Social Good Startup: Em{Power} Energy Group

Second in the series of Startups for Good Challenge

Em{Power} Energy Group, was one of the eight finalists to Startups for Good Challenge, hosted by the good guys of Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation.

In this interview I talked with Ryan Integlia and Nasir Uddin, who are Executive Director and Vice President of the organization, respectively. We talked about the business they are in and challenges facing such organization.

Em[Power] Energy is in the business of helping landfill communities, people who are living close or near landfills – around the world.

Their mission is to “revitalize waste scavenging communities throughout the world using a modular and scalable cooperative development based on renewable resources.” In layman’s term, they will help these communities to improve their living conditions by converting organic waste and waste water into electricity, compost and have them take charge of the business – once all said and done.

Unless you come from developing world, you probably not accustomed to see people living near, at or very close to the big dumpster. We don’t see them around here anymore. But, in countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mexico, Indonesia, India – they are coexist – with today’s modern world.

Continue reading “Social Good Startup: Em{Power} Energy Group”

Advertisements

DuPont Packaging Awards Show Sustainability Drives Innovation

DuPont made the announcement of the winners for their 23rd packaging awards yesterday. DuPont packaging awards dates back to 1986. “The awards is the industry’s longest running, global, independently judged celebration of innovation and collaboration throughout the value chain.”

And welcome to social media! Because I learned about it via @DuPont_ability (their witter account for their sustainability news) and the winners was announced through a global webcast.

DuPont made the announcement of the winners for their 23rd packaging awards yesterday. DuPont packaging awards dates back to 1986. “The awards is the industry’s longest running, global, independently judged celebration of innovation and collaboration throughout the value chain.”

And welcome to social media! Because I learned about it via @DuPont_ability (their witter account for their sustainability news) and the winners was announced through a global webcast.

Continue reading “DuPont Packaging Awards Show Sustainability Drives Innovation”

Bloom vs. Solar: Which One is Best? 

And here are some of the key things to keep an eye on.

Versatility and Up-Front Cost: A 100-kilowatt Bloom server array costs around $700,000 to $800,000, or $7,500 a kilowatt, after incentives that cover around 50 percent of the costs. The company hopes to have home versions that generate a few kilowatts and cost about $3,000 in ten years, but they don’t exist now.

Bloom, however, doesn’t scale down yet. It sells its 25 kilowatt boxes four units at a time. Home and small businesses need not apply just yet. Solar systems span the kilowatt and megawatt range. Ergo, when it comes to financing and flexibility, solar wins for now.

Can fuel cells scale down? Yes. Panasonic started selling home fuel cells in Japan last year that generate around 1 kilowatt, not enough to power a complete household, for $30,000 before incentives, or $15,000 if you factored in U.S./California incentives. ClearEdge Power has a 5 kilowatt fuel cell that costs $56,000 and drops to the $30,000 to $25,000 range after incentives. (Side note: Bloom’s fuel cell produces mostly electricity and a little heat, while heat consists of half or more of the power from the Panasonic and ClearEdge fuel cells. Electricity is more valuable than heat, so for Bloom to be equivalent in price or less than these guys would be a victory for Bloom.) We’re guessing Bloom is aiming for around $1,000 a kilowatt, which won’t be easy. Ceres Power in England will come out with a fuel cell made in part with diesel components next year.

Energy costs: CEO and Founder K.R. Sridhar said the Bloom server will produce power for 9 to 10 cents per kilowatt hour after incentives in California. This price includes service, maintenance, gas and all of the other costs associated with running it. Commercial solar installations in California, when incentives and external costs are added, generate power for around 10 cents a kilowatt hour, according to Shayle Kann at GTM Research. Residential solar generates power for around 19 cents a kilowatt hour and utility-scale solar costs around 11 cents a kilowatt hour. Cutting-edge wind turbines can generate power for costs five cents a kilowatt hour after incentives, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Kann says that on average, wind costs a little less than solar.

Wind, thus, still wins this contest, and solar and Bloom are about tied. Bloom server buyers will have to contend with fluctuating gas prices: the box does not work if you don’t put gas into it. If methane and biogas rise in price, so will the cost of running the box. Buyers, however, can likely insulate themselves with long-term gas contracts.

Cost reductions: This is a big question mark. Solar and wind are somewhat mature technologies. Nonetheless, incremental advancements — better solar racking, cheaper thin films, more efficient turbines — continue to bring down the cost of both solar and wind. Bloom is just starting out. Three years ago, the same box that now produces 25 kilowatts of power only produced 5 kilowatts. Scott Sandell, a Bloom board member and a partner at NEA, said the costs for Bloom have gone down 25x in just a few years.

With tax credits, it’s still cheaper to go solar or wind..

Waste Could Meet 7 Percent of Spain’s Electricity Demand, Study Says

The burning of solid urban waste, sludge from water treatment plants, and livestock slurry could generate more than 7 percent of Spain’s electricity needs, according to a new report. Researchers at the University of Zaragoza say incineration of these materials has the potential to produce up to 20.95 terawatt hours annually

Intel: “Invest in America” & Greentech

Intel and a who’s-who list of VC heavyweights are putting together a little stimulus package of their own — and green technology is high on their wish list. Intel CEO Paul Otellini announced Tuesday that Intel Capital has put together a new $200 million investment fund that is aimed at “key innovation and growth segments such as clean technology, information technology and biotechnology,” and has roped in 24 VC firms — including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Menlo Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Khosla Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners —to invest a total of $3.5 billion over the next two years.

Microgrids: Utility Vs. Private Ownership

Microgrids — office parks, college campuses or communities that can generate their own power and disconnect and reconnect from the grid at large at a moment’s notice — could be integral building blocks of the smart grid. That’s why Dave Pacyna, senior vice president of Siemens Energy’s North American transmission and distribution division, sees microgrids as a natural step in utilities’ smart grid plans.

Most microgrids of the future won’t be making and storing enough power to be grid-independent all of the time. Instead, microgrids will maintain a constant and complex relationship with the utility — buying power at some times, selling it back at others, either disconnecting from the grid to avoid a power outage or reconnecting to help the grid balance its way through instabilities, depending on the circumstances. So a central question for the future of microgrids is what will the relationship be with utilities — will it be utilities, or their customers, that pay for them and control them?

Utility cos. better think ahead now for future biz model, if they don’t want to left out..

Off the Grid Power

Big cos. have been testing this device, the Bloom Box that can generate power without being connected to the grid. Will we have one in every home? h/t to Greentech Media.

Via 60 Minutes.

 

http://cnettv.cnet.com/av/video/cbsnews/atlantis2/player-dest.swf
Watch CBS News Videos Online