Griffith Hack Clean & Sustainable Technologies

Cleantech Global 100 entries open by Justin Blows
May 31, 2009, 3:48 pm
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Later this year, the Cleantech Group and the Guardian will publish the Cleantech Global 100, a list of the 100 most promising private clean technology companies on the planet.

Entry forms need to be submitted before nominations close June 30th, 2009. The final list of 100 private companies will be derived from nominations and the views of a panel of experts to reflect the combined wisdom of the international cleantech community.


Australia’s Carnegie Corp Ltd buys wave power patents by Justin Blows
May 30, 2009, 5:12 pm
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ceto2pumpAccording to this report, Australian company Carnegie has purchased a portfolio of patents for wave generators from Renewable Energy Holdings.

Justin Blows

DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation by Justin Blows
May 30, 2009, 4:47 pm
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DuPont has just held the 21st DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation. As reported here, DuPont beleives packaging can be improved for simultaneous  environmental and economic benefits.

Winning products included shampoo bottles with nearly 100% recycled plastic content, packages made from new natural materials, self-standing pouches for replacing glass jars.  One of the winners is Australian: A&C Packers.

Justin Blows

GE and Siemens fight it out for Clean IP supremacy by Justin Blows
May 30, 2009, 4:31 pm
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If you think that big corporations are not protecting clean and sustainable technologies, think again.  General Electric is getting into this area in a big way, and they are fierce  advocates for a strong patent system to promote cleantech.  

As reported here,  Carl Horton, GE’s chief IP counsel explained that his firm has already made progress with its dedicated R&D stream for clean-energy solutions. ‘Innovative projects like those in GE’s Ecomagination initiative,’ he said, ‘prove that new energy technologies help fuel economic growth, create a new generation of green collar jobs, and help us be responsible environmental stewards.’

GE Battery

One of GE’s ecomagination products is a reciprocating engine that run off biogass (methane) from fermented animal waste.  As reported here, they are also working on the Smart Grid and batteries.  GE also is one of the major manufactures of wind turbines.

It’s a highly profitable enterprise, with reported revenues last year of US$17B.  No wonder they are keen to protect clean and sustainable technology!

Across the Atlantic, another industrial juggernaut, Siemens, is getting a little hot under the collar for the attention that GE is getting.  As reported here,  Siemens claims to have made US$26B in 2008 from cleantech products – and believes it is much better at it!

It appears that the big corporations are eyeing green stimulus packages in response to the global financial crises (GFC).  To many, these packages are a great way to address the GFC and climate change at the same time.

Justin Blows

Report highlights bright future for Solar by Justin Blows
May 28, 2009, 10:00 am
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As reported here, a recent report Concentrated Solar Power Global Outlook 2009 states that concentrated solar power could provide 25% of the world’s power needs by 2050.

Justin Blows

Toyota’s winning patent strategy paying off by Justin Blows
May 25, 2009, 9:17 am
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Toyota, as reported,  is transferring its hybrid vehicle technology to Ford.  This may be part of a decisive strategy to make the Toyota technology a global standard.

Toyota has an overwhelming dominance of the patent landscape for hybrid vehicles giving it an extremely strong commercial position.  No doubt it will be using its portfolio to extract maximum concessions from Ford.

If Toyota’s move to make it’s technology a global standard is realised then Toyota will make a windfall profit from licencing its patents to all the car manufactures who are in increasing numbers releasing their own models of hybrid vehicles.

Justin Blows

Patent filed for breakthrough Lithium-Sulfur battery by Justin Blows

The rechargeable battery world is abuzz with the news that a rechargeable battery based on lithium-sulfur chemistry has been realised.  This chemistry has the potential to store many times the charge of current lithium-ion batteries which is good news for all sorts of clean and sustainable technologies, most notably hybrid and electric vehicles.  The breakthrough was the use of nanotechnology.  The nano-structure of the cathode is shown in the figure.

Carbon nanorods with infused sulfur make a great cathode

Carbon nanorods with infused sulfur make a great cathode

According to this article, the team from The University of Waterloo, Canada have filed a patent application and are now seeking to commercialise the invention.  A very quick search of the USPTO didn’t reveal the patent so it appears that the specification has not been published yet or was filed in another country.  I understand that there is a Nature Materials article on the technology by the inventors.

The team leader, Dr Nazar, has been quoted here as saying:
The difficult challenge was always the cathode, the part of the battery that stores and releases electrons in the charge and recharge cycles … To enable a reversible electrochemical reaction at high current rates, the electrically-active sulphur needs to remain in the most intimate contact with a conductor, such as carbon. 
Beyond this, there are even more startling developments.  A group at The Univsersity of St Andrews is researching a  new type of low cost, air-fuelled lithium ion battery that is claimed to be able to offer up to ten times the energy storage of designs currently available. Improved capacity is thanks to the addition of a component that uses oxygen drawn from the air during discharge, replacing one chemical constituent used in rechargeable batteries today. Not having to carry the chemicals around in the battery offers more energy for the same size battery. 

I hope that this team has their patent strategy worked out because surely their technology will be in high demand if successful.