After a day of slower-than-expected preparations in the Chukchi Sea, Shell Alaska officially began drilling into the seafloor above its Burger prospect at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, the company said.
For those who’ve grown up constantly plugged into the power grid, it’s almost impossible to think of life without an endless supply of outlets, power cords, and technology. But for an estimated 1.5 billion people around the world, power—from cutting and burning firewood to lighting kerosene lamps, paraffin, and candles—doesn't come easy.
According to the United Nations Foundation, almost 3 billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating, about 1.5 billion have no access to electricity, and 1 billion more have access only to unreliable electricity networks. Smoke from polluting and inefficient cooking, lighting, and heating devices kills nearly two million people a year and causes a range of chronic illnesses and other health impacts.
In an effort to tackle health and development-related obstacles in developing countries, a company based in Germany and Ethiopia is bringing clean energy to “off-grid areas” around the world. Housed in a metal hut topped with a solar panel-filled roof, the designers have named their creation a "SolarKiosk," a small-scale power source for communities without electricity.
Each SolarKiosk is expected to provide enough power for villagers to charge their mobile phones and car batteries, run a computer, or power up a solar fridge. Goods sold from the Kiosk include solar lanterns, mobile phones, and cards to top-up cellular devices. Considering that the Kiosk's fridge may be the community's only one, it could be used to house everything from medication to chilled drinks.
The kiosk could also provide television, music, and internet depending on the locale. The creators project that a larger-size SolarKiosk could even produce enough energy to run a telecom tower reliably, while also providing security and maintenance. It will even be possible to connect multiple kiosks to create a local grid.
The world's first SolarKiosk set up shop on July 15 near Lake Langana in Ethiopia. Designed by Graft Architects, the project not only provides clean energy solutions to "off-grid" countries, but once installed, becomes a power-generating shop and business hub, providing jobs to community members and education on how solar products work. It also becomes a glowing, solar-powered light source at night.
Each kiosk comes in a lightweight, DIY kit, making it is easy to transport and build a kiosk in off-road, rural areas—the package could even be carried to its target location on the back of a donkey. With the exception of pre-manufactured electrical components, the kiosk's parts can be constructed from a range of local materials including bamboo, wood, adobe, stone, metal, or even recycled goods. Post-assembly, the entire structure is firmly anchored in the ground.
SolarKiosk is now looking for business partners and NGOs to help their expansion to areas around the globe in need of clean, sustainable energy. Anyone interested in joining the cause should send an email to welcome [at] solarkiosk [dot] eu.
Those who turn up their noses at garbage heaps in their neighbourhood should meet Veena Rajappa, 38. General manager of MindTree, Veena has not only thrown open a part of her house for waste segregation but also devotes prime time during weekends for waste management in her neighbourhood of Rajarajeshwari Nagar.
Veena’s efforts have got residents of 500 houses in her neighbourhood to segregate waste at source every day. The result is huge: the daily waste burden is reduced by two tonnes. Mavallipura, where the dumping of garbage has sparked off civic outrage, can breathe that much more easy.
“It is not only my effort. My neighbours have contributed too. I’ve visited all 500 houses in my locality and explained to residents the necessity of garbage management. Unless we, the educated citizens, start segregating waste at source, and give paper and plastic waste for recycling, issues like the Mavallipura dumpyard will remain,” says a modest Veena.
Veena’s hectic work schedule has not dimmed her enthusiasm for the weekend grind. She began collecting dry waste, largely recyclable plastic and paper, from 250 households in her locality on February 12, 2012. Faced with a lack of spaceto store dry waste, she turned a room in her backyard into a storehouse. Once a week, the collected recyclable waste is cleared by ITC Limited for further recycling. The company has distributed bags to every household to store dry waste, and pays for the waste it purchases. About Rs 2,500 is paid to the pourakarmika every month.
The Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, is proud to present the 2012 edition of India's largest startup search program: The Power of Ideas. After the runaway success of the 2010 edition of the programme, CIIE is once again partnering with The Economic Times and the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology to continue our efforts of strengthening the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The aim of the programme is to identify the most innovative ideas and early stage startups from India, and to support them through mentoring, incubation support, cash awards and seed funding. This year the corpus of the program has been increased to a total of INR 6.2 crore with 4 crore earmarked for seed funding and INR 2.2 crore to be disbursed as cash awards. The program is sector-agnostic and hence entrepreneurs from all sectors (including non-technology based ones) can benefit from it.
For more information, visit ,and to participate go to .
The deadline for submission of the Business Summary Format is June 25, 6 PM.
For specific queries and feedback about the programme, get in touch with us at (The Economic Times) or firstname.lastname@example.org(CIIE).
Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship
fostering innovation driven entrepreneurship
Nissan recently sent out a release to the automotive press touting the fact that the company had sold 1,000 Nissan Leafs in Norway in just six months. The company went on to claim that the Leaf became the second-best selling Nissan in Norway and the ninth-best selling passenger car overall in February, claiming almost 2 percent of the total car market in February.
Big deal. Auto journalists are inundated with non-news stories like this everyday. Scanning the headline, ignoring the contents and pressing delete becomes all too routine.
But dig a bit deeper into the Nissan-Norway connection and the Leaf’s success becomes a bit more intriguing: The Leaf is selling so well because the country of Norway actually seems committed to a serious alternative fuel transportation strategy and has taken concrete steps to make electric vehiclesnot only viable, but an attractive, common sense choice for consumers.
How did they do it? Infrastructure and incentives.
Norway has the highest level of support in Europe for electric vehicle purchases. There’s zero value-added tax (VAT) and no new car tax. EV drivers also get free parking, exemption from some tolls and the use of bus lanes in Oslo. The existing on-street charging infrastructure in Oslo currently has approximately 3,500 public charging points in Oslo, many of them free to use.
Olivier Paturet, general manager of Zero Emission Strategy at Nissan Europe noted, “We are very happy to see that the ambition of the Norwegian government has matched our own with strong support for the widespread introduction of electric vehicles. The Norwegian package of incentives is unsurpassed and the recharging infrastructure is established and accessible. We can see that Norway is leading the way with its proactive approach to encouraging its citizens to drive electric vehicles. We hope it will continue with the further development and upgrading of the charging infrastructure.”
It was quite an unexpected sight. I never really thought that in a place as insignificant as a cafeteria, that too in one of the smallest states of the country, one would find such classified trash-cans. I was more than impressed.
It is a much demanded need for significant places like airports, shopping malls and market areas to have these classified dust-bins so that the garbage is sorted out in the first level only. It would become a convenient, efficient and faster process to then recycle and re-use waste products.
Japan shut down its last working nuclear power station last weekend, culminating — at least for now — a national shift away from nuclear energy in the aftermath of last year’s Fukushima disaster.
The shutdown of the No. 3 Tomari reactor in Hokkaido will leave the country without nuclear power for the first time since 1970. Given public concerns about nuclear safety, it may become difficult to switch the plants back on if the country makes it through the summer months without power shortages or blackouts.
“Can it be the end of nuclear power [in Japan]? It could be,” Andrew DeWitt, a professor of energy and policy at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, told Reuters. Before the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors provided nearly 30 percent of the nation’s electricity.
While Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has suggested the country cannot afford to go without nuclear power for the long term, the government has no timetable to switch the plants back on and the country has yet to develop a long-term, nuclear-free energy policy.
There has been an ever before campaign around the world on promoting bicycle as a mode of transport for short distance travelling. Studying in Denmark, where bicycling is promoted big time, I got inquisitive on what is happening in India. I found a few interesting organization,
Cycle chalo a for profit entrepreneurial organization that designs, builds and operates a bicycle program in growing cities in India by working with government, corporations, civil societies and cyclist. It must be definitely a great challenge to change the whole transportation system of India. But Cycle chalo is certainly a first step. It’s impressive to see the founder, Raj Janagam, 23year old young entrepreneur present his project among a diverse international entrepreneurial audience about his project.
Recently Cycle chalo has received a funding of 7Crore rupees to take their project a step further than their home market, Mumbai.
RideACycle-Foundation (RAC-F), a non-profit organization based in Bangalore is promoting the use of bicycles through awareness programs and workshops.
Namma Cycle is another bicycle sharing program initiative, initiatied by Indian institute of Science, Bangalore.
Around the world there are many such initiatives to promote bicycling. In Denmark, there are special program to promote students to use bicycle by lending them bicycle while they are students.
Although there’s a long road to go towards a more bicycle reliant transportation the changes are starting to be more visible than ever before. So how interested are you into bicycle? How do you think we can make this change bigger?
Visit us more often to read more on sustainable transportation updates in India ;)
For the first time in half a century, Japan is without nuclear power
FOR decades few countries were more evangelical about the charms of nuclear power than Japan, and until the earthquake and tsunami in March last year nuclear plants generated almost 30% of its electricity. Yet by May 5th at the latest, the last of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors will be switched off. Besides those permanently disabled in the Fukushima disaster, the rest have been taken offline for “routine maintenance” and kept that way because there is not enough public confidence in their safety to restart them. In all, that will mean about 50 gigawatts of nuclear capacity has been snuffed out, for the time being. To get a sense of the scale of this, imagine Tokyo (whose peak requirement is around 50GW) without power: no air conditioning, no bullet trains, no neon lights.
Of course, Japan is not grinding to a halt without nuclear energy. Much of the capacity that has been lost or suspended has been replaced by carbon-heavy fossil fuels generating thermal power (and a hefty import bill). But the moment is historic. After Japan, in the mid-1950s, overcame its horror of atomic power from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the country became an ardent fan. Until last year, it was planning to generate half its electricity from nuclear sources by 2030. The switch-off marks the death of that passion.
Opinion polls suggest that the public’s unwillingness to restart the reactors represents a silent rebuke—this is a country not given to mass demonstrations—to the way the authorities have handled the crisis. Until recently, analysts expected the Japanese to lack the appetite for a second year in a row with the threat of blackouts. Even now, many expect opposition to the reactors to wilt in the heat of summer.
So powerful is the symbolism of having no nuclear plants in operation that Yoshihiko Noda, the prime minister, has tried to get at least two reactors back up and running before May 5th. He has failed, and now his political opponents may try to make capital out of it.
In some respects, Mr Noda and his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) can only blame themselves for the mess. Mr Noda has judged that the reactors he wants to restart are safe from an earthquake and tsunami as powerful as the ones that struck on March 11th 2011. Yet the safety tests have been overseen by the Nuclear Industrial and Safety Agency and the Nuclear Safety Commission, two regulatory bodies whose reputations were shredded by last year’s catastrophe.
The government’s attempt to restart the reactors comes even before a new regulatory body has been established with the transparency, independence and technical ability that its predecessors lacked; before any attempt has been made to clarify the chain of command for handling such accidents, which was a big source of confusion after March 11th; and before government and parliamentary investigations into the Fukushima disaster have been concluded. Their reports are expected to stress the importance of “defence in depth” when regulating the nuclear industry—first, attempt to prevent failures, but always plan for the worst. Instead, the industry remains in the hands of those who argued that the plants were too safe to fail.
To be fair, Mr Noda and his DPJ inherited the problems they are grappling with. During a half-century of rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the government joined bureaucrats and big business to promote nuclear power and ease regulations. It is little wonder that the LDP is keeping quiet about the government’s predicament. The Yomiuri Shimbun, a pro-nuclear newspaper, has urged the LDP to take a stronger stand in favour of restarting the reactors, to little effect so far.
What both main parties fear is that the nuclear debate could become an electoral issue in what promises to be a stormy summer. The chances are increasing that Mr Noda will have to dissolve the lower house of parliament, either as a condition for winning the LDP’s support for raising the consumption tax, on which the prime minister has staked his political capital, or because he may lose the vote on the bill.
The chances of an election increased further on April 26th, when Ichiro Ozawa, a staunch opponent of the tax increase who was recently suspended from Mr Noda’s party, was acquitted of allegations that he had broken a political funding law. The return to the DPJ of this heavyweight will increase his nuisance value.
Yet an election may play into the hands not of the LDP, the official opposition, but rather of a nationalist firebrand, Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka. That big city gets its power from Kansai Electric, operator of the plant at Oi in Fukui prefecture that Mr Noda wants to restart. Nevertheless, Mr Hashimoto has loudly protested against the plan. He has called for stronger safety measures and demanded that cities like Osaka, within a 100-km (62-mile) radius of Oi, should have a say on whether they are adequate.
The government is trying to shrug off Mr Hashimoto. But analysts say that his Osaka-based party, though parochial now, could use the anti-nuclear issue as part of a platform to vault to national prominence in a general election. If the election became a vote on Fukushima, neither the DPJ nor the LDP would relish the result.
The "greenhorns festival" is all about spreading awareness among the school students from the primary to the Sr. Secondary classes.
Today (19th April) the events were held in Modern School, Barakhamba Rd. and DPS, Vasant Kunj! Undoubtedly an amazing experience!! :)
In Modern School there was screening of the documentary film called "There's no tomorrow" about the renewable sources of energy from a different perspective. It was a 34 minutes film, to be precise. The students were briefed through the film shown in parts which was followed by an interactive session by Saumya and Rozita Singh. Ah!What a response from the students!I see a smart future there ! :D After the main events students took a pledge towards a greener tomorrow by putting their thumbprints on the designed poster we had put. :)
The next visit was in DPS, Vasant Kunj. A GK Quiz for 9-12th standard around 11:30.The students students put thier inventive thoughts and keen intelligence to answer the questions correctly. I must mention the audience was Smart! :)
The winning teams were acknowledged with a gift and certificate. So started the 'greenhorns fest' in DPS, VK.
To sum up the post... I'd say Happy 'Green' Days...
As we proudly announce our partnership with GreenNGood.com for the upcoming Greenhorns Fest in Delhi schools, we interviewed the team behind the company to share their fantastic ideas and work in the field on environment and sustainability.
What is Green 'n' Good? Please tell our readers more about your concept & organization.
In this day and age of climate change and global warming, individual actions are as important as actions of large corporate. History has proved that it is the assertion of individual actions and choices that dictate what governments and businesses do. From winning freedom for countries to banning bottled water in cities, collective choice asserted by millions across the world is capable of solving the biggest of problems.
One such force powerful enough to change the way our economic engines churn is the power of consumerism.
Responsible consumerism or consuming with a concern for environment and societal welfare is one such phenomenon that promises to turn the gigantic wheels of capitalism in favour of sustainable development.
The vision of www.GreenNGood.com is to enable a happier and healthier world for all by leveraging the power of consumerism. Central to this vision is the idea of sustainable development. Today, technology is making it possible for people to live comfortable and happy lives without compromising the environment or their luxury. Products exist that are not only healthier for people but also save money and the planet in the long run. However, these are still not main stream and for a significant positive environmental impact such products must replace conventional and non-green products.
While most people do not contest the importance of such products, the main reasons for low adoption of such products are
1. Poor awareness
www.GreenNGood.com was started to address these concerns and make green products a part of everyday life. GreenNGood.com is an ecommerce store that exclusively sells environmentally responsible products of high quality at affordable prices.
The name “GreenNGood” signifies the intersection of responsibility towards the environment and the society. Thus the products on the store are not only ecofriendly but are also made with a concern for social empowerment, equity and preservation of traditional knowledge. Products sold are mostly certified organic, vegan, cruelty free and natural. They are sourced from Green entrepreneurs, NGOs and artisan communities. Most are fair trade certified.
How did it all start? How did the idea come up and what is your team/management?
Founding team – Aparna Bhatnagar, Vinay Choletti (Co-founders)
We started the Green and Good Store in September 2009. The reason for starting the store came out of our personal desire to do more than just switching off lights and fans for the environment. We both felt that unsustainable consumerism was at the root of many of environmental and social problems and the solution too lay in addressing this. We started with trying to change the way we lived. Wearing organic cotton clothing, to using organic soaps, foods, or products made from recycled materials. Choosing hand made over machine intensive products and looking for products with a social impact. However, we found it very difficult to locate such products and buy them. Some that we did come across were priced out of a common mans budget. We also realized that there were many other people like us who wanted to contribute to social and environmental causes but could not do so due to time and financial constraints. Green and responsible consumerism would give them a chance to make a difference by an action as simple as buying a product. We realized that if given a choice and other things being equal, most people would prefer products that were environmentally superior and socially responsible. However, they faced the same problems of awareness, access and affordability. That got us started on creating a shop where people like us could make the switch to more environmentally and socially responsible lifestyles.
How has the response been since launch?
The response has been really excellent! People from across India have found us and shopped on our store! Many of our customers have given us excellent feedback and often come back to us for repeat purchases. we have an active following of over 16000 friends on Facebook!
Tell us about how your brand and initiative is helping environment in its own way.
The reason for GreenNGood.com to come into existence was to promote sustainable development through responsible consumerism.
We believe that for development to be truly sustainable it has to take into account all four aspects of sustainability namely environmental, social, economic and cultural as all the four are interlinked. Environment sets the limits within which we must maximize social and economic welfare. Therefore our focus is on promoting green or eco-friendly products that also create a healthy society and economy while protecting the traditional knowledge of communities.
We also want to make our business as sustainable as possible. We have made a beginning and will keep continuously working in this direction.
1. We use biodegradable material (including plastic) for packaging
2. Our tags are larger than usual so that they can be used as a book mark before being thrown away.
3. Being an online store our energy consumption is very low as we don’t consume energy for lighting or air-conditioning
4. We have our site hosted on a certified green webhost.
5. We provide customers with detailed information on the product, its attributes and impact, so that they can make a more informed choice
6. Through our plant a tree project we have planted over 10,125 trees in Rajasthan.
What are your plans for the future?
Future Plans are to increase our product line to include a wide range of green products that people cannot find today. We also want to create awareness about how consumption choices affect environment and what choices people can make today.
Here's congratulating the team for their work and wishing then best of luck for the future. We encourage everyone to make more environmentally conscious choices in their lifestyle and support initiatives taken towards the same!
Money may not grow on trees, but for a time it appeared to grow on bushes - specifically, a tropical shrub called jatropha curcas.
Over the past decade, jatropha was planted on millions of acres across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa after research showed that oil from its crushed seeds makes an excellent biofuel. Because jatropha can tolerate dry, rocky soil unsuited to agriculture, boosters said, subsistence farmers could grow it as a cash crop without denting food production. And with governments worldwide pushing renewable fuels, investors in jatropha-oil ventures looked set to win, too.
So far, the jatropha boom has produced more losers than winners. Many projects have foundered as seed production has failed to meet expectations, and India, China and other countries have scaled back plans for additional planting. Farmers have discovered that while jatropha can indeed grow on barren land, it doesn't flourish there, says Promode Kant, director of the Institute of Green Economy in New Delhi and co-author of a report titled "The Extraordinary Collapse of Jatropha as a Global Biofuel."
Says Kant: "Without moisture it does not seed, or it seeds extremely poorly."
Moreover, some jatropha ventures appear to have harmed the environment and the poor people they were supposed to help. In 2006, 11 villages in Tanzania agreed to let BioShape, a Dutch company, develop a jatropha plantation in exchange for jobs and aid. BioShape logged the land but planted jatropha on only a small portion of it, then shut down in 2010, says Stanslaus Nyembea, an attorney with the Lawyers' Environmental Action Team, an advocacy group representing BioShape workers who lost their jobs.
"The company was not interested in jatropha, they were interested in the timber," Nyembea says.
BioShape's telephone in the Netherlands has been disconnected.
Other jatropha ventures in Tanzania and Mozambique were left in limbo when Sun Biofuels, a British company that had planned to produce biodiesel for aircraft, ceased operations last fall after failing to obtain financing. Lion's Head Global Partners, a London investment fund that acquired Sun's Tanzanian assets, wants to restart operations but is having trouble finding investors, says Christopher Egerton-Warburton, a partner in the fund.
Investors have suffered, too. Shares of jatropha companies Gem BioFuels, a planter in Madagascar, and D1 Oils, which had a joint venture with oil giant BP, now trade as penny stocks in London.
Still, potential customers remain keenly interested. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that by 2018 jatropha-based aircraft fuel could be produced for 86 cents per liter, about the same price as conventional jet fuel today and far less than fuel made from soybeans or palm. Last August a Boeing 777 aircraft owned by Aeromexico made the first intercontinental flight powered by a jatropha-based fuel, from Mexico City to Madrid.
Jatropha's commercial future could hinge on plant science. SG Biofuels, a San Diego company, is developing hybrid strains that it says will produce more seeds. In January the company received $17 million in venture capital to expand jatropha research and planting in Brazil, Guatemala and India.
"We are in full-court commercial mode," says SG Chief Executive Officer Kirk Haney.
Market data provided by Bloomberg News Carol Matlack is a Bloomberg Businessweek contributor.
In what was once a Polaroid factory 50 miles south of Boston, a high-tech company is printing sheets of solar cells made of plastic, trying to create tomorrow's energy source amid the tumult of today's energy market.
The solar collectors made by the Konarka company in New Bedford, Ma., are thin and transparent. They curl into lightweight rolls and can be unfurled and put on a wall or a tent or an impoverished hut to begin producing electricity – though feeble electricity at this point – from sunlight.
Scientists in university and private labs worldwide have raced to make these plastic solar cells practical for 30 years. A recent succession of efficiency gains has researchers, investors and companies convinced the effort is finally close to success.
"This will be 'energy to go,'" said Steffanie Rohr, head of marketing for Heliatek, a German company that also has plans to begin commercial production of 1-foot by 4-foot plastic solar strips this year.
Heliatek, Konarka, and spin-offs from labs at Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles, have been leapfrogging one another to announce new gains in efficiency, starting from barely 3 percent five years ago. Heliatek announced in December it had achieved a sunlight-to-electricity efficiency of 9.8 percent in their lab. "Ten percent is a psychological barrier to be on the market," Rohr said. "We are scratching that."
But their advances are coming just as the commercial market for solar cell manufacturing is in a tailspin. Prospects for the market success of the plastic photovoltaics are dimmed by plunging prices of silicon solar modules, which have fallen from $4 per watt in 2008 to just over $1 a watt now.Oversold technology
"This technology has been oversold," said Jonathan Melnick, an analyst for Boston-based Lux Research who follows the plastic solar industry. Researchers, he added, "talk about promise and potential and show very intriguing graphs. But year after year the graphs always look the same – the potential is always three or four years out."
But researchers – and companies putting their bet on the product – plunge ahead with the stubborn faith of all new inventors who have faced skeptics.
Vishal Shrotriya, a vice president of Solarmer Energy, created by researchers at UCLA to develop the plastic solar cells, argues that lightweight, portable solar will create markets where bulky, rigid silicon panels cannot compete.
"Asia and India are going to be a huge market for low-cost solar energy," he said. "There are plenty of places off the grid there that could use this." He envisions the material providing portable power for military uses, rescue missions, sailors. It can be mounted on the wings of drones or on backpacks to power portable electronics, among other possibilities.Non-toxicity as advantage
John Warner, founder of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry near Boston, welcomes alternative energy but said caution is needed before embracing the new molecular materials of organic, or carbon-based, photovoltaics.
"We need solar panels now. I don't want in any way to detract from the great work going on now in organic photovoltaics," he said. "However, we have not invented the ... things necessary to do it in an environmentally benign way."
But Howard Berke, co-founder and CEO of Konarka, the company manufacturing the new material in Massachusetts, said the non-toxicity of a carbon-based solar cell is one of its advantages.
"We have the lightest footprint of any photovoltaic material," Berke said. "Our material is cadmium-free, lead-free, arsenic-free, and uses no harmful gases. It's got the lowest carbon footprint relative to other solar technology, and we have the shortest energy payback."Tools of nanotechnology
Scientists have long known that the energy of sunlight stirs faint movement of electrons in many materials. These include organic materials – ones that contain carbon molecules – and the complex organics called polymers, which include plastics.
Working at a molecular level with the tools of nanotechnology, researchers have been trying to find – or construct – the right substance to most efficiently stimulate those electrons and convert sunlight to electricity.
But their competition – traditional silicon solar panels – has an in-lab efficiency of about 20 percent. And once erected, the rigid, glass-encased silicon solar cells can stand for 25 years or more, whereas photovoltaics printed on plastic tend to deteriorate within five years – though Berke said Konarka will soon announce a breakthrough that gives flexible solar cells a 10-year outdoor life.
With lower efficiency and shorter lifespan, organic photovoltaics "just don't make sense," said Lux's Melnick.
All solar manufacturers are further threatened by a flood of cheap silicon solar panels from China that have undermined American manufacturers even as solar installers and homeowners have rejoiced. Skeptics say that flood leaves little room for a less-efficient challenger.
But plastic photovoltaics can be made with reconfigured paper printing presses, and Solarmer Energy's Shrotiya is confident that, even with lower silicon prices, plastic can undercut them by two or three times.
Proponents foresee room for both technologies.
"I don't think we are going to have our roofs covered with organic solar" instead of silicon panels, said Alan Aspuru-Guzik, an associate professor at Harvard University, working with IBM to stretch plastic solar's efficiency further. "But the big, big thing is for the one-and-a-half billion people who do not have electricity.... Organic is going to be the best application for them."
(Source: The Daily Climate)