Top stories on our radar this week in the world of clean tech.
UK’s Top “CleanTech” Companies Come to Silicon Valley Last week 16 of the UK's top cleantech startups visited Silicon Valley and San Francisco for Clean and Cool Mission 2012 to showcase their technologies and connect with investors, customers, suppliers and partners. The companies represented are working on innovations from hybrid solar modules to new LED bulbs.China to Spend Billions in Smart Grid Infrastructure China is ready to spend big on smart grid connectivity for all of that renewable energy infrastructure they're adding. The State Grid Corporation of China expects to invest more than $400 billion in power grid construction over the next five years with $100 billion of that going to smart grid technologies and more than $60 billion going to developing a transmission network across China.
Google Embraces Thermal Storage in Taiwan Google is building a thermal energy storage system at its new Taiwan data center that will store energy as ice for cooling. The data center will run air conditioning during the night when temperatures are cooler and rates are lower and then tap the thermal storage system for cooling during the day.
Hybrid Solar PV and Solar Thermal Panel Ups Efficiency at High Temperatures By 50% Naked Energy, a UK startup, has designed a hybrid solar PV and solar thermal panel that they claim can boost efficiency by up to 50% at high temperatures. Solar PV panels typically see a downturn in efficiency when they get too hot, but the new modules draw heat away from the panels to be used for home heating or hot water heating, keeping the PV cells cool enough to keep operating at a higher efficiency.
LG Making Bendable E-Book Display LG announced that they've been mass production of a bendable electronic paper display (EPD) for use in e-books. The displays are being sent to companies in China for use in products that could be completed sometime this month. The company says “As EPD gets thinner, lighter, and more durable with the introduction of plastic EPD, e-books will be able to offer certain unique benefits compared to smart devices and tablets, including reduced eye fatigue and more efficient electricity consumption in addition to lower prices.”
Players of "Energy Battle" Game Cut Energy Use By Up to 45% Researchers at Delft University of Technology created an energy consumption game called "Energy Battle" that they had 20 student households play. The households were able to cut their energy use by a quarter on average with the best performing household cutting energy use by 45 percent. They published their findings in the Journal of Design Research, saying that creating a game out of energy use was a strong motivator to cut consumption.
Xtreme Power Building Small-Scale Battery Storage for Energy Microgrids Xtreme Power, the maker of large battery storage systems for Hawaii and Texas wind farms, is also working on small-scale battery storage to create clean energy microgrids for the poor, remote border towns of Texas.