AM
The future of appliances is virtual
: Good summary of the advantages of virtual appliances: "Virtual appliances have some distinct advantages over traditional appliances
and servers. So many, in fact, that the age of the traditional hardware
appliance could be coming to an end. .. although hardware appliances are usually much easier to deploy and manage than traditional full function servers, they are wasteful when it comes to power consumption, heat output and space requirements. Each appliance also needs cabling to networks and power outlets, and before you can use them, most also need you to connect a serial interface to them to assign an IP address. This last point may seem trivial, but finding a PC with a serial port and a copy of HyperTerminal thatís within a cableís length of a new appliance is not always easy. Plus, [you may need] two appliances if you want a reasonable degree of fault tolerance.
In contrast, virtual appliances can be run on whatever hardware you see fit,
ranging from a cheap single-socket desktop for appliances that you just want to
evaluate, through to extremely fault-tolerant multiprocessor server hardware and
SAN storage for a virtual appliance that you need to be constantly available." And of course they have advantages for the vendor, allowing them to distribute easily-changed software rather than inventory and ship hardware. 12:31:29 AM
Toyota pursuing plug-in hybrids and flex-fuel:
"Toyota Motor North America plans to pursue a
plug-in hybrid vehicle, touting the long-term potential of gas-electric
hybrids on America's highways. "Make no mistake about it,
hybrids are the technology of the future, and they will play a starring
role in the automotive industry in the 21st century," said Jim Press,
who recently became the first non-Japanese president of Toyota Motor
Corp.'s U.S. subsidiary, in a speech
Tuesday at the National Press Club." "First, Toyota is strongly considering introducing a flex-fuel vehicle program in the United States in the near term. We're already developing vehicles that can operate in ethanol-rich Brazil and we're optimistic that we can offer similar vehicles to American consumers. And, second, we are pursuing a "plug-in" hybrid vehicle that can travel greater distances without using its gas engine, conserving more oil and slicing smog and greenhouse gases to nearly imperceptible levels." 12:23:18 AM
BP to invest 8 bln usd in renewable energy business
: "BP PLC is to spend up to 8 bln usd over the
next 10 years to develop alternative and renewable energies, said chief
executive Lord Browne.
The planned investment, which is double its
existing spending on the business, seeks to create a new low-carbon
power unit that could potentially generate around 6 bln usd in annual
revenues within the next decade, he added.
The first phase of the programme will involve
1.8 bln usd spread over the next three years on solar, wind, hydrogen
and combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power generation projects.
'We are focusing our investment in alternatives and renewables on power
generation because it accounts for over 40 pct of man-made greenhouse gas
emissions, the biggest single source,' Browne stressed.
'As the pricing of carbon develops through
trading schemes and other initiatives, the market will grow rapidly as
low-emission technologies displace
less clean forms of power generation,' he said.
BP has identified sites in the US to
accommodate wind turbines with a total capacity of 2,000 megawatts. It
is also finalising plans to invest 400 mln usd at one of its CCGT
plants in the US.
" 12:01:08 AM