Griffith Hack Clean & Sustainable Technologies

Solar powered turbine by Justin Blows
July 26, 2010, 8:04 am
Filed under: Feature

According to this report, the CSIRO and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have teamed up on a system that drives Brayton Cycle turbines with solar heated air. A big plus of the system is that the turbines are compatible with natural gas when the sun in unavailable.

Also, no cooling water is required.

Justin Blows

Victoria announces solar funding by Justin Blows
July 22, 2010, 3:17 pm
Filed under: Feature

The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) has welcomed the Victorian Government’s commitment to generate 5% of the State’s electricity from solar power by 2020 and $50m in funding for a 154MW solar project at Mildura.
“This announcement by the Victorian Premier, John Brumby, of a feed-in tariff for large scale solar makes Victoria the sun smart State” said John Grimes the CEO of the Australian Solar Energy Society. “By generating 5% of its electricity from solar power, Victoria will lead Australia in powering homes and communities with pollution free energy from the sun”.
“Premier Brumby’s announcement is good news for Victoria’s environment, for regional communities and for the Australian solar industry. This policy will generate thousands of clean economy construction and manufacturing jobs in north-west and central Victoria, boosted by $50m in funding for Solar Systems, a subsidiary of Silex”.
The Australian Solar Energy Society calls on the Federal Government and Opposition to match Premier Brumby’s announcement and commit to at least 5% of Australia’s electricity coming from Big Solar by 2020. A 5% target can be met through a Commonwealth Budget funded competitive feed-in tariff and loan guarantees.
“Big Solar is becoming big business throughout the world, and Victoria will soon be riding the clean energy investment wave. With leadership from Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, the sunburnt country can be the sun-powered country.”
AuSES also welcomes Premier Brumby’s commitment to further investigate a feed-in tariff for commercial-scale solar. This is the fastest growing area of solar energy globally, but it remains an untapped market in Australia.

Climate Change: Too Many Visionaries, Too Few Grunts? by Griffith Hack
July 22, 2010, 9:17 am
Filed under: Articles

Is the climate change debate being hijacked by the ongoing search for a technological fix, the idea that will solve all our problems? US commentator Auden Schendler certainly thinks so, and has railed against this view in a recent column.

But is this view fair? The strongest argument against a movement away from our current high emissions technologies in Australia is the price of alternative technologies. Whether we like it or not, coal, gas and oil are cheap and the alternatives are still expensive. Proponents of alternative technologies argue that the price of these technologies will fall rapidly with volume, scale and experience. No doubt this is true, but these prices do need to fall to be competitive in the long term.

But maybe, just around the corner, there is the breakthrough technology, the clean energy technology that has the clear potential to replace dirtier technology. In the early 20th century, one of the world’s important industries was the distribution of natural ice. Engineers worked long and hard on improved means of preserving ice. Then one day, in Geelong, mechanical refrigeration was invented to help ship meat to Europe. Sometimes breakthrough technologies matter.

Mike Lloyd

PAICE outsmarts TOYOTA with hybrid vehicle patent settlement by Justin Blows
July 21, 2010, 1:01 pm
Filed under: Feature

According to this report, TOYOTA has settled a patent dispute with PAICE LLC for an undisclosed sum.

In my opinion, the settlement may possibly be in the 10’s of millions of dollars.

The settlement came just before a trial which may have blocked importation of TOYOTA’s iconic PRIUS and other hybrid vehicles into the US.

Apparently, PAICE, which is relatively very small, also licensed its patents to FORD recently.

This shows once again how patents can be used effectively for commercial advantage.

Justin Blows

Cleantech patents used in anger by Justin Blows
July 21, 2010, 8:10 am
Filed under: Feature

There is plenty of legal action around Cleantech patents, but two incidents recently attracted my attention.

The first is TurboSonic v EnviroCare, reported here. These companies were tussling over alleged infringement of US and Canadian patents for the scrubbing of exhaust gases of acidifier. The companies settled and the patent managed to get a licence deal. That sounds like a great outcome for the patentee.

The second is reported here, and involves the enzyme giants Danisco and Novozyme. The technology relates to alpha amylase for ethanol – a biofuel – production. There appears to be a lot at stack – Danisco estimates the global market for
second-generation biofuel will grow to $75 billion by 2020.

These cases show, once again, how important patents are for commercial advantage in competitive areas such as Cleantech.

Justin Blows

Tony Abbot promises to close Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute by Justin Blows
July 20, 2010, 12:56 pm
Filed under: Feature

According to this report, the opposition leader Tony Abbot has promised to close the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute if the opposition is voted into government in the up coming Australian federal election.

Justin Blows

CleanTech Seminar: 30 July by Griffith Hack
July 19, 2010, 11:47 am
Filed under: Feature

Presenter: Olivia Coldrey, Research Investment Manager, Australian Solar Institute.

For the seminar invite please click here.

About the seminar:
Solar-generated energy is expected to play an important role in contributing to global energy supply in coming decades. The solar industry is expanding rapidly worldwide and Australia especially has a vast and largely untapped solar resource. However, technology to harness the sun’s energy is still relatively early in its lifecycle and substantial public and private investment is required to improve and lower the cost of solar energy technologies to make them more cost competitive relative to traditional sources of energy generation. 

The Australian Solar Institute (ASI) aims to help consolidate Australia’s leadership position in solar R&D globally as well as accelerate the commercial deployment of solar technologies by directly investing in excellent R&D projects that advance Australian innovation in solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar thermal technologies. The ASI’s research investment portfolio includes projects led by Australian research institutions, in some cases in collaboration
with major global industry partners, as well as by Australian companies. Key challenges remain in ensuring that cutting-edge R&D is complimented by the necessary investment to move solar technologies through the innovation chain and in capturing the economic and technical learnings of large-scale deployment programs, including the Australian Government’s Solar Flagships initiative.

RSVP: Sally McNamara 03 9243 8440 or