Green Innovations

Developing renewable and clean technology companies in New York

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Energy Efficiency and the NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art!

NEW YORK—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the City of New York today announced that they have completed a $1.1 million energy efficiency upgrade at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that improves the lighting and steam heating systems at the world-famous cultural institution. Funding for the project was provided by the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) through Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s sustainability initiative, “PlaNYC.”

“The recently completed energy-saving project at the Met underscores the importance Governor Cuomo is giving to energy efficiency, as highlighted by his newly introduced ‘Build Smart NY’ initiative for state public facilities,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “The Power Authority is one of the key state organizations helping to carry out the Governor's vision to cut electric bills and reduce carbon emissions through cost-effective energy efficiency projects.”

“This project will save $120,000 per year on electricity and steam costs,” said Edna Wells Handy, DCAS commissioner. “DCAS is proud to lead energy efficiency efforts in keeping with the Mayor’s PlaNYC initiatives, which are reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
“The Museum makes every effort to bring state-of-the-art technology to these historic buildings and we appreciate the Power Authority’s assistance with these improvements,” said Eric Wrobel, chief electrician for the Metropolitan Museum.

The Power Authority’s energy efficiency group, in cooperation and coordination with both DCAS’ energy management and the museum’s facilities management staff, spearheaded the improvements, which included replacing much of the lighting in the museum’s office and storage areas with energy-saving, compact fluorescent fixtures. Other measures included extensive insulation of the museum’s steam pipes to reduce heat loss.

NYPA has partnered with DCAS on similar energy efficiency programs at many of the city’s cultural institutions and public attractions, including the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo. Those are among thousands of tax-supported facilities in the city that benefit from lower cost NYPA electricity, in addition to the value-added services that the Power Authority provides to reduce energy use.

“Across the five boroughs, historic and modern cultural facilities are leading the way to achieving the city’s energy efficiency goals through retrofits and pioneering use of new technologies,” said New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin. “Thanks to the New York Power Authority and the Mayor’s efforts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one more example of an arts organization serving the public with sustainable building improvements, and we were delighted to work with our colleagues in government on this dynamic project.”

Over the last two decades, NYPA has teamed with the City of New York on energy efficiency and clean energy projects at more than 1,000 facilities, for annual savings of more than $55 million and the lowering of greenhouse gas emissions by 337,000 tons a year.
NYPA is at the forefront in implementing a number of Governor Cuomo’s energy efficiency initiatives, most prominently his Build Smart NY plan, which will provide substantial savings to taxpayers, create new jobs from capital investments in clean energy technologies, and improve air quality throughout the state.

The Power Authority plans to finance a total of $800 million in energy efficiency and clean energy improvements over the next four years to support the Governor’s issuance in December 2012 of Executive Order 88, which calls for an increase in energy efficiency in state government buildings by 20 percent by 2020, and for similar initiatives at county and local government facilities.

NYPA recovers its costs by sharing in the resulting electric bill savings with the public facilities.  Once fully recovered over several years’ time, the beneficiary keeps all of the savings, freeing up money for their essential services.    

On April 22, 2007, Mayor Bloomberg released PlaNYC, a comprehensive, long-term sustainability plan to enhance the physical environment of New York City. PlaNYC contains 10 goals focused on land use, infrastructure, transportation, energy, air and water quality and climate change, as well as 127 initiatives to achieve the goals. One of these initiatives instructs the city to lead by example and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from government buildings and operations by 30 percent by 2017 (“30 x 17”).

Following the release of PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg signed Executive Order 109, which formalized the organizational infrastructure to lead the 30 x 17 effort; created the Energy Conservation Steering Committee to oversee and manage initiatives; provided funding for the plan; and charged the Steering Committee with creating a long-term action plan to achieve the reduction goal.

In July 2008, the Steering Committee released a long-term plan to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of municipal buildings and operations. The plan provides a roadmap of the best emissions opportunities to achieve the 30 x 17 goal. DCAS energy management oversees implementation of the plan.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Six N.Y. Power Authority Employees Recognized for Advancing Green Innovative Technologies:

WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Trustees and executive management honored six NYPA professional employees, in engineering, environmental science, and safety, health and fire protection, with Certificates of Appreciation on Tuesday in connection with the application of pioneering technologies in support of NYPA operations and the electric power industry.

One of the employees—Bruce Fardanesh, NYPA’s chief electrical engineer—was notified late last year of his election by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as an IEEE Fellow, effective Jan. 1, in recognition of his achievements in developing and integrating advanced technologies for enhanced operation and control of power systems as demonstrated on NYPA’s power grid. Only 298 individuals out of 400,000 worldwide IEEE members were selected for this prestigious power engineering honorific for 2013. 

The five other employees honored by NYPA at Tuesday’s Trustees’ meeting are among the national recipients of 2012 Technology Transfer Awards from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the electric utility industry's premier collaborative research organization.  EPRI recognized them for contributions involving electric power generation, power utilization and the environment. The individuals are John Markowitz of Ossining, N.Y, Jonathon Mayette of Waddington, N.Y., John Nolan of Wantagh, N.Y., John Nowicki of Colton, N.Y., and Jiankang Zhu of White Plains, N.Y.

“The Power Authority trustees and executive management can point with pride every day to the achievements of our statewide work force, and are especially proud of the six individuals we’re honoring with Certificates of Appreciation at today’s NYPA trustees’ meeting,” John R. Koelmel, NYPA chairman, said.

“The accomplishments of these stellar employees reflect the emphasis by the New York Power Authority under Governor Cuomo’s leadership to integrate innovative technologies to bolster our performance and support a clean environment,” Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive officer, said. 

Fardanesh, a 22-year veteran employee, working out of NYPA’s White Plains Office, has been instrumental in NYPA’s installation of phasor measurement technologies at generating facilities and substations to enhance real-time situational awareness of transmission conditions, to anticipate potential problems and take effective action to ensure reliability.
Fardanesh, of Bergen County, N.J., holds three patents and has published numerous technical papers and reports.  He will be honored at the IEEE’s Power Engineering Society’s general meeting in July. 

“The IEEE Grade of Fellow is a highly esteemed distinction reserved for an extremely small percentage of our institute’s membership,” Noel N. Schulz, president of the IEEE Power & Energy Society, said.  “The conferring of this distinction upon Bruce Fardanesh by the IEEE Board of Directors, through a rigorous peer nomination and review process, is a great testament to Bruce’s accomplishments for enhanced operation of the power grid.”
The NYPA awardees of the 2012 EPRI Technology Awards were recognized for their work in the following areas:
  • John Markowitz, lead research and technology engineer, NYPA White Plains Office, was recognized for his contribution to one of the first major collaborations between the automotive and utility industries, in the area of modern, plug-in vehicle technology, through NYPA’s demonstration of the Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) program. The team incorporated a plug-in hybrid prototype vehicle into NYPA’s vehicle fleet and applied EPRI analyses in demonstrating the use of the plug-ins in conjunction with “smart charging”—software, networks and devices—that can manage vehicle recharging to minimize the impact on the electric power grid and maximize use of clean power sources.
  •  Jonathon Mayette, environmental scientist, St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project; John Nolan, environmental engineer, White Plains Office; and John Nowicki, safety, health and fire protection administrator, St. Lawrence-FDR, were recognized for their collaborative work in applying advanced software developed through EPRI efforts for assessing potential scenarios involving mineral oil spills at substations, to expedite cleanup.   
  •  Jiankang Zhu, research and development engineer, White Plains Office, was recognized for the successful implementation of an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) for measurements of water current velocities. The ADCP system provides insights into control system enhancements that could increase the operating efficiency of hydroelectric facilities.
 “The 2012 Technology Transfer Award winners have shown exceptional application of EPRI research and technology, solving a problem of size and significance; championing a technology for their companies and the industry; driving progress in the electricity sector; and providing meaningful benefits for their stakeholders and society,” said Bryan Hannegan, vice president of environment and renewable energy at EPRI.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Callida Energy- Commercial Clean Tech

Buildings consume a tremendous amount of natural resources and are a major contributor to the carbon and water footprints of cities. In the USA, commercial buildings account for 18.4% of energy used and are the fastest growing segment. Building owners are faced with operating cost pressures, the need to provide a healthy work environment, competition from LEED or ENERGY STAR certified properties, new sustainability goals and regulation all driving the need to change.

But their teams lack the right solutions to enable proactive building management. Available tools do not take a predictive approach resulting in missed cost savings and demand response revenue. Building managers rarely tap the advanced control capabilities of their existing building software – let alone incorporate weather forecasts and energy prices into their operating plans to deliver greater savings without compromising occupant comfort.

Callida makes it simpler. The software we are piloting learns building energy use patterns, predicts demand and optimizes energy based on customer preferences automatically.

Callida's SaaS solution is designed to work collaboratively with the facility's BAS system already in place.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Learn About BOEM, and this year's Wind Power Tech Advancements on Long Island:



On Thursday, January 3, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the U.S.
Department of Interior, issued a request to determine whether there is competitive interest in wind power
development in federal waters off the coast of the Rockaway Peninsula and Long Island. BOEM’s
request is an important step forward for the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative
(Collaborative) in seeking a lease for its proposal to construct an offshore wind project at that location.
The Collaborative consists of the Consolidated Edison Company of New York, the Long Island Power
Authority and the New York Power Authority.

“Offshore wind power offers clean energy benefits to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions
responsible for global warming and climate change, issues identified by Governor Andrew M.
Cuomo as important concerns when planning future energy projects. Information gathered from
the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management lease application review process and the efforts to be
undertaken through the Energy Highway Blueprint, will help advance the potential of offshore
wind as a clean energy source, while seeking to address its economic and environmental

“The Collaborative looks forward to the input the Bureau is expected to receive from interested
parties to its Request for Information. This includes the possibility of submissions from others
who might have a competitive interest in obtaining a commercial lease for wind development at
the proposed site.”

The BOEM Request for Information is available for download at:
(“Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore New York”). It was
published in the Federal Register on Jan. 4. There is a 60-day public comment period for the RFI.
When BOEM’s review is completed, the agency will determine whether competitive interest in the lease
area exists. If there is such interest, BOEM will use an auction(s) to award lease(s) under its competitive
lease process.

If BOEM decides there is no competitive interest, it will publish that in the Federal Register. Then
BOEM may decide to proceed with the noncompetitive lease issuance process and if so, the
Collaborative must submit any required plan(s) within 60 days of the aforementioned notice in the
Federal Register.

The Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative submitted its application to BOEM in
September 2011 for a location 13 to 17 miles off the coast of the Rockaway Peninsula and Long Island.
In June 2012, following BOEM’s recommendation to increase the size of the lease site’s shipping lane
buffer to one nautical mile, the lease was amended to add additional lease blocks for those lost to the
increased buffer.

BOEM has since established that legal, technical and financial lease-holder qualifications have been met
by the Collaborative. The full lease application and amendment can be found at
The Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Project is noted in Governor Cuomo’s Energy Highway
Blueprint as one of the opportunities to strengthen New York’s position in developing offshore wind.
The Blueprint is available at

Friday, February 22, 2013

NYC Can Drastically Help Reduce GHG Emissions

William Pentland
William Pentland, Contributor
All electrons are not created equal.

2/22/2013 @ 12:18AM |1,398 views

New York City's 90x50 Vision: Green Sleight of Hand?

New York City could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 90% at a modest cost by 2050, according to the 90×50 report released last week by the Urban Green Council.
The report claims to “demonstrate that the extreme emission reductions required to minimize climate change are in fact possible [in New York City] using technologies that are known and in almost all cases currently available, and that the cost is within reasonable bounds.”
Please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it does no so such thing.
The Council explains that New York City could reduce GHG emissions by 90 over the next 37 years by “shifting all building loads to electricity, and utilizing carbon-free electricity.” In other words, the 90×50 vision presupposes that electricity provided by the conventional electric grid in New York City will be produced by “carbon-free sources.”  That is a whopper of an assumption.
That this massively important assumption has virtually no basis beyond one or citations only becomes clear in the last two pages of the study, which are quoted from below at length:
In sum, our modeling of a future involving deep but entirely practical retrofits of buildings and mode switching and efficiency improvements in transportation shows that New YorkCity can get by on slightly more electric energy than it is using now, about 57 TWh gross and 46 TWh net of PV production on buildings.
Under the less rigorous scenario with higher infiltration, gross electric energy needed would rise to 60 TWh, and the net to about 49 TWh.
We have indicated that about 57 TWh of carbon-free power are needed, of which rooftopphotovoltaic panels will supply 11 TWh. A serious study of sources for the remaining power is beyond our scope, and, on a larger scale, at least two such studies have already been carried out. Instead, we list several options with brief comments.
Maintain the roughly 19 TWh of carbon-free power the Inventory reports is currently used by New York City. That will leave 27 TWh, all of which can be supplied by:
» 2600 4.0 MW wind turbines, occupying 35 to 40 square miles, either upstate or off shore, or
» 86 million square meters of photovoltaic panels with a footprint of 66 square miles, much of which could be on the parking lots, rail yards, and highways included in New York City’s 350 square miles, or
» 3 or 4 new 1000 MW nuclear power plants (if cost, siting, and waste issues can be resolved), or
» Increased hydropower from Quebec (transmission lines are under construction now), or
» Any combination of the above.
• Also:
» Tidal power is proving itself but remains a development project with modest local potential.
» Solid waste combustion may be able to supply the steam system, cutting electric loads.
This brief survey indicates that supplying carbon-free electric energy to New York City in 2050 is plausible. Far more detailed study is clearly needed.
Urban Green Council, are you serious?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Bright Farms," Also Based in NY, Recognized by Silicon Valley

A plant-based egg ingredient (on the left)
Courtesy Hampton Creek Foods
A plant-based egg ingredient (on the left)

Science & Technology

Posted on GigaOM
By  on February 21, 2013

Silicon Valley Embraces Innovation in Sustainable Foods

“The food industry is broken,” says Josh Tetrick, a 32-year-old entrepreneur who’s creating plant-based egg replacement products that could one day disrupt the global egg industry. His 11-month-old company,Hampton Creek Foods, is working out of a food lab in the South of Market area of San Francisco, just a few blocks from such Internet startups as Twitter, Zynga (ZNGA), and Airbnb. During a tour of the lab this week, Tetrick’s lovable golden retriever and unofficial company mascot, Jake, was parked good-naturedly on a bright red couch in the lobby, underneath a photo of Bill Gates eating a muffin made with Hampton Creek’s egg-free baking product. It’s a feel-good sort of place.
Johan Boot and Joshua Tetrick of Hampton Creek FoodsCourtesy Hampton Creek FoodsJohan Boot and Joshua Tetrick of Hampton Creek Foods
In Hampton Creek’s lab, Tetrick’s staff of 19—armed with a combo of science degrees, chef experience, and food industry chops—are obsessing over eggs. What gives an egg—the result of a chicken menstrual cycle (eeww)—its unusual characteristics, and how can those characteristics be replaced with a combination of plants? The team has worked on more than 344 prototypes for their egg-yolk product and have studied 287 types of plants that range from peas to canola.
The lab is filled with industrial food measurement equipment, such as the “texture analyzer,” which basically pokes baked goods to see how much they bounce back. Before the company moved into the lab, Tetrick was doing these types of tests with his finger in his studio apartment in L.A. He discovered that switching the recipe to include a new type of pea produced the fluffy, elastic muffins that people really craved. Who knew?
Earlier this month, Hampton Creek Foods started offering customers samples of its baking product, called Beyond Eggs, which can be used in such goodies as cookies, muffins, and cakes. The team is also developing egg-free mayonnaises, sauces, and dressings, which Hampton will likely first sell to food manufacturers instead of straight to consumers. Tetrick says the company is close to a deal with a large food company, a deal it hopes to close next month. It’s also working on a scrambled-egg product.
The real reason Beyond Eggs could eventually catch on is it’s not striving to be an eco or vegan product. It will be about 19 percent cheaper than eggs, will last longer on the shelf, is safer to use, and is better for you than eggs. Then there’s all the feel-good aspects—the poor environmental and inhumane conditions of the egg industry, plus fewer carbon emissions, reduced by decreasing the amount of feed (mostly corn and soy) that goes to chickens. But all those won’t matter if the products don’t pass Tetrick’s “Dad Twinkie” test: In theory, deliver a Twinkie that’s cheaper and better for you but that tastes exactly the same.
Hampton Creek Foods is just one of a new type of eco-food innovator that Silicon Valley is incubating. The company is backed by Sand Hill Road heavyweight Vinod Khosla’s firm, which is why Bill Gates—an investor in Khosla’s fund—gave Hampton’s muffins a taste test last year (and, by the way, couldn’t tell the difference between a muffin with eggs and a muffin with Beyond Eggs). Khosla partner Tony Blair also did the taste test.
Khosla is backing other sustainable food startups, such as an organic and healthier candy company (Unreal Candy), a salt replacement product (Nu-Tek Salt), a plant-based meat replacement startup (Sand Hill Foods), and a fake cheese company. During Khosla’s limited-partners meeting last summer, Bill Gates called the budding food innovation movement—which is making food more sustainable and also cheaper—a “huge thing” that “will confound the pessimists.” Gates’s team also recently created and will soon release a documentary about four food innovation startups, one of which is Hampton Creek Foods.
Other investors (besides Khosla and Gates) see promise in sustainable food tech innovation. Valley investor Kleiner Perkins and Obvious Corp.—the company behind Twitter—have invested in Beyond Meat, a startup making plant-based faux-chicken products. NGEN Partners has backed sustainable lettuce grower Bright Farms, vegan restaurant company Native Foods CafĂ©, and stevia zero-calorie soda company Zevia.
In addition to plant-based proteins and healthier foods, other startups are working on “cultured meats” or lab-grown meats. Modern Meadow is the best-known of those, and it’s backed by investor Peter Thiel. Modern Meadow is basically looking to print out synthetic lab-grown meats and somehow overcome the ick factor that goes with the process.
Josh Balk, the director of corporate policy at the Humane Society, calls the emergence of new eco-food entrepreneurs a “tremendous movement. We see innovation in plant-based foods as the next way that technology can help animals,” he says. The first was in transportation—shifting from horses to cars—and the second was replacing animals in movies and TV with computer-generated imagery, says Balk.
This isn’t to say that plant-based proteins aren’t already a big business. Kellogg (K) owns veggie food giant MorningStar Farms, Kraft Foods (KRFT) has its Boca brand, and ConAgra Foods (CAG) has Lightlife. But these startups think their technology innovation can create products that are far better—without compromise—than current ones on the market.
Is eco-food tech the next big thing for innovators and investors? Well, a lot of the investors who backed clean power and “cleantech” companies over the years are now turning to this movement. That’s because the thesis behind cleantech and “clean food” is the same: The population will hit 9 billion by 2050, and the planet will need to manage its food better for this massive population and in particular find more efficient ways to make proteins and meats.
The meat, agriculture, dairy, and egg industries are highly inefficient ways to produce edible proteins. Many of these new startups are looking at plant-based proteins not as a way to sell eco-food, but as a way to produce protein more efficiently, more cheaply, and with less energy. In particular, developing countries that have growing appetites for meat consumption, such as China, India, and Brazil, could be strong markets for lower-cost meats.
Looking past economics and efficiency, the next generation—the so-called millennials—is becoming a lot more conscious about health and the environment. Sustainable brands that can also create better products will win out among this demographic. DBL Investors’ Nancy Pfund, who backed both Tesla Motors (TSLA) andSolarCity (SCTY), told me last year she thinks eco consumer products will be a hot area for entrepreneurs in 2013.
Finally, cleantech and clean-power startups haven’t exactly produced great returns for most investors. So it makes sense that some of these investors are looking at similar, but different, trends that piggyback on their former thesis but add a new twist. Khosla, Kleiner, and NGEN all made significant bets on cleantech.
Still, food technology—unless it’s IT-based—hasn’t traditionally been the fodder of venture capitalists. When I ask Tetrick why his company is “venture backable,” he says because it is creating a powerhouse of innovative thinkers that can come together across disciplines, and traditional food companies just aren’t as nimble. Tesla used that same argument for why, as a startup, it can revolutionize the car industry and out-innovate the large automakers.
But Tesla is an outlier on a lot of levels. It’ll be harder to disrupt more traditional industries without Moore’s Law in your corner. Meantime, as these startups sink or swim, at least they’ll be putting the spotlight on a crucial problem: The food industry is broken, and it needs technology and innovation to be fixed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Electric Car Lessons from Tesla Owner Elon Musk

Electric Car Driving Lessons from Elon Musk and the New York Times

Last week, while reading the latest online comments in the news, blog, and Twitter battle between New York Times reporter John Broder andTesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, I got a call from my 17-year-old daughter. (Broder, as you know unless you were stuck on a cruise ship in the middle of the Gulf with a dead cell phone, ran out of juice during an official test drive of a Tesla Model S. Musk charged that Broder ran down the battery on purpose in order to generate the photo-op of the Model S on a tow truck.) That evening, my daughter had used my car to pick up her brother from an after-school activity and take him out for frozen yogurt. Just as she had arrived at the school, the low-gas-warning light went on. She was a little freaked out; she didn’t know if she would make it to a gas station. What should she do? Having pushed the “empty” limits on that car a few times, I was able to tell her with confidence not to worry, to go ahead with her driving plans and I’d still have plenty of gas the next day, when an errand would take me past my favorite gas station. Simple wisdom, easily imparted, but it wasn’t something she could have figured out from looking in the car manual, which only said, “This warning light in the fuel gauge signals that the fuel tank will soon be empty. Get fuel as soon as possible.” Not particularly helpful.
So I have a little sympathy for Broder, behind the wheel of a car he’d never before driven, though he was in phone communication with Tesla staffers (like my daughter had been with me). And I also can sympathize with Musk and the Tesla support staff, who, now that they are used to driving electric cars, may have forgotten the anxiety of being in an unfamiliar car.
The Elon Musk/New York Times debate did offer a few lessons about how to drive an electric car to maximize range. (Though, for most of us, if or when we drive electric, we’ll probably have to test the limits for ourselves; haven’t we all pushed the limits on our gas engine cars on occasion?) Here’s my takeaway:
In cold weather, put on a sweater. Broder says he turned the heat down, Musk said the car’s sensors showed that Broder turned it up. The point is that using the heater does draw power that could extend range, so if you’re going for a distance record in winter weather, warm yourself with an extra sweater, not the car's heater.
You leave your cell phone plugged in overnight, so why not your car? Much of the trouble Broder had stemmed from the fact that the available charge on the car dropped overnight, due to cold weather. While there’s been a lot of debate over just how badly cold weather affects electric car batteries, it seems to be a problem that’s easy to prevent. Park near an outlet and plug in.
Fill ‘er up. Broder, it seems, pulled the equivalent of a teenager with a nearly empty wallet, trying to limp home while spending the least amount of money possible (“Uh, I’ll just be getting $10 worth.”) If you’re planning to drive an electric car a serious distance, and you’re at a charging station, don’t be in such a hurry, the time you spend then will be time you save later, yadda yadda.
An electric car’s battery is like your mom, it doesn't want you speeding or driving recklessly.Behave yourself; you’ll go further and look at what you'll save in speeding tickets.
The laws of physics apply. That is, as wonderful a technology as regenerative braking is, it cannot produce more energy than it uses. Stop-and-go city driving is still a minus, not a plus (did you really think otherwise, Mr. Broder?)
Some of these lessons seem like common sense, others perhaps are less obvious to new drivers. But not being a new (or old) Tesla driver myself, I asked a neighbor, whose new Tesla I've seen parked on my block, to weigh in. Eric Verwillow, a senior engineer at a major networking equipment company, took delivery of his Model S in December. He doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for Broder:
“It doesn't take much to be smarter than NYT reporter John Broder,” Verwillow told me. “All you have to do is let the batteries charge when you plug in and don't start a 60-mile drive with 30 miles of range remaining.” He's not alone. CNN took up Tesla's offer to other journalists to drive the same route, and had none of Broder's difficulties, though still a bit of his range anxiety.
But, in general, Verwillow thought that all this noise about maximizing range was beside the point. “Maybe it's a necessary part of your driver education to find a style of driving that you're comfortable with, and to understand what mileage/range you'll get as a result [of driving that way] but if you let range dominate your driving, you're no longer a good driver.”
For Verwillow himself, worrying about range seems silly. “Except for maybe a couple of times per year, I drive less than 100 miles in a day, usually much less,” he says. “My daily commute is about 10 miles each way. As long as I'll have access to an electric outlet at the end of the day, I can drive like a maniac for those miles and all I'm doing is spending a little more money on electricity to pay for my inefficiency.”
It's good to know I have a neighbor who enjoys driving like a maniac.
Anyway, the kerfuffle between Broder and the Times now seems to have wrapped up, with New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan weighing in Sunday with the possible last word, essentially, that Broder took the test drive in good faith but used bad judgment. And that Tesla might have provided a little more guidance to a novice driver.
Follow me on Twitter @TeklaPerry.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Learn about NY's Clean Tech Company, Anellotech

Anellotech has developed a clean technology platform for inexpensively producing petrochemicals from renewable non-food biomass. 

Anellotech's products will be profitable and priced competitively to their identical petroleum-derived counterparts. These excellent economics are achieved by performing the thermo chemical conversions in one processing step in a single fluidized bed reactor, using an economical, proprietary catalyst and non-food biomass feedstocks.

The first application of the technology, Biomass to AromaticsTM ("BTA") will produce "green" benzene, toluene, and xylenes ("BTX") that can be sold into an established $120 billion market serving multiple downstream consumer and industrial market needs and applications.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A "Green" World Trade Center

One World Trade Center’s Bomb-Proof Base Gets New “Green Tech” Glass Panels
Posted By Sherrell Dorsey On February 18, 2013 @ 10:27 am In Architecture,Green Building,Manhattan 
  • world trade center, port authority ny nj, Steven Plate, world trade center construction, world trade center rebuild, world trade center nyc, world trade center design, new world trade center, ny world trade center [4]
We’ve been following the progress of One World Trade Center [5] closely, and this weekend we were excited to see some of the first signs of sustainability pop up at the construction site. More than 2,000 state-of-the-art, “green technology” glass panels are being installed on the street level podium wall of 1 WTC [6], which is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year. These high-performance panels are double-paned and made with a frosted coating for absorbing sunlight and minimizing heat gain.
world trade center, port authority ny nj, Steven Plate, world trade center construction, world trade center rebuild, world trade center nyc, world trade center design, new world trade center, ny world trade center [7]
“This [glass] has much more high-end lighting behind it, it’s much more efficient from an energy point of view, and it also has a third dimension to it,” said Steven Plate, the Port Authority’s [8] director of World Trade Center Construction to the Tribeca Citizen [9].
The building base is also impressively built to withstand up to 900 pounds of TNT and is made from a type of concrete known as iCrete [10], which is mixed in Brooklyn and must arrive on-site within 90 minutes. This new concrete also has the ability to withstand an astounding 14,000 pounds-per-square-inch (psi) of pressure.
The European-made green glass will cover the entire ground level of the 186-foot base of the new “bomb-proof” building, and will be just a portion of 1 WTC’s sustainability initiatives. The new shiny green panels will enclose the concrete mix of materials used to rebuild the World Trade Center, which will be the toughest structure [11] ever created in New York  City.
Via World Trade Center [12]

Article printed from Inhabitat New York City:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Large Solar Project with "Bright Power," a NY Top 50 Clean Tech Company

Hudson, Related, CAMBA power up giant Brooklyn solar project 

By REW Staff
The Hudson Companies Inc., Related and CAMBA have started work on the biggest solar power project of its type in the state.
The development partners are building a 214,000 watt solar electric photovoltaic (PV) system at Gateway Elton Phase I, their 197-unit mixed-use affordable housing development in the Spring Creek section of Brooklyn.
The PV system surpasses Hudson’s Dumont Green Development as the largest solar electric system of its kind on a residential building in New York State.  According to solar PV system designer Bright Power, the installation will offset almost 300,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year, which is the equivalent of over 6,400 — or almost eight acres – of mature trees. 
“To have the largest solar panel system in New York State installed on a low-income development speaks to a new found wisdom at the Federal, State and City levels that has fostered the merging of job creation, alternative energy and the construction of new affordable housing,” said Hudson’s David Kramer.The PV system will offset the common area electrical demand by 68%.  Gateway Elton Phase I is also on track to be certified as a LEED Platinum development.
“Affordable housing, which is most vulnerable to rising operating costs, is the best vehicle for demonstrating the feasibility of alternative energy sources.” Mathew Wambua, Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) said the porject is evidence that “affordable housing development is not only feasible but can also be trailblazing.”
Construction activity is expected to create 950 indirect and direct jobs.  The development, at 1149, 1152, 1165 and 1166 Elton St., is also the second affordable housing development in Brooklyn to utilize a PV system after Hudson’s Dumont Green.
All of the units will have EnergyStar appliances, vinyl-free construction, dual-flush toilets and be affordable to families earning between below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), or $46,080 for a family of four. Additionally, 40 units are set aside for individuals sponsored by the NY State Office of Mental Health (OMH).
For low-income developments such as this where rents are capped by tenant income levels, operational savings will help to insure the long term financial viability of the building against future increases in utility expenses.
Joanne M. Oplustil, executive director of CAMBA Housing Ventures/CAMBA, said,“The heart of this project is ‘renewal.’ These affordable homes will bring transformational renewal to both the Spring Creek community and to the people who will live here.”

Friday, February 15, 2013

Two NY Companies Receive NYSERDA Grant!

ThermoAura, Ecovative Design each receive portion of $1.2M NYSERDA grant

TROY — Two local companies will receive a combined $750,000 from the state’s Energy Research and Development Authority, part of a $1.2 million grant to support projects which improve the energy efficiency of manufacturing technologies, according to a Thursday announcement from NYSERDA.

Troy-based ThermoAura, Inc. was awarded $393,000 to aide in the commercialization of its heat-to-electricity technology while Green Island-based Ecovative Design, was awarded $350,000 to improve the energy efficiency of the manufacturing processes used to produce its product, a packaging foam synthesized from farm by-products.

“The State understands that the manufacturing sector plays a critical role in the economy, and with the incentives provided today, it is assisting these cleantech companies to remain competitive by manufacturing products in a more energy efficient way,” said NYSERDA President and CEO, Francis J. Murray, Jr. in a statement. “Governor Cuomo has stressed the importance of innovation and technology in growing the State’s economy, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the Capital Region. These … companies are examples of how investments in clean-energy technology and manufacturing can provide benefits to all New Yorkers.”

ThermoAura is a start-up formed in 2011 by Rutvik Mehta and several professors from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. They have built a solid-state thermoelectric material which creates electricity from heat in a process more efficient than comparable products currently on the market. The company is poised to partner with Ceralink Inc. of Troy in order to scale up production to a commercial level.
When commercialized, the technology could be used in medical devices, compact refrigerators, and for power generation from low-temperature (less than 100 degrees Celsius) industrial or vehicle exhaust waste heat. Paralleling their growth expectations, the company expects to add 10 new jobs in the next three to five years.

Across the river, Ecovative Design has been making a natural alternative to standard packaging foam by bonding farm by-products through adhesives found in mushrooms. The funding will support the company’s efforts to make its manufacturing process more efficient.

Currently, the company pumps a mixture of materials into a plastic mold, which hardens in three to five days. With a new technique, the company would create a "suspension material" that would bond in seconds. This could reduce expenses, increase productivity and lessen the amount of energy needed to create the form.

The company employs 70 full- and part-time employees and works out of a 50,000 square-foot office and manufacturing plant along Cohoes Ave. in Green Island.

The awards were announced at Automated Dynamics of Schenectady, which was awarded $400,000 to continue commercialization of a process that could improve the manufacturing of parts by 63 percent.

The company, founded in 1984 by three RPI graduates, creates custom composites from plastics, carbon and glass fibers. At its inception, the company used an electrically heated gas torch to fuse the layers of materials. Since then, it has developed a proprietary technology which uses a laser heating system to build materials into shapes that had not been feasible before. This technique is faster, reduces energy consumption by more than 60 percent and can provide energy benefits to the customer through a reduction in the weight of the parts. The firm employs 32 at its 407 Front Street location in Schenectady.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Innovation through co-location."

Cleantech Innovation in New York City Gets a Boost

Innovation through co-location

Cleantech Innovation in New York City Gets a BoostAOL ENERGY, PETER GARDETT: FEBRUARY 6, 2013

In the popular imagination, New York City is dominated by finance, media and other professional jobs of the kind likely to feature in slick television shows. But the steady departure of manufacturing jobs that once employed many of the city's residents has been embraced by city leaders as a challenge they can meet by leveraging access to the centers of commerce, education and technology for which the city is famous.
New York has traditionally ceded energy and cleantech leadership to other places, notably Houston and San Francisco, but is increasingly building public support for clean energy companies and projects that can replace its traditional manufacturing base and diversify the city's economy. Hard on the heels of Governor Cuomo's announcement of a billion-dollar Green Bank to underpin infrastructure development, the New York City Economic Development Corporation says it will open a new NYC Clean Technology Entrepreneur Center.
"Leveraging the City's leadership in software, finance, analytics and media, the Center will support the growth of next-generation clean technology businesses, helping to make New York City a leader within this fast-growing segment," the NYCEDC said in announcing a request for proposals to operate the Entrepreneur Center. (Read more about a New York cleantech hackathon held in 2012 here.)
The multi-use space has been envisioned by the group as a roughly 10,000-square-foot location offering business acceleration (through affordable, flexible workspace and mentorship to emerging companies), demonstration (co-located or adjacent space for testing and showcasing products and services) and education (co-located programming for accelerator users and the broader community). (To see a copy of the RFP for the center operator, click here.)
"Internet-based technology is a driving force behind the rapid growth of New York City's innovation economy," said David Gilford, who leads clean technology and energy efforts for NYCEDC. "This new Center will help startups use these same digital technologies to solve the City's energy and resource challenges. "The city is already the home of a state government-sponsored cleantech accelerator called the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE). The city's center is a component of Green NYC 2025, a broader initiative, designed to grow the 'green' portion of what remains a comparatively small New York energy sector. 
"While clean technology has historically been dominated by capital-intensive, manufacturing-led segments, technology and markets are creating a new segment of the market" characterized by data and technology innovation, the group said.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Oldy But a Goodie: Wall Street Journal explains Cleanweb in NY

New York’s Cleanweb Hackathon Sparks Green Ideas Where Clean-Tech and IT Intersect

Republicans driving electric cars? That’s one thing you might discover through your social networks, according to Bill Weihl, recently hired by Facebook to lead the company’s sustainability efforts.
Getty Images
Weihl was speaking on Friday night at the New York CleanWeb Hackathon, for which he flew in from Silicon Valley. It was the second such event held in New York, and one of several around the country, that’s meant to connect developers and people with business ideas to form teams and create applications that use the Web in pursuit of environmental sustainability.
On Friday night mingling in the recently opened collaborative space for start-upsAlleyNYC were people from different walks of life, each with an interest in the area or an idea. There was a psychiatrist who wanted to create crowd-funded solar projects, and someone who works in an IT department of a consumer magazine who’s interested in developing apps that would help increase the fuel economy of cars. Over the weekend, some 200 people participated in the hackathon.
By Sunday, judges picked three winners: Green Building Banner, a Google Chrome plug-in that brings energy data to consumers; Lean Green Stormwater, an online tool, which allows facility owners to calculate stormwater charges and savings under various stormwater mitigation investments; and Parkifi, a mobile app that helps users find a New York park with a Wi-Fi hotspot.
This sub-sector, alternatively called cleanweb, clean IT, energy IT, and digital cleantech, depending on who you ask, is attracting more venture investing. The web “has the potential to change our relationship with resources,” said Nicholas Eisenberger, managing partner at venture accelerator Pure Energy Partners.
Eisenberger said that he is working on a report with Cleantech Group that will show that investments in cleanweb, businesses at the intersection of IT and energy, have been growing as a percentage of all clean-tech dollars spent by venture capitalists.
Examples of such companies are Sungevity, a solar financing company that evaluates rooftop solar potential by using satellite data and allowing consumers to get accurate quotes for their projects online. With a bit of a stretch, even Airbnb, a property-rental-by-owner service online, could be considered cleanweb, said Eisenberger, because renting available empty space is more energy efficient and sustainable than building new hotels to accommodate visitors, and apartments are more energy-efficient than hotels, he said.
For Facebook FB -1.90%, the cleanweb is already a reality via a recent collaboration with OPower, a venture-backed company. OPower’s Facebook plug-in allows users to compare energy use and compete against friends and family on energy-saving practices.
“I think a lot of people would probably be surprised by how many people in their social network, actually do things that they [may have considered] fringe,” said Weihl.
Write to Yuliya Chernova at Follow her on Twitter @ychernova