Top stories on our radar this week in the world of clean tech.
Wind Turbines that Learn Like Humans Chinese researchers have come up with wind turbine controls that mirror human memory. These controls allow turbines to quickly adjust to fluctuating wind conditions to maximize turbine performance by changing blade angles or torque based on what has happened before.
Africa to Generate More E-waste than Europe by 2017 No longer just a dumping ground for the rest of the world's e-waste, Africa is set to surpass Europe in the amount of e-waste that it generates. A growing population and increased access to mobile phones, computers and accessories is creating the problem, but smart recycling could turn it around.
Data Center Startups Get Catty A new startup created by ex-Cisco executives building a new high speed data center switch along with a software management platform is poaching talent from all of the competing companies working on the same technology. The company, Insiemi, is promising their recruits multimillion dollar payouts when their company inevitably is bought by Cisco and brought back under its umbrella. It has successfully pulled at least five executives from its competitors.
Nearly 73 Million Smart Meters Were Shipped in 2011 Global shipments of smart meters hit 73 million last year with China being the largest customer, receiving 71 percent of the meters. Deployments slowed slightly in the fourth quarter, with a major drop in new deployments announced during that time, worrying analysts that the smart meter market had reached its peak.
Top Ten Utility Smart Grid Deployments in North America Greentech Media names the top ten utility smart grid initiatives and tells us how each is approaching bringing their customers and renewable energy into the smart grid.
Climate Change is Speeding Up the Internet Now that ice-free summers in the Arctic are a reality, the first trans-Arctic fiber optic cable will be laid to carry voice and data communication directly from London to Tokyo. The cable will speed up the connection between Asia and Europe by 30 percent.
Scarce Resources May Slow Cleantech Growth A study by research organization the Stockholm Environment Institute and by business initiative 3C shows that shortages in water, biomass and certain metals could occur by 2035 and significantly slow cleantech development. Metals like indium and tellurium, which are used in solar PV technologies, along with others, could be scarce by 2020 and severely depleted by 2035.
Smaller Inverters Could Make Solar Power Cheaper Inverters, the devices that convert the DC power made by solar panels into the AC power needed for households or the grid, are usually the size of refrigerators and require special moving equipment and structures to house them, making solar installations more expensive. A new suitcase-sized design by company Ideal Power Converters could cut the cost of installations by 15 cents per watt, which amounts to thousands of dollars for a large rooftop installation.