Saturday, January 31, 2009

Low–cost LEDs May Slash Household Electric Bills Within Five Years

ScienceDaily (Jan. 30, 2009) — A new way of making LEDs could see household lighting bills reduced by up to 75% within five years. Gallium Nitride (GaN), a man-made semiconductor used to make LEDs (light emitting diodes), emits brilliant light but uses very little electricity. Until now high production costs have made GaN lighting too expensive for wide spread use in homes and offices.

However the Cambridge University based Centre for Gallium Nitride has developed a new way of making GaN which could produce LEDs for a tenth of current prices.

GaN, grown in labs on expensive sapphire wafers since the 1990s, can now be grown on silicon wafers. This lower cost method could mean cheap mass produced LEDs become widely available for lighting homes and offices in the next five years. More >>>

Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama Plans to Overhaul Environmental Policies

January 26, 2009; President Obama today declared a national goal of ending dependence on foreign oil and promised new U.S. leadership in the fight against global warming as he announced a series of steps aimed at making American cars more fuel efficient and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In remarks at the White House at the start of his second week in office, Obama called on Congress to pass a massive stimulus package that he said would help "create a new American energy economy." And he directed federal agencies to reexamine two policies that could force automakers to produce more fuel-efficient cars with reduced tailpipe emissions.

The moves are aimed at reversing decisions by Bush administration, which he said had stood in the way of bold action by California and other states to limit greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.

"The days of Washington dragging its heels are over," Obama said. More >>>

Thursday, January 22, 2009

CIBC ramps up alternative energy coverage

January 21, 2009: The CIBC World Markets research department was paying attention to President Barack Obama's focus on solar and win power.

As the new U.S. president devoted a chunk of his inauguration speech to weaning America off fossil fuels, the investment bank announced it was shifting top-ranked forest products analyst, Don Roberts, away from day-to-day involvement in the tree stocks, and asking him to figure out how the firm should cover the alternative energy space.

A change in mind set is required when a large cap-focused investment bank ventures into small-cap alternative energy stocks, and Mr. Roberts gets the honour of writing the business plan that will underpin this shift. The project kicks off next week, and is expected to take until November. More >>>

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Peak Oil Crisis: Cars - Redux

08 January 2009: I hate to keep coming back to cars, but in the last hundred years they have come to be one of the most significant facets of civilization - yet their future is in doubt.

Cars have been much in the news lately. New ones have not been selling too well in recent months and their manufacturers, at least in the U.S., are bankrupt.

Unless you are employed in the automobile industry or indirectly make a living from the manufacture or sale of motor vehicles, the demise of Detroit-as-we-know-it will probably not make too much difference to our mobility.

Shortly, the problem, of course, will not be the cars, but the gasoline and diesel to power them. At the minute, gasoline prices are hovering around an all-time inflation adjusted low; however, this situation is reversing again. OPEC is in the midst of cutting its production by 4.2 million barrels a day (b/d) and U.S. gasoline consumption seems to be inching up again despite increasingly severe economic problems. Within a year or two we could be back over $100 a barrel again. More >>>