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Duke Power Investing In Distributed Solar Generation Scheme


12 May 2009 No Comment
rooftop-solar-panel-installation-photo.jpg Rooftop solar installation. Image credit:Earth2Tech Via Industry Week we learned that Duke Power now has permission from the North Carolina Utilities Commission to move on a novel investment strategy for renewable energy production. Over the next 2 years, Duke will install up to 400 roof-top solar panel installations in the South Carolina service area (a downward adjustment from the proposal we first heard about last year in...

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Triggered at line # 1566 FeedWordPress version: 2011.0211.2 WordPress version: 3.1 PHP version: 5.2.17 SyndicatedPost::insert_post::_wp_id: array(3) { ["$this->_wp_id"]=> int(0) ["$dbpost"]=> array(16) { ["post_title"]=> string(61) "Desolenator creates clean water from saltwater using sunlight" ["post_content"]=> string(6513) "<img width=\"578\" height=\"417\" src=\"http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Desol-at-beach-578x417.jpg\" class=\"attachment-single-feed wp-post-image\" alt=\"Desol at beach\" /><hr/><p>Water scarcity affects every corner of the globe, with around 1.2 billion people &#8212; almost 20 percent of Earth&#8217;s population &#8212; living with the constant worry of whether they&#8217;ll have enough drinking water to survive, <a href=\"http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml\" >according to the United Nations</a> (U.N.).</p> <p>However, almost three-quarters of this world we inhabit is covered in water &#8212; the vast majority of which is undrinkable salt water. And it&#8217;s this problem that a crack team of innovators in London are looking to solve.</p> <p>Having lived in United Arab Emirates&#8217; capital, Abu Dhabi, for more than five years, <a href=\"https://twitter.com/wfjanssen\" >William Janssen</a> was already accustomed to drinking desalinated water &#8212; seawater treated in large machines that consume lots of energy in the process. So Janssen came up with the idea of using solar energy instead to transform salt-water into drinking water, a more sustainable cost-effective method.</p> <p>So Desolenator was founded in 2012, and the company has been working with <a href=\"http://ixspark.com/\" >Innovation Experience</a>, a group that helps marry &#8220;clean tech development&#8221; with human-centred design, since 2013 to make the idea a reality. The company has since become part of London&#8217;s Imperial College accelerator programme for clean technology startups, and just this week it met its <a href=\"https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/desolenator-transforming-sunshine-into-water\" >$150,000 crowdfunding target</a> on Indiegogo &#8212; with a week still to go.</p> <p>The money will be used to see the product through the final stage of development, and there should be a fully market-ready product by October, with non-government organizations (NGOs) in conflict regions high on the target list.</p> <p>Backers on the Indiegogo campaign have so far donated 55 units to causes, 35 of which are being given to families in Southern India and Africa.</p> <h2>How it works</h2> <p>Desolenator can produce around 15 litres of clear water a day, from seawater or other &#8220;dirty&#8221; water. While <a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination\" >desalination</a> techniques do vary around the world, they typically require a generated power supply. And this is the main selling point of Desolenator, as it just needs sunlight, while it has no moving parts or filters, which means that it&#8217;s easy (and cheap) to maintain. Another benefit is the cost of the unit itself &#8212; a single device comes in at around $450.</p> <p>The user basically feeds water in via a pipe, and the solar panel then provides enough heat and electric energy to boil and cleanse the water.</p> <p><img class=\" size-large wp-image-1648162 aligncenter\" src=\"http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/desol_unit_blue_writing-800x452.png\" alt=\"desol_unit_blue_writing\" width=\"800\" height=\"452\" /></p> <p>Though such technology clearly holds significant ramifications for bringing clean water to more than a billion people globally, there is no real reason why it couldn&#8217;t be used in other walks of life.</p> <p>Indeed, anyone living near a large body of salt-water could invest in this technology. And anyone who spends large periods of time at sea, too, could find a use for it.</p> <p><a href=\"http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ON-DECK-USE-CASE-2.jpg\"><img class=\" size-large wp-image-1648168 aligncenter\" src=\"http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ON-DECK-USE-CASE-2-800x600.jpg\" alt=\"ON DECK USE CASE 2\" width=\"800\" height=\"600\" /></a></p> <p>That&#8217;s looking to further into the future though. For now, the goal is to ramp up production and get as many units as possible out into the regions that need it most.</p> <p>&#8220;The water crisis is real and happening now,&#8221; says Janssen. &#8220;This has been recognised by the World Economic Forum, which <a href=\"http://www.weforum.org/issues/water\" >reports</a> that water is the single greatest resource threat to the world.&#8221;</p> <p>With a week of crowdfunding still to go, we&#8217;re told that if it passes the $200,000 mark, Desolenator could expedite development and get to market sooner. If they smash the $250,000 barrier, they will be able to create four more pilot sites &#8212; in Spain, Northern India, Kenya, and Chile.</p> <div class=\"post-boilerplate boilerplate-after\"><hr /> We\'re studying conversion rate optimization. <a href=\"http://insight.venturebeat.com/vb-insight-conversion-rate-optimization-cro-tools?utm_source=vbnews&#38;utm_medium=in-article-callout&%2338;utm_content=bottom-of-article&%2338;utm_campaign=cro-survey\">Take our quick survey and we\'ll share the results with you.</a></div><img width=\'1\' height=\'1\' src=\'http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/42a29e50/sc/36/mf.gif\' border=\'0\'/><br clear=\'all\'/><br/><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/1/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/1/rc.img\" border=\"0\"/></a><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/2/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/2/rc.img\" border=\"0\"/></a><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/3/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/3/rc.img\" border=\"0\"/></a><br/><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2.htm\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2.img\" border=\"0\"/></a><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2t.img\" border=\"0\"/><img src=\"http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~4/_8V1KipjhjQ\" height=\"1\" width=\"1\" alt=\"\"/>" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(1572) "<p>William Janssen was already accustomed to drinking desalinated water, but it was always treated in large machines that consume lots of energy. So he came up with the idea of using solar energy instead to transform salt-water into drinking water, a more sustainable cost-effective&#160;method. </p><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/42a29e50/sc/36/mf.gif\" border=\"0\" /><br clear=\'all\'/><br/><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/1/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/1/rc.img\" border=\"0\" /></a><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/2/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/2/rc.img\" border=\"0\" /></a><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/3/rc.htm\" rel=\"nofollow\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/3/rc.img\" border=\"0\" /></a><br/><br/><a href=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2.htm\"><img src=\"http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2.img\" border=\"0\" /></a><img width=\"1\" height=\"1\" src=\"http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2t.img\" border=\"0\" />" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-01-23 14:27:26" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-01-23 08:27:26" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-01-23 14:27:26" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-01-23 08:27:26" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "pending" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["guid"]=> string(33) "http://venturebeat.com/?p=1648142" ["meta"]=> array(9) { ["enclosure"]=> array(1) { [0]=> string(103) "http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~5/w6cqMRulFao/Desol-at-beach-160x140.jpg 0 image/jpeg" } ["syndication_source"]=> string(58) "VentureBeat » Green News | Green Technology | VentureBeat" ["syndication_source_uri"]=> string(22) "http://venturebeat.com" ["syndication_source_id"]=> string(56) "http://feeds.feedburner.com/Venturebeat_green?format=xml" ["rss:comments"]=> string(105) "http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/23/desolenator-creates-clean-water-from-saltwater-using-sunlight/#comments" ["syndication_feed"]=> string(56) "http://feeds.feedburner.com/Venturebeat_green?format=xml" ["syndication_feed_id"]=> string(2) "13" ["syndication_permalink"]=> string(64) "http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~3/_8V1KipjhjQ/" ["syndication_item_hash"]=> string(32) "25a2d0b8df89a1439ccd305cbf3e03c0" } ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_author"]=> int(0) ["tax_input"]=> array(3) { ["category"]=> array(1) { [0]=> int(1) } ["post_tag"]=> array(1) { [0]=> int(2130) } ["post_format"]=> array(0) { } } ["post_pingback"]=> bool(false) } ["$this"]=> object(SyndicatedPost)#341 (15) { ["item"]=> array(48) { ["enclosure@url"]=> string(90) "http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~5/w6cqMRulFao/Desol-at-beach-160x140.jpg" ["enclosure@"]=> string(15) "url,length,type" ["enclosure@length"]=> string(1) "0" ["enclosure@type"]=> string(10) "image/jpeg" ["guid@ispermalink"]=> string(5) "false" ["guid@"]=> string(11) "ispermalink" ["guid"]=> string(33) "http://venturebeat.com/?p=1648142" ["comments"]=> string(105) "http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/23/desolenator-creates-clean-water-from-saltwater-using-sunlight/#comments" ["pubdate"]=> string(29) "Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:27:26 GMT" ["category#3@domain"]=> string(0) "" ["category#3@"]=> string(6) "domain" ["category#3"]=> string(7) "Science" ["category#2@domain"]=> string(0) "" ["category#2@"]=> string(6) "domain" ["category#2"]=> string(8) "Business" ["category@domain"]=> string(0) "" ["category@"]=> string(6) "domain" ["category"]=> string(5) "Green" ["description"]=> string(1518) "<p>William Janssen was already accustomed to drinking desalinated water, but it was always treated in large machines that consume lots of energy. So he came up with the idea of using solar energy instead to transform salt-water into drinking water, a more sustainable cost-effective&#160;method. </p><img width='1' height='1' src='http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/42a29e50/sc/36/mf.gif' border='0'/><br clear='all'/><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2.htm"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2.img" border="0"/></a><img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2t.img" border="0"/>" ["link"]=> string(64) "http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~3/_8V1KipjhjQ/" ["title"]=> string(61) "Desolenator creates clean water from saltwater using sunlight" ["title#"]=> int(1) ["link#"]=> int(1) ["description#"]=> int(1) ["category#"]=> int(3) ["pubdate#"]=> int(1) ["comments#"]=> int(1) ["guid#"]=> int(1) ["enclosure#"]=> int(1) ["content"]=> array(2) { ["encoded"]=> string(6488) "<img width="578" height="417" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Desol-at-beach-578x417.jpg" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="Desol at beach" /><hr/><p>Water scarcity affects every corner of the globe, with around 1.2 billion people &#8212; almost 20 percent of Earth&#8217;s population &#8212; living with the constant worry of whether they&#8217;ll have enough drinking water to survive, <a href="http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml" target="_blank">according to the United Nations</a> (U.N.).</p> <p>However, almost three-quarters of this world we inhabit is covered in water &#8212; the vast majority of which is undrinkable salt water. And it&#8217;s this problem that a crack team of innovators in London are looking to solve.</p> <p>Having lived in United Arab Emirates&#8217; capital, Abu Dhabi, for more than five years, <a href="https://twitter.com/wfjanssen" target="_blank">William Janssen</a> was already accustomed to drinking desalinated water &#8212; seawater treated in large machines that consume lots of energy in the process. So Janssen came up with the idea of using solar energy instead to transform salt-water into drinking water, a more sustainable cost-effective method.</p> <p>So Desolenator was founded in 2012, and the company has been working with <a href="http://ixspark.com/" target="_blank">Innovation Experience</a>, a group that helps marry &#8220;clean tech development&#8221; with human-centred design, since 2013 to make the idea a reality. The company has since become part of London&#8217;s Imperial College accelerator programme for clean technology startups, and just this week it met its <a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/desolenator-transforming-sunshine-into-water" target="_blank">$150,000 crowdfunding target</a> on Indiegogo &#8212; with a week still to go.</p> <p>The money will be used to see the product through the final stage of development, and there should be a fully market-ready product by October, with non-government organizations (NGOs) in conflict regions high on the target list.</p> <p>Backers on the Indiegogo campaign have so far donated 55 units to causes, 35 of which are being given to families in Southern India and Africa.</p> <h2>How it works</h2> <p>Desolenator can produce around 15 litres of clear water a day, from seawater or other &#8220;dirty&#8221; water. While <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination" target="_blank">desalination</a> techniques do vary around the world, they typically require a generated power supply. And this is the main selling point of Desolenator, as it just needs sunlight, while it has no moving parts or filters, which means that it&#8217;s easy (and cheap) to maintain. Another benefit is the cost of the unit itself &#8212; a single device comes in at around $450.</p> <p>The user basically feeds water in via a pipe, and the solar panel then provides enough heat and electric energy to boil and cleanse the water.</p> <p><img class=" size-large wp-image-1648162 aligncenter" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/desol_unit_blue_writing-800x452.png" alt="desol_unit_blue_writing" width="800" height="452" /></p> <p>Though such technology clearly holds significant ramifications for bringing clean water to more than a billion people globally, there is no real reason why it couldn&#8217;t be used in other walks of life.</p> <p>Indeed, anyone living near a large body of salt-water could invest in this technology. And anyone who spends large periods of time at sea, too, could find a use for it.</p> <p><a href="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ON-DECK-USE-CASE-2.jpg"><img class=" size-large wp-image-1648168 aligncenter" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ON-DECK-USE-CASE-2-800x600.jpg" alt="ON DECK USE CASE 2" width="800" height="600" /></a></p> <p>That&#8217;s looking to further into the future though. For now, the goal is to ramp up production and get as many units as possible out into the regions that need it most.</p> <p>&#8220;The water crisis is real and happening now,&#8221; says Janssen. &#8220;This has been recognised by the World Economic Forum, which <a href="http://www.weforum.org/issues/water" target="_blank">reports</a> that water is the single greatest resource threat to the world.&#8221;</p> <p>With a week of crowdfunding still to go, we&#8217;re told that if it passes the $200,000 mark, Desolenator could expedite development and get to market sooner. If they smash the $250,000 barrier, they will be able to create four more pilot sites &#8212; in Spain, Northern India, Kenya, and Chile.</p> <div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> We're studying conversion rate optimization. <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/vb-insight-conversion-rate-optimization-cro-tools?utm_source=vbnews&#38;utm_medium=in-article-callout&#38;utm_content=bottom-of-article&#38;utm_campaign=cro-survey">Take our quick survey and we'll share the results with you.</a></div><img width='1' height='1' src='http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/42a29e50/sc/36/mf.gif' border='0'/><br clear='all'/><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/rc/3/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2.htm"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2.img" border="0"/></a><img width="1" height="1" src="http://pi.feedsportal.com/r/218610931449/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/42a29e50/sc/36/a2t.img" border="0"/><img src="//feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Venturebeat_green/~4/_8V1KipjhjQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>" ["encoded#"]=> int(1) } ["slash"]=> array(2) { ["comments"]=> string(1) "0" ["comments#"]=> int(1) } ["wfw"]=> array(1) { ["commentrss#"]=> int(1) } ["dc"]=> array(6) { ["creator"]=> string(11) "Paul Sawers" ["creator#"]=> int(1) ["subject#"]=> int(3) ["subject"]=> string(5) "Green" ["subject#2"]=> string(8) "Business" ["subject#3"]=> string(7) "Science" } ["http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0"]=> array(4) { ["origenclosurelink"]=> string(76) "http://venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Desol-at-beach-160x140.jpg" ["origlink"]=> string(96) "http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/23/desolenator-creates-clean-water-from-saltwater-using-sunlight/" ["origlink#"]=> int(1) ["origenclosurelink#"]=> int(1) } ["summary#"]=> int(1) ["summary"]=> string(1518) "<p>William Janssen was already accustomed to drinking desalinated water, but it was always treated in large machines that consume lots of energy. 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"http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(6488) "<img width="578" height="417" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Desol-at-beach-578x417.jpg" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="Desol at beach" /><hr/><p>Water scarcity affects every corner of the globe, with around 1.2 billion people &#8212; almost 20 percent of Earth&#8217;s population &#8212; living with the constant worry of whether they&#8217;ll have enough drinking water to survive, <a href="http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml" target="_blank">according to the United Nations</a> (U.N.).</p> <p>However, almost three-quarters of this world we inhabit is covered in water &#8212; the vast majority of which is undrinkable salt water. And it&#8217;s this problem that a crack team of innovators in London are looking to solve.</p> <p>Having lived in United Arab Emirates&#8217; capital, Abu Dhabi, for more than five years, <a href="https://twitter.com/wfjanssen" target="_blank">William Janssen</a> was already accustomed to drinking desalinated water &#8212; seawater treated in large machines that consume lots of energy in the process. So Janssen came up with the idea of using solar energy instead to transform salt-water into drinking water, a more sustainable cost-effective method.</p> <p>So Desolenator was founded in 2012, and the company has been working with <a href="http://ixspark.com/" target="_blank">Innovation Experience</a>, a group that helps marry &#8220;clean tech development&#8221; with human-centred design, since 2013 to make the idea a reality. The company has since become part of London&#8217;s Imperial College accelerator programme for clean technology startups, and just this week it met its <a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/desolenator-transforming-sunshine-into-water" target="_blank">$150,000 crowdfunding target</a> on Indiegogo &#8212; with a week still to go.</p> <p>The money will be used to see the product through the final stage of development, and there should be a fully market-ready product by October, with non-government organizations (NGOs) in conflict regions high on the target list.</p> <p>Backers on the Indiegogo campaign have so far donated 55 units to causes, 35 of which are being given to families in Southern India and Africa.</p> <h2>How it works</h2> <p>Desolenator can produce around 15 litres of clear water a day, from seawater or other &#8220;dirty&#8221; water. While <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination" target="_blank">desalination</a> techniques do vary around the world, they typically require a generated power supply. And this is the main selling point of Desolenator, as it just needs sunlight, while it has no moving parts or filters, which means that it&#8217;s easy (and cheap) to maintain. Another benefit is the cost of the unit itself &#8212; a single device comes in at around $450.</p> <p>The user basically feeds water in via a pipe, and the solar panel then provides enough heat and electric energy to boil and cleanse the water.</p> <p><img class=" size-large wp-image-1648162 aligncenter" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/desol_unit_blue_writing-800x452.png" alt="desol_unit_blue_writing" width="800" height="452" /></p> <p>Though such technology clearly holds significant ramifications for bringing clean water to more than a billion people globally, there is no real reason why it couldn&#8217;t be used in other walks of life.</p> <p>Indeed, anyone living near a large body of salt-water could invest in this technology. And anyone who spends large periods of time at sea, too, could find a use for it.</p> <p><a href="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ON-DECK-USE-CASE-2.jpg"><img class=" size-large wp-image-1648168 aligncenter" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ON-DECK-USE-CASE-2-800x600.jpg" alt="ON DECK USE CASE 2" width="800" height="600" /></a></p> <p>That&#8217;s looking to further into the future though. For now, the goal is to ramp up production and get as many units as possible out into the regions that need it most.</p> <p>&#8220;The water crisis is real and happening now,&#8221; says Janssen. &#8220;This has been recognised by the World Economic Forum, which <a href="http://www.weforum.org/issues/water" target="_blank">reports</a> that water is the single greatest resource threat to the world.&#8221;</p> <p>With a week of crowdfunding still to go, we&#8217;re told that if it passes the $200,000 mark, Desolenator could expedite development and get to market sooner. 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Though that promise remains a lofty long-term goal, the company is making new inroads to meet its commitment: Amazon has signed a 13-year partnership with Pattern Energy Group to &#8220;support the construction and operation of a 150 megawatt (MW) wind farm,&#8221; the company revealed today <a href="http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&#38;p=irol-newsArticle&#38;ID=2008735" target="_blank">in a press release</a>.</p> <p>The new wind farm will be built in Benton County, Indiana, and will be called &#8212; drum roll &#8212; the &#8220;Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge).&#8221;</p> <p>Plans are afoot to start generating around 500,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of power from as early as January 2016. For context, the <a href="http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=97&#38;t=3" target="_blank">average residential electricity consumer</a> in the U.S. used around 10,837 kWh in 2012, or 903 kilowatthours (kWh) per month. So Amazon estimates that its new farm will help power the equivalent of around 46,000 homes each year.</p> <p>Amazon Web Services doesn&#8217;t power homes, though, it provides businesses with access to cloud computing technology. AWS was originally built for Amazon&#8217;s own increasing cloud-based server needs, however it subsequently realized the datacenters could also serve other companies. AWS has been used by many brands you no doubt know and love &#8212; including Spotify and Netflix.</p> <p>But <a href="http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/A-Green-Internet/clickingclean/" target="_blank">in a Greenpeace report</a> last year on &#8220;clean&#8221; Internet companies, Amazon didn&#8217;t fare well at all. The report said:</p> <blockquote><p>&#8220;AWS has dropped further and further behind its competitors in building an internet that runs on renewable sources of energy, estimated at only 15%, and is the least transparent of any company we evaluated.&#8221;</p></blockquote> <p>Given that other technology firms have previously pledged their futures to renewable energy, with the likes of <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/08/apple-gets-greener-with-55m-investment-in-a-solar-farm/" target="_blank">Apple investing in solar farms</a>, Microsoft <a href="http://venturebeat.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/microsoft-gets-greener-with-175-megawatt-purchase-from-an-illinois-wind-farm/" target="_blank">buying wind energy</a>, and Google <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2011/05/24/google-wind-farm-investment-alta/" target="_blank">following similar pursuits</a>, Amazon has appeared slow on the uptake.</p> <p>However, Amazon has said that it plans to power its AWS datancenters entirely from 100 percent renewable energy, so the power purchase agreement (PPA) announced today between Amazon and Pattern Energy is a step closer towards achieving this.</p> <p>Amazon does have so-called &#8220;carbon-neutral&#8221; regions already, kicking off with Oregon back in 2011. This was followed by a new data center in Frankfurt, Germany, while <a href="http://aws.amazon.com/govcloud-us/" target="_blank">AWS GovCloud</a> for U.S. government agencies is also sold as being kind to the environment.</p> <p>But as Greenpeace has previously noted, Amazon is &#8220;the least transparent of any company we evaluated,&#8221; so it&#8217;s difficult to tell exactly how Amazon powers its data centers around the world, even in the carbon-neutral zones.</p> <p>While the company already taps a number of renewable energy resources for AWS, including wind, we now know it will soon have a dedicated wind farm in the U.S. The company has also revealed how much power it hopes to generate using the turbines, so if it continues to announce specific details such as this moving forward, Amazon could see itself attain a much loftier position when the next Greenpeace report comes along.</p> <div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> We're studying conversion rate 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It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 9 seconds, and up to 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen. But this isn&#8217;t exactly the hydrogen-powered vehicle the world has been waiting for. Here&#8217;s why&#8230;</p> <h2>Mirai&#8217;s cost and exaggerated eco-friendliness</h2> <p>The Mirai is about the size of the mid-sized Toyota Camry and, with a cost of $57,500, it’s more expensive than any other car in Toyota’s lineup. (Only Toyota’s top-of-the-line SUVs and pickup trucks cost more.) That&#8217;s nearly $15,000 more than Toyota’s current best sedan, the Avalon Hybrid, which comes in at about $43,000. Yet due to the space taken up by the hydrogen fuel cell technology used to power the vehicle, the Mirai’s trunk is smaller.</p> <p>That’s not the only drawback. Hydrogen isn&#8217;t the eco-friendly solution that Toyota’s press conference purported it to be. Despite hydrogen being the most abundant substance in the universe, Toyota forgot to mention that the element, which is lighter than air, is quite difficult to harvest here on Earth.</p> <p>In further discussion with Toyota employees familiar with the matter, VentureBeat uncovered the fact that most of the hydrogen production for the Mirai is powered by burning natural gas. “More sustainable ways of generating hydrogen that are being explored include solar power, wind power, and landfill gas,” said a Toyota spokesperson. The Orange County Water Purifying District of Fountain Valley, Calif. will be harvesting hydrogen from human waste.</p> <h2>Mirai vs. Tesla&#8217;s Model S</h2> <p>How does the Mirai compare to that other electrically propelled vehicle made by a company that starts with a T? The Mirai is slower to hit 60 mph, and its cargo space is more limited. And unlike the Model S’s lithium-based batteries, the Mirai’s batteries are made from nickel metal hydride &#8212; the same material that resides in Toyota/Lexus’s current line of gasoline-electric hybrids. Due to regulatory issues, Mirai owners will not be able to plug the hydrogen-based electric vehicle in when they get home, either. Instead they’ll have to find hydrogen fueling stations to fill the tank. And Mirai owners will have to fill up regularly, or uncompressed hydrogen will vent from the car into the atmosphere, leaving the tank empty. You won&#8217;t be saving any time.</p> <p>The Mirai creates water as a waste product of the hydrogen/oxygen reaction that powers the motor. The vehicle has a reservoir that holds the water but there’s no easy way for a Mirai owner to reclaim it. Instead Toyota has placed a button on the lefthand side of the car’s instrument cluster that releases the water the car has collected. This can be important in winter when the water vessel may freeze and cause problems. If the driver doesn’t eject the water, the Mirai will eventually purge itself. Tesla&#8217;s cars don&#8217;t require any such process. You can just dispose of your batteries at a recycling facility.</p> <p>The Model S, though more expensive than the Mirai, comes with free access to Tesla’s supercharger stations. Mirai owners will receive free hydrogen from Toyota for up to three years after the purchase of vehicles before 2017. After that a fill-up should cost around $50.</p> <h2>Mirai won&#8217;t jump start hydrogen fuel vehicles</h2> <p>Today, the infrastructure serving the Mirai leaves a huge gap between the vehicle’s aspirations of eco-friendliness and the reality of hydrogen-powered autos. The Mirai may be a step in the right direction, but it doesn&#8217;t free anyone from fossil fuels, and the convenience surrounding its maintenance and fuel needs are not at all clear. 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And that&#8217;s just an incredibly bad name for Chevy to use.</p> <p>We can understand why GM&#8217;s marketers would want to allude to the Volt in naming a new, all-electric model.</p> <p>The Volt has the highest customer satisfaction of any vehicle GM has ever sold, and a sterling reputation for advanced technology and battery durability. But &#8220;Bolt&#8221; is still a really, really bad name for the production car that we&#8217;ll likely see during 2017.</p> <p>Why? Those of us who have surnames starting with &#8220;V&#8221;&#8211; including this editor &#8212; are deeply familiar with the inability of many people to distinguish between &#8220;V&#8221; sounds and &#8220;B&#8221; sounds.</p> <p>To say that there will be a great deal of confusion at dealerships between the Chevy Bolt and the Chevy Volt would be a gross understatement.</p> <p>And that&#8217;s not even starting to address the issue of, ummmmm, bolt jokes. Discussions among startled and incredulous members of the auto industry circulated through Detroit and the media diaspora all of yesterday. Social media overflowed with one-liners about the rumored new model name.</p> <p>Here are just a few. The names of the authors have been redacted, and obscenities removed, to protect any reputations they may have left.</p> <ul> <li>&#8220;Has no one at GM ever heard the phrase &#8216;bucket of bolts&#8217;?&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;At least they&#8217;re giving it the worst car name in history. I guess Jolt was taken.&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;If it flops, we can call it the Dolt.&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;That&#8217;s just Usain.&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;I actually thought of Bolt the Dog.&#8221; (This is a 2008 movie starring John Travolta and Miley Cyrus; don&#8217;t ask.)</li> <li>&#8220;We wanted to re-imagine the Volt. But we didn&#8217;t want to use the same nameplate, so just think of the Bolt as re-Volting.&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;I can hear it now: &#8216;Only a nut drives a Bolt.&#8217; &#8220;</li> <li>&#8220;When a Bolt gets stolen, will it be stripped?&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;I can see it now: &#8216;Police recovered a stripped Bolt today.&#8217; &#8220;</li> <li>&#8220;I think the base model Bolt will be called the Stripped trim. The high level will be called Lightning. I&#8217;d be SHOCKED if they didn&#8217;t have some sort of Black &#38; Decker Edition.&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;That&#8217;s so ratchet.&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;GM is ready to tap into the Bolt market; when they drive it, [it will] be to die for.&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;Was [a GM employee named Holt] with Dodge when they did the Colt?&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;I think it would make more sense to roll out a CrossVolt on Monday than the Bolt.&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;Here I was hoping that the Bolt would be the two-door sports coupe version of the Volt.&#8221;</li> <li>&#8220;So can we look forward to the <a title="2011 Chevy Volt Dance: Hey GM, We Want Our Bailout Back, Now" href="http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1040179_2010-chevy-volt-dance-hey-gm-we-want-our-bailout-back-now">Bolt Dance</a>?&#8221;</li> </ul> <p>You get the idea.</p> <p>Thankfully, there&#8217;s plenty of time for GM&#8217;s marketing mavens to reconsider the Bolt model name.</p> <p>If the rumors of a tall five-door hatchback shape with crossover styling turn out to be true, we rather like the CrossVolt name&#8211;but we understand why Chevy would want to keep &#8220;Volt&#8221; for range-extended electric vehicles.</p> <p>Prevalent rumors say Chevy has trademarked the Amp; how about that one?</p> <p>There&#8217;s also Electra, although Buick marketers may fight Chevy&#8217;s team to hang onto that one for some future plug-in electric Buick model down the road.</p> <p>But, hey, marketers get paid to solve tough branding problems.</p> <p>Back to the drawing board, folks.</p> <p>Please.</p> <p><em><strong>EDITOR&#8217;S NOTE</strong>: Green Car Reports thanks all of the unnamed members of the auto industry whose words contributed to this story. 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"http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/taxonomy/" ["sy"]=> string(44) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" ["dc"]=> string(32) "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(7669) "<img width="578" height="329" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/mercedes-benz-f-015-2p-578x329.jpg" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="A Mercedes-Benz car." /><hr/><div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-before"><h2><a href="http://venturebeat.com/tag/ces-2015">CES 2015</a></h2> <a href="http://venturebeat.com/tag/ces-2014"><img class="size-thumbnail wp-image-1248442" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ces-2013-prototype-160x140.jpg" alt="The CES 2013 prototype of True Player Gear's VR headset." width="160" height="140" /></a> <em>What will be hot in consumer electronics and computing in 2015? Read VB's <a href="http://venturebeat.com/tag/ces-2015">full coverage of International CES 2015</a> to find out.</em></div><p>The automakers have finally found something interesting to talk about at CES. For years they&#8217;ve been droning on about how your smartphone can share music and maps with your car&#8217;s headend system &#8212; and some are still droning on about that &#8212; but this year most of the talk in the North Hall (auto tech central at the 2015 International CES) was about self-driving cars and driver-assist functions.</p> <p>I am thankful for this.</p> <p>The infotainment systems are important, but developers have so far struggled to find a neat way of baking smartphone functions into the dashboard. And many (like me) are getting tired of hearing about it every January. The latest story is about <a title="Apple's CarPlay is coming to Dodge, Audi, Jeep, Fiat, &#38; others" href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/01/apples-carplay-is-coming-to-dodge-audi-jeep-fiat-others/">Apple (CarPlay)</a> and <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/11/18/google-releases-its-first-android-auto-apis-lets-developers-build-audio-and-messaging-apps-for-the-car/">Google (Android Auto)</a> undertaking the painstaking process of making their platforms work with thousands of car models on the road. But even these flashy companies may have trouble breathing life into the car infotainment space.</p> <p>In the dinners, demos, booths, and podcasts in which I participated in Vegas, everybody wanted to talk only about automated driving. So here&#8217;s what the automakers announced in that area at CES.</p> <p>Audi and Mercedes win the prize for their autonomous car stories this year. But they&#8217;re mainly just stories.</p> <p><strong>Audi</strong> hauled a few journalists from Palo Alto, Calif., to Las Vegas in an A7 where no steering wheel was touched. No deaths were reported. Audi says it hopes to run deep learning routines on the data collected by the sensors and cameras in the car, making the system grow smarter over time.</p> <p><strong>Mercedes</strong> drove its self-driving car up and down the Strip, a blingy car that looked like it was designed just for Las Vegas. The car &#8212; called the <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/06/heres-the-video-of-the-mercedes-self-driving-car-that-lit-up-the-vegas-strip-last-night/">F 015 Luxury in Motion</a> (!) &#8212; will likely never hit the market, and Mercedes says it won&#8217;t sell a self-driving car until around 2030.</p> <p><strong>Ford</strong> made no announcements about self-driving cars, but said that it is currently testing prototypes of both fully autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. Ford formally announced a <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/06/ford-announces-numerous-car-sharing-experiments-around-the-world/">series of &#8220;experiments&#8221;</a> it&#8217;s conducting in cities around the world regarding car sharing and <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/06/ford-explores-painless-parking-aids/">parking assistance</a>. It also announced a new version of its Sync in-car infotainment system, Sync 3.</p> <p><strong>Volkswagen</strong> <a href="http://media.vw.com/release/908/">showed off</a> its new semi-autonomous driving trick &#8212; Trained Parking &#8212; in which the car learns the way to a designated parking space and parks semi-automatically under computer control. Volkswagen says its cars will soon allow themselves to be parked by the driver remotely, using a smartphone to control the car. Volkswagen&#8217;s main announcement, however, was for a touchless, gesture-based system for controlling information, entertainment, and telemetry systems in the car.</p> <p><strong>Toyota</strong> says it&#8217;ll release its first hydrogen-powered car, called the Mirai, this year. Toyota is dealing with the problem of the shortage of vehicle charging stations by <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/05/toyota-opens-thousands-of-green-tech-patents-to-the-auto-industry/">opening up 5,680 patents</a> to others in the industry that might use it to build more charging stations. Toyota says all it wants in return is to be able to use other manufacturers&#8217; patented fuel cell technologies.</p> <p><strong>Chevrolet</strong>, having nothing better to talk about, briefly unveiled its 2016 Volt, which is scheduled to be released at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 12.</p> <p>Ford may have the most <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/09/what-to-think-ep-36-why-fords-in-no-hurry-to-make-self-driving-cars/">reasonable take</a> on the whole self-driving car thing. CEO Mark Fields told VentureBeat that his company is in no hurry to produce such a car, because the technology is still expensive, and the culture, courts, and <a href="http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/wiki/index.php/Automated_Driving:_Legislative_and_Regulatory_Action">regulatory system</a> aren&#8217;t ready yet.</p> <p>Announcing a tech product at CES and then never releasing it has become almost a cliche, and the automakers should learn from the thousands of tech companies that have done it that it doesn&#8217;t pay to talk loudly about products that are still years away from market-ready.</p> <div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> We're studying conversion rate optimization. <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/vb-insight-conversion-rate-optimization-cro-tools?utm_source=vbnews&#38;utm_medium=in-article-callout&#38;utm_content=bottom-of-article&#38;utm_campaign=cro-survey">Take our quick survey and we'll share the results with you.</a></div><img width='1' height='1' 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toothpaste to new ceiling fans are applying that same set of expectations to their utility bill. Consumers are demanding &#8212; and new companies are supplying &#8212; lower cost and higher control energy solutions, including LED lights, smart thermostats, and rooftop solar panels.</p> <p>Changes in consumer demand and energy economics are also driving activity at the capitol. State legislators are actively shaping energy-related policies, and regulations matter with more than 2,200 bills pending in the 50 states in 2014, according to the <a href="http://www.aeltracker.org/">Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker</a> from Colorado State University&#8217;s Center for the New Energy Economy. More than half of all states have enacted quantitative energy efficiency targets, and many states are now offering incentives to utilities to fuel drops in energy demand.</p> <p>New technologies and customer demand will spur a continued call for energy efficiency in 2015. Here are five opportunities for the energy efficiency market next year:</p> <p><strong>1. Immediate energy status overview.</strong> Goodbye, paper utility bills. Smart consumers want fast, easy access to information about their energy usage, tips, and service. Utilities will accelerate their efforts to create mobile-friendly, social, and gamification solutions that allow consumers to connect with utilities in previously unimagined ways, and an increasing number of businesses will emerge to serve consumers from new, unique angles. Utilities like <a href="https://www2.dteenergy.com/wps/portal/DTEHome/!ut/p/b1/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNLXz8wkxD_QN9PA1NDTzNnQycvbzMDA0MDIEKIoEKDHAARwNC-sP1o8BK8Jjg55Gfm6pfkBthoOuoqAgAFA3Zfg!!/dl4/d5/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/">DTE Energy</a> with its Insight App give consumers access to their home energy use through their smartphones. In addition, product offerings such as <a href="https://www.bidgely.com/freedom">Bidgely’s HomeBeat</a> are providing customers with personalized insights regarding their energy consumption, as well as neighborhood comparisons &#8212; down to the particular appliance in use.</p> <p><strong>2. Light-emitting diodes.</strong> (LEDs) will hit the big stage. In 2014, LED inventors won the Nobel Prize in physics. There is still a lot of value left in compact fluorescents, but we will see a big leap to LEDs in the coming year as costs drop, quality and product diversity increase, and integration and innovation soar. We can expect to see more innovation in energy efficient lighting from companies like <a href="http://www.earthtronics.com/">EarthTronics, Inc.</a> and <a href="http://www.p-2.com/">Precision-Paragon (P2)</a>, which will also help cut energy consumption.</p> <p><strong>3. Mix-and-match solutions.</strong> We’ll keep wrestling to find the right mix. Integrated demand side management will accelerate mix-and-match energy efficiency, combined heat and power (CHP) systems, demand response, storage, and renewables to create a more customizable suite of energy solutions than ever before. In 2015 we’ll see a greater adoption of holistic systems that incorporate distributed energy resources like energy efficiency and energy storage to balance the variability of renewable energy resources like wind power, solar, small hydro, and CHP. Utilities will need both a seat at the table and rewards for making it happen. Several utilities like <a href="http://www.pacificorp.com/index.html">PacifiCorp</a>, <a href="https://www1.nationalgridus.com/CorporateHub">National Grid</a>, <a href="http://www.nstar.com/residential/">NSTAR Electric and Gas</a>, and <a href="http://www.coned.com">Con Edison</a> have plans underway.</p> <p><strong>4. Real-time pricing.</strong> The fast adoption of smart meters is making real-time pricing possible, with more than 46 million meters installed nationwide to date. Smart meters make it possible for real-time communication of energy data between customers and utilities, which paves the way for dynamic pricing. With big swings in energy prices based on time and location, we’ll see better matching of energy supply and demand through instantaneous price changes. <a href="https://nest.com/">Nest</a> has captured a lot of attention with its easy to use smart thermostat, but other products from companies like <a href="https://www.ecobee.com/">Ecobee</a> and <a href="http://honeywell.com/Pages/Home.aspx">Honeywell</a> put real-time energy control in consumers’ hands as well.</p> <p><strong>5. Regulated carbon cuts.</strong> Expect a tumultuous year when it comes to U.S. EPA Clean Air Act section 111(d) &#8212; final regulations are expected in the summer of 2015 and lawsuits are involved. The proposed rules would require states to reduce carbon emissions from generation by almost 30 percent. Energy efficiency will be one of the strategies leveraged to meet reduction goals.</p> <p>In the year ahead, we’ll see utilities and regulators scrutinizing the ROI on energy efficiency programs during a period of lower cost fuel and declining load. Some states may even relax energy efficiency policies and regulations in this environment, even though consumers will expect utility programs to help them make sense of the dazzling and confusing array of options.</p> <p>The long-term economic advantages of energy efficiency, driven by the forces outlined here, position energy efficiency to have a powerful 2015.</p> <p><em>Jonathan Kleinman is vice president of policy, design, and evaluation at <a href="http://www.clearesult.com/">CLEAResult</a>. He analyzes state and federal policies, regulations, and initiatives to identify the specific ways that policy changes impact clients. He also guides programs and clients through the evaluation of energy savings. He is a Certified Energy Manager and LEED-Accredited Professional. 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"http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/taxonomy/" ["sy"]=> string(44) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" ["dc"]=> string(32) "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(5405) "<img width="578" height="583" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/secur-products-578x583.jpg" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="Secur Products&#039; Solar Media Player" /><hr/><div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-before"><h2><a href="http://venturebeat.com/tag/ces-2015">CES 2015</a></h2> <a href="http://venturebeat.com/tag/ces-2014"><img class="size-thumbnail wp-image-1248442" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ces-2013-prototype-160x140.jpg" alt="The CES 2013 prototype of True Player Gear's VR headset." width="160" height="140" /></a> <em>What will be hot in consumer electronics and computing in 2015? Read VB's <a href="http://venturebeat.com/tag/ces-2015">full coverage of International CES 2015</a> to find out.</em></div><p>If you marry enough gadgets, you might make something useful. That may explain the combination that <a href="http://www.securproducts.com">Secur Products</a> has come up with for its latest product at the 2015 International CES, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.</p> <p>Edison, N.J.-based Secur Product is launching its $50 Sp-5000 Solar Media Player, which combines an MP3 media player speaker and a solar-powered charging case in a single product. The company notes that streaming music or playing a library of songs is one of the fastest ways to drain the battery life of a smartphone. But the Solar Media Player deals with that problem.</p> <p>It combines a zippered speaker with a built-in solar panel. You can use that panel to protect and charge smartphones in the outdoors. And you can play music continuously while you do that. So you can take the device out camping in the woods, relaxing in the backyard, or just enjoying the outdoors somewhere.</p> <p>The Solar Media Player is both rainproof and shockproof, the company says. You put a smartphone or MP3 player in the case and zip it closed. The Solar Media Player will function as a speaker and a solar phone charger. The case measures 7.28 inches by 3.74 inches by 1.77 inches. It is large enough to hold most smartphones including the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5. It features two 3-watt stereo speakers, a built-in 2000mAh power bank, and a 5.5V solar panel.</p> <p>When a phone is connected to the Solar Media Player it can draw power from the power bank, or the solar panel can charge both the phone and the power bank at the same time. Other features of the Solar Media Player include a battery light indicator and a carabiner that can be used to hang the speaker. Secur Products is a division of Maverick Industries, which has been making household electronics and appliances for more than 30 years. Secur Products focuses on emergency preparedness, outdoor sports, portable power solutions, and alternative energy.</p> <div id="attachment_1634817" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="max-width:733px;"><a href="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/secur-products-2.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-1634817" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/secur-products-2.jpg" alt="Secur Products' Solar Media Player and charging case." width="733" height="584" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: Secur Products&#8217; Solar Media Player and charging case</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: Secur Products</em></div></div> <div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> Marketing technologist? We're studying <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/vb-insight-marketing-clouds-survey?utm_source=vbnews&#38;utm_medium=in-article-callout&#38;utm_content=bottom-of-article&#38;utm_campaign=marketing-clouds-survey">the big marketing clouds</a>. <a href="http://insight.venturebeat.com/vb-insight-marketing-clouds-survey?utm_source=vbnews&#38;utm_medium=in-article-callout&#38;utm_content=bottom-of-article&#38;utm_campaign=marketing-clouds-survey">Fill out our 5-minute survey</a>, and we'll share the data with you.</div><img width='1' height='1' src='http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/420d45c8/sc/28/mf.gif' border='0'/><br clear='all'/><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/216443528508/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/420d45c8/sc/28/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/216443528508/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/420d45c8/sc/28/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a 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["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(5211) "<img width="578" height="385" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/green-car-money-green-tech-578x385.jpg" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="green car money green tech" /><hr/><p>With the year all but wound down, it&#8217;s an appropriate time to look back and take stock of what&#8217;s been achieved over the past 12 months.</p> <p>So how did 2014 measure up in terms of boosting vehicle fuel efficiency and reducing emissions?</p> <p>According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) advocacy group, it was a very good year indeed.</p> <p>In a summary <a title="2014--A Year of Clean Cars for All" href="http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ltonachel/2014--a_year_of_clean_cars_for.html" target="_blank">blog post</a>, the NRDC says tightening fuel-efficiency standards and increased electric-car 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That&#8217;s expected to have the same effect on air pollution as replacing roughly 30 million of today&#8217;s gasoline cars with zero-emission vehicles.</p> <p>Speaking of which, the number of electric cars on U.S. roads also continued to steadily increase this year.</p> <p>Around 107,000 plug-in electric cars were sold in 2014, bringing the total number in the U.S. to about 275,000 in roughly four years.</p> <p><img class="alignright" title="Nissan Leaf electric car with eVgo quick charging station. [courtesy eVgo]" src="http://images.thecarconnection.com/sml/nissan-leaf_100417392_s.jpg" alt="Nissan Leaf electric car with eVgo quick charging station. 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"http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/" ["rdf"]=> string(43) "http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#" ["wfw"]=> string(36) "http://wellformedweb.org/CommentAPI/" ["atom"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" ["taxo"]=> string(41) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/taxonomy/" ["sy"]=> string(44) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" ["dc"]=> string(32) "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(18497) "<img width="578" height="387" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/golden-unicorn-578x387.jpg" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="At the end of the rainbow, you&#039;ll find a unicorn made of solid gold." /><hr/><p><em><strong>Update 12/29:</strong> We&#8217;ve added AdYen.</em></p> <p><em><strong>Update 12/30:</strong> We&#8217;ve added IronSource.</em></p> <p><em><strong>Update 1/6/2015:</strong> We&#8217;ve added Credit Karma.</em></p> <p>It is really, really difficult to create a company and grow it to the point where investors believe it is worth $1 billion or more. That milestone is so difficult to achieve, in fact, that investors call companies that do this &#8220;unicorns.&#8221;</p> <p>Out of the hundreds of startups launched every year, just 20 made the grade in 2014.</p> <p>Obviously, entrepreneurs and investors alike would love to be <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/02/welcome-to-the-unicorn-club/">part of the unicorn club</a>. Creating something that&#8217;s worth a billion dollars where nothing existed before is a tremendous achievement. It&#8217;s great for the personal wealth and ego gratification of investors and founders, of course. But it&#8217;s also a great thing for the people who work for such a company. With a <a href="http://sequoiacapital.tumblr.com/post/77211282835/four-numbers-that-explain-why-facebook-acquired">few rare exceptions</a>, billion-dollar companies generally employ hundreds of people. And they create things that people value, improving lives, making business more efficient, and creating new opportunities for other businesses down the line. It&#8217;s just very hard to get there.</p> <p>This year, at least 20 still-private companies crossed that arbitrary-but-significant barrier, achieving a valuation of $1 billion or more. <a href="https://vcexperts.com/">VCExperts</a>, which tracks private company fundings and valuations, assembled this list for VentureBeat.</p> <p>Valuation data is difficult to capture, and is often a closely guarded secret, so this list is not exhaustive. Do you know of other companies that crossed the &#8220;unicorn&#8221; line in 2014? Let us know in the comments or by emailing tips@venturebeat.com.</p> <h2>Actifio</h2> <p><a href="http://www.actifio.com/">Actifio</a>, a company that dreamed up a way to pare down the number of copies of a given piece of data while ensuring it will be available whenever companies need it, raised $100 million in March, putting its valuation “a good $100 million over $1 billion,” the company’s founder and chief executive, Ash Ashutosh, said in an <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/03/24/actifio-brings-in-100m-to-take-on-data-storage-giants/">interview with VentureBeat</a>.</p> <h2>AdYen</h2> <p><a href="https://www.adyen.com/">Adyen</a>, a payments processing company, announced on December 16 that it had <a href="https://www.adyen.com/home/about-adyen/press-releases/250-million-funding-raised-for-growth-payments-platform.html">raised $250 million</a> at a $1.5 billion valuation. General Atlantic led the round, with additional participation from Index Ventures, Temasek, and Felicis.</p> <h2>AppDynamics</h2> <p><a href="http://www.appdynamics.com/">AppDynamics</a>, a company with software for tracking the performance of applications, raised $120 million in fresh financing in July. That included $70 million in growth funding and $50 million in debt funding, enabling AppDynamics to hold off on an initial public offering, since stock traders at the time <a href="http://www.bvp.com/cloud/comps">lacked enthusiasm</a> for cloud computing stocks. Maybe an IPO is more likely in 2015, given the good performance of the New Relic and Hortonworks IPOs this month. According to VCExperts&#8217; research, AppDynamics had a valuation of $1.11 billion at its latest funding. Read our <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/22/appdynamics-funding-2/">coverage of the AppDynamics funding on VentureBeat.</a></p> <h2>AppNexus</h2> <p>Ad tech company AppNexus <a href="http://www.appnexus.com/press-release/appnexus-announces-investment-12-billion-valuation">announced</a> funding of $60 million in August — with a rumor that it might be raising another $40 million soon. In October, it <a href="http://www.appnexus.com/press-release/appnexus-completes-open-adstream-acquisition-and-closes-110-million-funding-round">confirmed the total size of the round at $110 million.</a> In a post on <a href="http://blog.appnexus.com/">the company’s blog</a>, CEO and cofounder Brian O’Kelley — a big <em>Moby Dick</em> fan — said his company is pursuing its “White Whale” of “making the Internet better by making advertising better.” That round gave the company <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/08/18/appnexus-grabs-60m-to-pursue-its-white-whale-making-advertising-better/">a valuation of $1.2 billion</a>.<em> [<strong>Updated 1/6/2015</strong> with total funding as of October, 2014.]</em></p> <h2>Cloudera</h2> <p>Cloudera revealed in a March <a href="http://www.cloudera.com/content/cloudera/en/about/press-center/press-releases/release.html/?ReleaseID=1913444">press release</a> that it had taken a massive $900 million funding round, including both <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/03/18/cloudera-snatches-a-massive-160m-to-lead-the-business-of-big-data/">the $160 million pile</a> announced earlier that month and <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/03/26/intel-cloudera-hadoop/">a $740 million investment from Intel</a>. The hefty sum from Intel will fund engineering efforts to optimize Cloudera’s flavor of Hadoop for Intel chips, as well as to expand sales and marketing, Cloudera chief financial officer <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/03/31/intel-cloudera/">Jim Frankola told VentureBeat</a>.</p> <h2>Credit Karma</h2> <p><a href="https://www.creditkarma.com/">Credit Karma</a>, a startup that provides credit scores and recommendations for credit cards, announced a $75 million round in September, just eight months after grabbing <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/30/google-capital-backed-credit-karma-now-offers-full-credit-reports-for-free/">$85 million in funding</a>. That put its valuation over $1 billion, the <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2014/09/29/credit-karma-tops-1-billion-valuation-for-personal-finance-tools/">Wall Street Journal</a> reported. Investors include Google Capital, Tiger Growth Management, and Susquehanna Growth Equity.</p> <h2>DocuSign</h2> <p><a href="https://www.docusign.com/">DocuSign</a>, a company that helps manage digital signatures and also the whole life cycle of digital documents, <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/03/04/docusign-raises-85-million-to-accelerate-growth-as-the-global-standard-for-digital-transaction-management/">picked up $85 million</a> in March from a variety of investors. The company claims it has more than 95,000 companies as customers, millions of users in 188 countries, and more than 40,000 new unique users joining its network every day. VCExperts pegs its valuation at $1.56 billion.</p> <h2>Good Technology</h2> <p><a href="http://www1.good.com/">Good Technology</a>, a company that helps big businesses enable their employees use mobile devices securely, took on $80 million in September. In May, Good <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/05/14/mobile-security-company-good-technology-files-for-long-awaited-ipo/">filed to go public</a>, but the IPO hasn&#8217;t happened yet. Good’s products include mobile-device management, identity and access management, and mobile analytics, among other services; the company has been around since 1996. Read more about <a href="http://venturebeat.com/tag/good-technology/">Good Technology on VentureBeat</a>.</p> <h2>Intarcia Therapeutics</h2> <p><a href="http://intarcia.com/">Intarcia Therapeutics</a> announced $200 million in new financing in April, giving it a $1.63 billion valuation, according to VCExperts. Intarcia is working on a pharmaceutical product that aims to reshape the treatment of Type II diabetes, said Peter Kolchinsky, managing director of RA Capital, one of the other investors in Intarcia. The “remarkably promising” product could simplify glucose control in a cost-effective manner, <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/04/01/health-care-venture-firm-foresite-capital-closes-300m-fund/">VentureBeat reported at the time.</a></p> <h2>IronSource</h2> <p><a href="http://www.ironsrc.com/">IronSource</a> announced an <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/09/23/mobile-ad-delivery-startup-ironsource-nabs-85m/">$85 million funding round in September</a>, led by “strategic and institutional investors” based in the U.S., China, and Europe. The company, which spells its name ironSource, is based in Tel Aviv, and offers ad-tech and software distribution services that are largely focused on mobile. The company is currently valued at $1.5 billion and is preparing for a 2015 IPO, <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/ironsource-preparing-an-android-ipo-2014-12">according to Business Insider</a>, although the Wall Street Journal&#8217;s <a href="http://graphics.wsj.com/billion-dollar-club/">list of billion-dollar startups</a> pegs it at an even $1 billion. Either way that&#8217;s an impressive amount.</p> <h2>Jasper Technologies</h2> <p><a href="http://www.jasper.com/">Jasper</a>, the company powering Coca-Cola&#8217;s Internet-of-Things experiments, announced a round of funding in April, to the tune of $50 million. Temasek led the round, which now brings Jasper’s valuation to over $1.3 billion. Yep, an <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/04/16/this-internet-of-things-company-works-with-coca-cola-just-raised-50m-smart-soda-cans/">Internet of Things company is now in the billion-dollar valuation club</a>.</p> <h2>Kabam</h2> <p>Alibaba’s $120 million investment in mobile game publisher <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/31/alibabas-investment-values-kabam-at-1b/">Kabam</a> values the U.S. company at more than $1 billion, according to Kabam chief executive Kevin Chou. That means that Kabam joins a rarefied group of American game companies that have grown up in the digital age and become global players in entertainment, as <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/31/alibabas-investment-values-kabam-at-1b/">GamesBeat reported in July</a>.</p> <h2>LendingClub</h2> <p><a href="https://www.lendingclub.com/">Lending Club</a> kicked off <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/12/06/these-4-tech-ipos-will-raise-more-than-1b-next-week/">a parade of tech IPOs the week of December 11</a>. And the stock ($LC) did very well on its first day of trading, rising above $25 per share. Its market capitalization is now <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=lc&#38;type=2button&#38;fr=uh3_finance_web&#38;uhb=uhb2">somewhere north of $1.5 billion</a>. That was mixed news for aspiring French entrepreneurs, as Lending Club founder <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/12/12/france-cheers-and-weeps-as-lending-club-ipo-makes-renaud-laplanche-fantastically-rich-in-the-u-s/">Renaud Laplanche is French &#8212; but he went to the U.S. to found his company.</a></p> <h2>Lookout</h2> <p><a href="https://www.lookout.com/">Lookout</a>, based in San Francisco, raised $150 million from a bevy of well-known investors, it announced in August. VCExperts told us that round put its valuation at $1.38 billion. Lookout takes a predictive, networked approach to make what the company executives call automated decision making to engage malware or intrusions before they penetrate your mobile device. “Every user that joins and installs Lookout contributes to that network. It contributes threat intelligence and data about the threats to help make the world safer,” <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/08/13/lookout-snares-150-million-to-build-out-massive-anti-malware-network-for-mobile-devices/">said founder John Hering.</a></p> <h2>Lyft</h2> <p><a href="http://www.lyft.com/">Lyft</a> announced its fourth institutional funding round in April, for $250 million. News of the company’s series D round <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/03/08/a-delaware-story-lyfts-150m-round-of-funding/">broke nearly a month before</a>, but at the time we only knew about $150 million of the $250 million total, <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/03/08/a-delaware-story-lyfts-150m-round-of-funding/">due to an early filing</a>. The alternative car-service company has raised $333 million to date &#8212; a far cry from leading competitor <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/12/04/uber-raises-an-additional-1-2-billion-to-fund-asia-expansion/">Uber, which has raised $2.7 billion to date</a> and might be preparing to take on <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/12/12/uber-reportedly-set-to-raise-up-to-600m-from-baidu-as-it-looks-to-make-greater-inroads-into-china/">another $600 million investment plus $1 billion in debt</a>. And Lyft has a $1 billion valuation, VCExperts says, while reports put Uber&#8217;s valuation well over $40 billion. On the plus side, <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/04/02/lyft-picks-up-250m-to-expand-its-ride-sharing-services-in-the-u-s-abroad/">Lyft has that cute pink mustache logo</a>.</p> <h2>New Relic</h2> <p>Application-analytics company <a href="http://newrelic.com/">New Relic</a> has been <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/12/12/new-relic-ipo/">publicly traded since December 12</a>, with shares of $NEWR going for $30.16 in its debut. <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/12/11/new-relic-ipo-pricing/">The company raised $115 million</a> in its initial public offering &#8212; and that&#8217;s after picking up <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/04/28/new-relic-brings-in-more-cash-ahead-of-ipo/">$100 million in private funding in April</a>. Its market capitalization is <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=newr&#38;type=2button&#38;fr=uh3_finance_web&#38;uhb=uhb2">about $500 million as of mid-December</a>, but Marketwatch put the <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-not-the-only-pre-ipo-tech-company-with-a-hefty-value-2014-12-16?siteid=yhoof2">company&#8217;s valuation at $1.5 billion</a> as of December 16. VCExperts&#8217; director of business intelligence Justin Byers notes, &#8220;at the time of our calculation, they had approximately 48 million shares outstanding @ $28.93,&#8221; which would have given the company a valuation of about $1.39 billion. Now it is showing about 16 to 17 million shares outstanding.</p> <h2>Njoy</h2> <p><a href="https://www.njoy.com/">Njoy</a>, one of the leading makers of e-cigarettes, picked up a $70 million investment in February, led by Brookside Capital and Morgan Stanley Investment Management. The round valued the company at a little more than $1 billion, <a href="http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/njoy-e-cigarette-maker-receives-funding-valuing-it-at-1-billion/?_r=0">according to the New York Times</a>. Not bad for a company hawking a product that&#8217;s so far completely unregulated (but <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/e-cigarette-tech-takes-off-as-regulation-looms/2014/12/08/ca22f76a-7eb0-11e4-b936-f3afab0155a7_story.html">not for long</a>), and for whom the worldwide market is an <a href="http://wallstreetpr.com/is-the-electronic-industry-one-really-worth-monitoring-34429">estimated $2.5 billion</a>.</p> <h2>Slack</h2> <p>Corporate messaging tool <a href="https://slack.com/">Slack</a> announced in October that it had closed a $120 million round led by Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins. The round valued the company at $1.12 billion, post funding — a massive valuation for an eight-month-old company. Slack was quick to point this out in its press release: “Having just launched in February, this milestone marks Slack as the<a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/10/31/after-leaking-company-data-slack-raises-120m-from-google-kleiner-perkins-at-1-12b-valuation/"> fastest growing SaaS company ever</a>.”</p> <h2>Sunrun</h2> <p><a href="http://www.sunrun.com/">Sunrun</a> wants to put solar panels on every home in America. It took on <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/heatherclancy/2014/05/23/how-sunrun-plans-to-spend-its-new-150-million-funding-round/">$150 million in equity funding in May</a>, Forbes reported, giving it the ability to deploy more panels at lower costs.</p> <h2>WeWork</h2> <p><a href="https://www.wework.com/">WeWork</a>, an office-rental company with roots in the tech industry, raised an impressive $355 million funding round in December. Even more impressive, the latest round values the company at almost $5 billion, according to sources cited by the <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/wework-now-a-5-billion-real-estate-sartup-1418690163">Wall Street Journal</a>, which first reported the funding. The WSJ also says that WeWork plans an initial public offering within the next two to three years. We expect the company&#8217;s <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2014/12/15/wework-raises-355m-at-nearly-5b-valuation-plans-ipo/">next summer camp outing in the Adirondacks will be truly epic.</a></p> <img width='1' height='1' src='http://venturebeat.feedsportal.com/c/34021/f/617407/s/41cec8de/sc/2/mf.gif' border='0'/><br clear='all'/><br/><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/216443262335/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/41cec8de/sc/2/rc/1/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/216443262335/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/41cec8de/sc/2/rc/1/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/216443262335/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/41cec8de/sc/2/rc/2/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/216443262335/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/41cec8de/sc/2/rc/2/rc.img" border="0"/></a><br/><a href="http://da.feedsportal.com/r/216443262335/u/49/f/617407/c/34021/s/41cec8de/sc/2/rc/3/rc.htm" rel="nofollow"><img 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["xml_lang"]=> string(0) "" ["xmlns"]=> array(11) { ["content"]=> string(40) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/" ["rdf"]=> string(43) "http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#" ["wfw"]=> string(36) "http://wellformedweb.org/CommentAPI/" ["atom"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" ["taxo"]=> string(41) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/taxonomy/" ["sy"]=> string(44) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" ["dc"]=> string(32) "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(11477) "<img width="578" height="448" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/01-The-Living-Hy-Fi-Exterior-BarkowPhoto-578x448.jpg" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="Hy-Fi, a 40-foot-tall building made from organically-grown bricks, at New York&#039;s MoMA PS1." /><hr/><p>We’ve seen the future of architecture and design, and it’s at the intersection of biology, computing, and engineering.</p> <p>While many architects these days put up buildings loaded with energy-saving features and attractive, sustainable design, one company is taking its approach to being green to another level: growing fully biodegradable building materials.</p> <p>Known as <a href="http://www.thelivingnewyork.com/">The Living</a>, the small, New York-based architecture firm has pioneered mixing biological technologies with hard-core computing and engineering. This summer, it gained notoriety in design circles with <a href="http://thelivingnewyork.com/hy-fi.htm">Hy-Fi</a>, a 40-foot-tall temporary outdoor building, made from 10,000 organic bricks, that was showcased at Manhattan’s prestigious MoMA PS1 contemporary art museum.</p> <p>The Living is aiming to alter the notion of what an architecture firm is, and how its projects interact with the environments in which it builds. One of its driving goals is upending one of the construction industry’s biggest black marks &#8212; being the source of 40 percent of the waste in landfills.</p> <p>“We’re very interested in exploring the buildings and cities of the future,” David Benjamin, the founder of The Living, told VentureBeat. “We really liked and played up the idea that we could take waste material, low-value raw materials, and use no energy to convert them to lightweight bricks and make a building out of them, compost them, biodegrade them, and return them to the ecosystem.”</p> <div id="attachment_1629388" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="max-width:800px;"><a href="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/03-The-Living-Hy-Fi-Brick.jpg"><img class="size-large wp-image-1629388" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/03-The-Living-Hy-Fi-Brick-800x600.jpg" alt="The organically-grown bricks used by The Living to make Hy-Fi." width="800" height="600" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: The organically-grown bricks used by The Living to make Hy-Fi.</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: The Living</em></div></div> <p>That explains why each of the bricks used in Hy-Fi were made from corn stalks and living root structures and grown in a lab. Over nearly two months, the company went through eight rounds of testing on the bricks, each time evaluating a new formula and set of parameters against different environmental and structural conditions.</p> <p>The Living has an evolved sense of prototyping. Instead of exploring ideas conceptually, it goes all the way and builds full-scale functional prototypes, Benjamin explained. Hy-Fi was just such a project &#8212; showing that it was possible to construct a building that was made from biodegradable materials, yet which was strong enough to withstand even hurricane-strength winds without the need for any additional load-bearing materials. In a city like New York, which was slammed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and which suffered billions of dollars in losses, this could be a valuable lesson for the future.</p> <p>The project was a critical success, and partly thanks to the type of innovative thinking that led to Hy-Fi, The Living is now in a position to take architecture where it has never gone before.</p> <h2>Autodesk</h2> <p>Normally, architects are consumers of design and modeling software from companies like Autodesk, the leader in the space, yet keep a formal distance between them. But The Living decided to break down that wall, and earlier this year was acquired by Autodesk, which makes tools like AutoCAD, Maya, and others that are used every day in the field. Among architects used to the traditional ways of doing things, this was a big deal.</p> <p>“People are asking what’s going on here,” said architect Scott Marble, who noted it’s very rare for an architecture firm to be bought by a giant software company. Yet, the acquisition “makes a lot of sense, because Autodesk has quite a big influence on the architecture, engineering, and construction [industry].”</p> <p>Autodesk and The Living already had a long history of collaborating. And now, the architecture firm will become part of <a href="http://www.autodeskresearch.com/">Autodesk Research</a>, the division at the software company that is focused on &#8220;the world&#8217;s most complex design problems, from pressing ecological challenges to the development of scalable smart infrastructure.&#8221;</p> <div id="attachment_1629383" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="max-width:800px;"><a href="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/The-Living-chart.jpg"><img class="size-large wp-image-1629383" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/The-Living-chart-800x565.jpg" alt="At Autodesk Research, The Living will follow this development flow chart." width="800" height="565" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: At Autodesk Research, The Living will follow this development flow chart.</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: Autodesk</em></div></div> <p>&#160;</p> <p>For years, Marble, a founding partner at Brooklyn-based architecture and design firm <a href="http://marblefairbanks.com/">Marble Fairbanks</a>, has known and worked with Benjamin. Both are on the faculty of Columbia University&#8217;s Graduate School of Architecture, and have collaborated on research projects around the intersection of biology and computer engineering.</p> <p>Among architects, Marble said, there’s always been skepticism about being too close to the software side of things. “We talk about should architects write their own software, or should it be third-party,” he said. “With the work [Benjamin is] doing, he’s taking this question on very directly.”</p> <p>Autodesk itself saw that a future-focused company like The Living could help it <a href="http://inthefold.autodesk.com/in_the_fold/2014/06/the-intersection-of-design-culture-and-technology-exploring-new-frontiers-in-computing-and-the-built-environment.html">turbo-charge</a> its computer-aided design work. “The Living has created a wide range of futuristic designs involving innovative approaches such as using bacteria to manufacture building materials,” Autodesk wrote in a blog post about integrating The Living, “writing algorithms to enhance creativity and explore designs beyond typical rules of thumb, and developing new urban spaces that promote collectivity and culture.”</p> <div id="attachment_1629378" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="max-width:800px;"><a href="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Floating-pier.jpg"><img class="size-large wp-image-1629378" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Floating-pier-800x533.jpg" alt="One of The Living's new projects is a floating pier that utilizes mussels to evaluate water quality." width="800" height="533" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: One of The Living&#8217;s new projects is a floating pier that utilizes mussels to evaluate water quality.</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: The Living</em></div></div> <p>And it could well be that the kinds of projects Benjamin’s teams work on take directions no one has ever done before. Already, it is incorporating live mussels in a floating pier to track water quality, and designed a building with sensor-laden walls and roof panels at Princeton University that, when finished, will only be about two-thirds enclosed.</p> <p>That project, known as the Lab for Embodied Construction, involves testing out the design and fabrication of new wall and solar panels, facade elements, and roofing. Part of the building is an open frame to host experiments on the walls, the roof, and other building elements.</p> <p>“In a way, the building will be completed by the research happening inside the building,” Benjamin said.</p> <h2>Hurricane Sandy</h2> <p>The Living itself has benefitted from a new attitude in cities like New York that suffered through the aftermath of disasters like Hurricane Sandy, which caused significant damage and exposed the weakness of some older designs.</p> <p>“There’s a recognition that it would be helpful and have a bottom-line impact,” Benjamin said, “to design with resiliency, to design systems that can adapt to radically changing conditions. To design cities and shorelines that can deal with unpredictable forces.”</p> <p>More Sandy-like disasters are inevitable, and Benjamin said he’s seeing more and more public officials &#8212; and clients &#8212; willing to take a chance on new ideas. Like using organic building materials and relying on the underlying computer modeling and engineering that makes them strong enough to hold up a 40-foot-tall structure.</p> <p>To Marble, it all makes sense, especially with an innovative risk-taker like Benjamin “getting under the hood” inside Autodesk.</p> <p>And Marble thinks that what The Living is trying out now could well be commonplace &#8212; in 10 to 15 years.</p> <p>“They take a really radical approach to architecture,” he said. “They try to understand materials, processes, and even the social dynamics of architecture, as a relational set of factors. 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Tracking the power consumption of individual appliances &#8212; affordably &#8212; is a much taller order.</p> <p>Today <a href="http://www.smappee.com" target="_blank">Belgium-based Smappee</a> is launching its new home energy management system in the U.S. to itemize the power draw of every electrical device in your home, without using separate sensors for each.</p> <p>&#8220;We listen to the different appliances that turn on and off in your home,&#8221; CEO and founder Stefan Grosjean told VentureBeat. &#8220;It&#8217;s like listening for a flute in an orchestra.&#8221;</p> <p>Smappee uses a single tap on the main power line into the home to identify energy signatures. Appliances and electronics are identified as &#8220;appliance #1&#8243; and so on. The home owner can then identify the device as it turns on or off, and label it.</p> <p>The alternative &#8212; sensors on each appliance or electrical device &#8212; would be too expensive for home owners, Grosjean said. He notes that his system finds 80 percent of the electrical devices in a home, which meant 55 identified devices in his own home.</p> <p>&#8220;It&#8217;s not perfect,&#8221; he said, &#8220;but imagine if you had to install 55 meters [from a company like Belkin] in your home, at $50 each.&#8221; Smappee says its system can help reduce the energy bill for a four person home by an average of 12 percent. &#8220;And we do it with a single sensor.&#8221;</p> <p><iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/77602374" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" title="Discover smappee, your energy buddy" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>The system costs a one-time $249. This includes the monitor, the app for iOS or Android phones, and one &#8220;comfort plug.&#8221; There are no ongoing service charges, but a licensed electrician would best install the tap. The electrical utility company is not involved.</p> <p>A comfort plug is a small plate that plugs into a wall outlet. An electrical device, such as a home entertainment system, then plugs into the comfort plug&#8217;s front outlets.</p> <p>Through the comfort plug, Smappee can automatically shut down the entertainment system when you&#8217;re sleeping, so that you save on what would otherwise be a trickle of electrical draw even if the system is turned off. Additional comfort plugs for other electrical devices are $40 each. Grosjean, who previously founded energy management firm Energy ICT, said most customers are buying three additional comfort plugs.</p> <p>The system can also use comfort plugs to set up interactions, such as starting the coffee maker 10 minutes before an alarm rings.</p> <p>By electrical signatures alone, the system can tell if, for instance, the garage door has been opened, because it can detect the motor. 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"http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(5882) "<img width="578" height="342" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/fcv-r_05-578x342.jpg" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="Toyota&#039;s concept hydrogen fuel cell car, the FCV-R." /><hr/><p>Financial and other incentives are widely viewed as a good way to kickstart the adoption of new green vehicles, largely to compensate for their higher prices against conventional gasoline cars.</p> <p>But just as Toyota is building up to next fall&#8217;s launch of its 2016 Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in the U.S. market, a key tax incentive will expire at the end of this month&#8211;unless it&#8217;s renewed by Congress.</p> <p>The purchase of a plug-in electric car provides a Federal income-tax 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Details can be found on the <a title="IRS - Qualified Fuel Cell Vehicles" href="http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Corporations/Qualified-Fuel-Cell-Vehicles" target="_blank">Qualified Fuel Cell Vehicles page</a> of the IRS website.</p> <p>That Federal income-tax credit expires on December 31, 2014&#8211;four weeks from today&#8211;and its renewal appears to be a very open question at this point.</p> <p>With only a few days left in the current lame-duck Congressional session, and major issues (like funding the government and for how long) as yet unresolved, the fundamental challenge is getting a so-called &#8220;extender package&#8221; passed.</p> <div class="wp-caption alignleft" style="max-width:320px;"><img title="2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell at hydrogen fueling station, Fountain Valley, CA" src="http://images.thecarconnection.com/sml/2014-hyundai-tucson-fuel-cell-at-hyundai-headquarters-fountain-valley-ca_100448494_s.jpg" alt="2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell at hydrogen fueling station, Fountain Valley, CA" width="320" height="240" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell at hydrogen fueling station, Fountain Valley, CA</p></div> <p>To do that, the Senate’s desire for a two-year package produced by its Finance Committee must be reconciled with the House’s desire to make selected tax and legislative changes permanent.</p> <p>Meanwhile, President Barack Obama&#8217;s immigration initiative is expected to eat up a lot of time.</p> <p>The Senate Finance Committee&#8217;s draft legislative bill for an extender package included a provision that extends the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle income-tax credit.</p> <p>That committee is expected to be chaired by Senator Orrin Hatch [R-UT] in the next Congress; its outgoing chair is Senator Ron Wyden [D-OR].</p> <p>Whether an extender package can be passed by the outgoing Congress, or early in the next session by the new Congress, remains very much an open question, according to D.C. insiders we spoke to.</p> <p>&#8220;If they don&#8217;t [pass such a package],&#8221; said one source, &#8220;who knows what will happen in 2015?&#8221;</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Federal income-tax credits for purchase of plug-in electric cars do not have an expiration date. 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"http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/" ["rdf"]=> string(43) "http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#" ["wfw"]=> string(36) "http://wellformedweb.org/CommentAPI/" ["atom"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" ["taxo"]=> string(41) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/taxonomy/" ["sy"]=> string(44) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" ["dc"]=> string(32) "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" ["itunes"]=> string(42) "http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" ["slash"]=> string(38) "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" ["feedburner"]=> string(42) "http://rssnamespace.org/feedburner/ext/1.0" ["atom10"]=> string(27) "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" } } } } ["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/"]=> array(1) { ["encoded"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(6) { ["data"]=> string(6548) "<img width="578" height="510" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/enevo-big-578x510.jpg" class="attachment-single-feed wp-post-image" alt="Enevo&#039;s sensors can last 10 years on one battery." /><hr/><p><em>Disclosure: The organizers of Slush 2014 paid my way to Helsinki. Our coverage remains objective.</em></p> <p>HELSINKI &#8212; Enevo is talking trash, and it appears to be getting results. The Espoo, Finland-based startup has created a system whereby it puts wireless sensors in trash bins and figures out exactly when it&#8217;s time to send a truck out to pick up the waste.</p> <div id="attachment_1609009" class="wp-caption alignright" style="max-width:300px;"><a href="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/enevo.jpg"><img class="wp-image-1609009 size-medium" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/enevo-300x185.jpg" alt="Fredrik Kekalainen, CEO of Enevo" width="300" height="185" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: Fredrik Kekalainen, CEO of Enevo</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: Dean Takahashi</em></div></div> <p>The resulting efficiency could lead to huge savings in transportation costs for towns and cities, said Fredrik Kekalainen, chief executive of Enevo, at a press briefing. Enevo was one of scores of startups making presentations at Slush 2014, a startup event that is expected to draw 13,000 attendees to Helsinki.</p> <p>&#8220;We think we can reduce costs to less than a third,&#8221; Kekalainen said.</p> <p>On a global basis, Kekalainen said that the trash industry is a $1 trillion business that grows 5 percent a year. About 50 percent of the spending happens in logistics, he said.</p> <p>This 40-person startup has created a full system to give cities the ability to measure how much garbage is in each bin and then calculate the optimal schedule for sending trucks out. Rather than pick up the trash every week at a given time, the cities can manage the fleets more efficiently.</p> <div id="attachment_1609010" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="max-width:800px;"><a href="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/enevo-3.jpg"><img class="size-large wp-image-1609010" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/enevo-3-800x437.jpg" alt="Enevo system" width="800" height="437" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: Enevo system</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: Enevo</em></div></div> <p>&#8220;We can optimize the collection schedules and routes for waste collection fleets,&#8221; Kekalainen said. &#8220;The problem is that trucks are going to places where the bins are half empty.&#8221;</p> <p>Enevo has created &#8220;Internet of things&#8221; sensors that use ultrasonic tech to determine the fill level of the can. They have wireless 3G connectivity, and can transmit the data regularly.</p> <p>Enevo has made them rugged enough to attach to garbage cans. The batteries on the sensors last up to 10 years, he said.</p> <p>By dispatching trucks more efficiently, Enevo can cut costs for a typical trash operation from €404 ($507) per truck to €120 ($151). The city of Nottingham, England, is rolling out the service. With a population of 727,977, the city had 660 daily collections. But using the Enevo sensors, it could cut that number down to 68 a day, or 89 percent less. The city is in the process of rolling out 2,500 smart containers.</p> <p>Amsterdam has also just signed a deal with Enevo to deal with its 7,000 daily collections.</p> <p>Enevo charges a flat monthly fee for its service. It has projects running for evaluations in 25 countries.</p> <p>The company has raised €9 million ($11.3 million) to date, including money from Tekes, the Finnish government&#8217;s corporate investment arm.</p> <p>By 2025, the World Bank estimates the world will need enough waste trucks that, if lined up end to end, they would stretch from the Earth to the International Space Station seven times over.</p> <div id="attachment_1609011" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="max-width:800px;"><a href="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/enevo-2.jpg"><img class="size-large wp-image-1609011" src="http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/enevo-2-800x449.jpg" alt="Enevo" width="800" height="449" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Above: Enevo</p><div class="vb_image_source"><em>Image Credit: Enevo</em></div></div> <div class="post-boilerplate boilerplate-after"><hr /> Marketing technologist? 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