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Posts Tagged ‘finance’

CREATIVE BRAINSTORMING THE MIT WAY

In entrepreneur, Environment, finance, investment, Science, Technology, technology transfer, Venture Capital on April 6, 2010 at 11:29 am

Idea Explorer | MIT World.

This WONDERFUL WATERFALL OF WORDS reflects the range of ideas and concepts discussed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  In keeping with the MIT tradition, the word count is infinite, as new words and ideas are added every day. Want to brainstorm? Go to the site and click on an idea and watch a video on the topic.

GOT AN IDEA? Add it to the infinite list and watch a video on the topic...

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2010 Goldman Sachs Making Up To $1B Investment in Renewable Energy

In agriculture, biofuel, Biotechnology, cleantech, construction, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, finance, greentech, investment, Solar, Sustainable, Venture Capital on February 11, 2010 at 3:36 am

Goldman Sachs Environmental Policy Framework

In mid- January (see Bloomberg) Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said that shortages will reappear in the crude oil market as supply fails to keep pace with a recovery in demand. Global oil consumption will return to levels seen before the financial crisis by the third quarter of this year, Goldman analyst Jeffrey Currie said in a presentation in London.  At the same time, projects to bring new oil to consumers are still lagging as a result of the credit crunch, he said. By 2011, the market is back to capacity constraints…The financial crisis created a collapse in company returns which has significantly interrupted the investment phase.”

Goldman Sachs is aggressively seeking market making opportunities in environmental markets. The policy framework that they have laid out explains both their investment strategy and an underlying commitment to protect the environment and indigenous populations. Their specific interests in wind, water, solar, alternative biofuels and sustainable forestry related products are detailed below along with references to existing partnerships and hints of future commitments.

Goldman Sachs “seeks to make a significant positive contribution to climate change, sustainable forestry and ecosystem services through market-based solutions.”

In their own words-  Goldman Sachs’ core competencies include

Goldman Sachs will aggressively seek market making and investment opportunities in the environmental markets described below.

These are Goldman Sachs’ stated objectives:

  1. They intend to be  a leading U.S. wind energy developer and generator through their recently acquired subsidiary, Horizon Wind Energy (f.k.a. Zilkha Renewable Energy).
  2. They will make available up to $1 billion to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
  3. They will evaluate opportunities and, where appropriate, encourage the development of and participate in markets for water, biodiversity, forest management, forest-based ecosystems, and other ecosystem features and services.
  4. They will continue to devise investment structures for renewable energy and invest alongside our energy clients, such as our wind energy partnership with Shell Wind Energy and our solar energy fund with BP Solar.
  5. They will explore investment opportunities in renewable and/or cleaner burning alternative fuels such as renewable diesel (such as our investment in Changing World Technologies), ethanol and biomass.
  6. They will seek to make investments in, and create financing structures to assist in the development and commercialization of, other environmentally friendly technologies.

Equator Principles

The Equator Principles serve as a framework for determining, assessing, and managing environmental and social risk in project financing, based on the policies of the World Bank and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation. Goldman Sachs will seek to apply the general guidelines to debt and equity underwriting transactions, to the initiation of loans and to investment banking advisory assignments where the use of proceeds is specified to be used for potentially

Goldman Sachs says that they will not knowingly finance

  • Any project or initiate loans where the specified use of proceeds would significantly convert or degrade a critical natural habitat.
  • Extractive projects or commercial logging in World Heritage sites.ii
  • Companies or projects that collude with or are knowingly engaged in illegal logging
  • Projects that contravene any relevant international environmental agreement which has been enacted into the law of, or otherwise has the force of law in, the country in which the project is located.

Goldman Sachs prefers to

  • Only finance preservation and light, nonextractive use of forest resources for projects in forests whose high conservation values are endangered.iii
  • Develop due diligence procedures around key environmental issues for use in evaluating potential financings.
  • Protect the highest conservation values in forests with respect to its execution of financings in the logging and forest products industries.
  • Use a Forest Stewardship Council or a comparable certification when they finance forestry projects that impact high conservation value forests.
  • Examine whether clients process, purchase, or trade wood products from high risk countries and will encourage such clients to have certifiable systems in place to ensure that the wood they process, purchase or trade comes from legal sources.
  • Provide training, as appropriate, to our employees on environmental issues and practices.
  • Develop training sessions and provide the tools necessary to make informed decisions.
  • Finance projects in indigenous areas where free, prior informed consultation results in support of the project by the affected indigenous peoples.

China’s Power Sources & Clean Energy Technologies Are Expanding: Some Companies to Know About

In agriculture, biofuel, Biotechnology, china, cleantech, Energy, Environment, finance, greentech, investment, maintech, Power Grid, Science, Sustainable, Technology, Venture Capital on February 11, 2010 at 2:23 am

China, the world’s largest polluting nation, is working with international organizations and private industry to develop cleaner energy models to combat climate change and meet demand for power in an economy that expanded 10.7 percent in the fourth quarter 2009.

By 2020, China aims to use 10 million tons of bioethanol and 2 million tons of biodiesel, replacing 10 million tons a year of petroleum-based fuel, Chen Deming, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a news conference.

The companies described here are not meant to be a complete list of Chinese companies engaged in clean energy nor is Bolton Hill Consulting, Ltd. making any specific recommendations with respect to these companies. The descriptions are provided here for information purposes only to help companies unfamiliar with China’s clean energy interests to better understand the rapidly changing landscape and some of the pivotal players in China.

The companies described below are powerful in China or have shown rapid growth. They may be working with American and European companies or they are likely to do so in the near future. These companies are acquiring foreign companies, setting up subsidiaries, developing new technologies and making innovative use of existing technologies.

A Large Scale Demonstration Project: China Renewable Energy Scale-up Program (CRESP)

The CRESP program was developed by the Government of China (GOC) in cooperation with the World Bank (WB) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Together, these entities have been implementing the Renewable Energy Scale-up program for China which aims to create a legal, regulatory, and institutional environment conducive to large-scale, renewable-based electricity generation in two Chinese provinces. The Institutional Development and Capacity Building component includes: Mandated Market Policy MMP research and implementation support; technology improvement for wind and biomass; and long-term capacity building.

  • In Fujian, a 100 MW wind farm at Changjiang’ao, Pingtan Island. The Pingtan wind farm will consist of wind turbines, associated civil and electrical works, an extension to an existing control room, a switchyard, and a 15 km, 110 kV transmission line from the wind farm to the Beicuo substation, which will be upgraded to meet the evacuation needs of the wind farm. In Jiangsu, a 25 MW straw-fired biomass power plant at Mabei Village, Rudong County.
  • The Rudong power plant will consist of one 110 ton per hour, high-temperature, high-pressure strawfired boiler, one 25 MW steam turbine, and associated mechanical, electrical, and civil works.

Get to Know These Companies:


1. China Huaneng Group Corp, China’s Largest Power Producer

  • The company may be planning to take its wind power unit public in a Hong Kong share sale this year worth at least $1 billion, said people familiar with the plan.

2. China Power Engineering Consulting Group Corporation or “The Group”

  • “The Group” is active in developing new clean technologies and leads the country not only in design of conventional thermal power plants, transmission and substations.
  • The Group Corporation has also carried out widespread international exchange and cooperation with many foreign enterprises groups and engineering companies.
  • The Group Corporation plays leading role in scientific research, standardization and technical information for power survey and design, undertakes new technological research and development, introduces, assimilates and innovates new technologies.

3. China Southern Power Grid Corporation Ltd.: Managing China’s Grid

China Southern Power Gird Corporation is administered by the central government,with independent budgetary status.The total assets of the new power gird operator surpass 203.8 billion yuan(US$24.10billion) and its registered capital is 60 billion yuan (US$7.23billion).Its main responsibilities are:to operate and manage power gird according to the law,ensure reliable power supply,plan the development of regional power gird,foster regional power market,manage power dispatching and trading center,and carry out power dispatching according to power gird operation laws and the market regulations.

4. China SDIC Power: Received Largest Capital Injection of Power Assets ever

China SDIC Power’ takeover of power assets from its controlling shareholder, State Development and Investment Company, for a consideration of RMB 7.69 Bn. After the transaction, SDIC power assets achieved a whole listing. This deal was the largest capital injection to a listed company by its controlling shareholder in 2009, and the largest capital injection of power assets ever. Along with the commission of a number of key power projects, such as cascade hydropower stations in the Yalong River Valley and Tianjin million-kilowatt extra supercritical thermal power station-a pilot project of circular economy, the total installed capacity of SDIC will reach 50000 MW by 2012, with total assets of SDIC’s power business exceeding RMB 140 billion.

Wind Power in China

  • Chinese wind power capacity doubled for the fifth time by end of 2009, to 25.1 gW by the end of 2009, a third of the global additions in the previous 12 months, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

5. China Longyuan Power Group Corp, China’s Biggest Wind-Power Producer in December raised HK$20.1 billion in the world’s second-largest alternative energy initial public offering (IPO) since at least 1999, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

6. Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co 002202.SZ,: Growing Chinese Wind Generator Manufacturer- The Group’s principal activities are manufacturing, marketing and selling large-sized wind generator sets. Other activities include introducing and applying wind generating technology; manufacturing and selling parts of wind generating sets; providing consulting services in building and operating wind generating plants; building and operating middle-sized wind generating plants. This company is already listed in Shenzhen, aims to raise $1.5 billion from a Hong Kong IPO in the first half of this year, sources told Reuters earlier.


Biofuel in China:


By 2020, China aims to use 10 million tons of bioethanol and 2 million tons of biodiesel, replacing 10 million tons a year of petroleum-based fuel, Chen Deming, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a news conference. “In the future, all the biofuel production will use non-grain crops,” Chen said.

7. China Clean Energy (OTCBB:CCGY) : develops and manufactures biodiesel and environmentally-friendly specialty chemical products made from renewable resources through its subsidiaries, Fujian Zhongde Technology and Fujian Zhongde Energy. It’s new plant (Oct. 2009)  has been designed to produce up to 100,000 tons of biodiesel annually or a combination of as much as 40,000 tons of biodiesel and 30,000 tons of specialty chemicals.

8. Novozymes in China: laboratory and research facilities have now doubled in size Novozymes has a total of around 200 employees in Beijing, including 100 or so working in research and development. Lykke Friis, the Danish Minister for Climate and Energy:“The idea behind the extension is to strengthen our research into biomass for advanced biofuels, made from waste materials such as straw. Here in China we’ve entered into partnerships with two important players in the field, namely COFCO and Sinopec.” Novozymes to Announce Details on Cellulosic Ethanol Technology February 16, 2010 at NEC Conference

9. China Biodiesel Holding Corporation: leading product is Biodiesel, while the sideline-products are oleic acid methyl ester,C16C18 fatty acid methyl ester, coconut oil methyl ester. The main market is located in mainland China, but abroad channels are maturing, including Europe, East Asia, and North America.  They report that their current total capacity is now 100,000 tons per annum (Feb 2010)

SDIC’s Hydropower Projects


Along with the commission of a number of key power projects, such as cascade hydropower stations in the Yalong River Valley and Tianjin million-kilowatt extra supercritical thermal power station-a pilot project of circular economy, the total installed capacity of SDIC will reach 50000 MW by 2012, with total assets of SDIC’s power business exceeding RMB 140 billion.
Investment Projects
10. SDIC HUAJING POWER HOLDINGS CO.,LTD.
11. ERTAN HYDROPOWER DEVELOPMENT COMPANY,LTD.
12. SDIC YUNNAN DACHAOSHAN HYDROPOWER CO,LTD.
13. SDIC QINZHOU ELECTRIC POWER CO.,LTD.
14. JINGYUAN SECOND POWER CO.,LTD.
15. GANSU XIAOSANXIA HYDROPOWER DEVELOPMENT CO.LTD.

US DOE International Solar Decathlon 2009 Winners & 2011 Rules

In building, cleantech, construction, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, greentech, investment, maintech, Science, Solar, Sustainable, Technology, technology transfer, Venture Capital on February 10, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Department of Energy DOE: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Peer Review Best Practices Workshop

In building, cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, finance, greentech, maintech, Power Grid, Science, Solar, Sustainable, Technology, technology transfer, Venture Capital on January 27, 2010 at 11:10 pm

This Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) sponsored event was designed to help DOE employees improve the grant review process. Had it been open to the public… it would have been of great interest to anyone trying to get government funding in the renewable energy arena.

It was a privilege to attend this event.

Jim Turner at the Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) put on a stellar speaker panel and provided participants with the opportunity to meet the experts in the funding process. A select group of speaker presentations are listed below. One of the best featured speakers included D. Wayne Silby (Chair), Founding Chair of the Calvert Funds; Co-chair, Calvert Social Investment Foundation; Chair-elect and Principal, Syntao.com. Catherine Hunt, Dow, Director of Technology Collaboration Development was engaging and informative about finding practical solutions to industry problems.

The agenda and presentations are included below:

EERE Peer Review Best Practices Workshop
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
1307 New York Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20005
8:30 am Continental Breakfast

9:00 am Welcome : Peter McPherson, President, APLU

9:05 am Opening Remarks:Henry Kelly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

9:15 am Keynote : Bill Bonvillian, Director of Federal Relations, MIT

9:45 am Peer Review Best Practices: Basic Science
Moderator: Jim Turner, Energy Programs, APLU

  • W. Lance Haworth, Director of Office of Integrative Activities, NSF
  • David T. George, Director, Office of Scientific Review, NIBIB, NIH
  • Linda Blevins, Senior Technical Advisor, Office of Science, DOE
  • Diana Jerkins, Interim Integrated Programs Director, Competitive Programs Unit, NIFA, USDA

11:15 am Peer Review Best Practices: Applied Research and Technology Development
Moderator: JoAnn Milliken, EERE

  • Marc Stanley, Deputy Director, NIST
  • Arun Majumdar, Director, ARPA-E
  • Julie A. Christodoulou, Director, Naval Materials Division, ONR
  • Lita Nelsen, Technology Licensing Office, MIT

12:30 pm Lunch

1:00 pm Peer Review Best Practices: Private Sector and Academic
Moderator: Jim Turner, Energy Programs, APLU

  • Catherine Hunt, Dow, Director of Technology Collaboration Development
  • Supratik Guha, Senior Manager, Semiconductor Materials and Devices,
  • Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM
  • Wayne Silby, Chairman, Calvert Special Equities
  • Mike Witherell, Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California at Santa Barbara and former head of Fermilab

2:15 pm Alternate Approaches to Peer Review

  • Ken Gabriel, Deputy Director, DARPA
  • Doug Comstock, Director, Innovative Partnerships Program, NASA

3:00 pm Public Comment Period

:: EERE Peer Review Best Practices Workshop Agenda
:: EERE Peer Review Best Practices Workshop Speaker Bios
Powerpoint Presentations
  1. :: Henry Kelly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary,
  2. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
  3. :: W. Lance Haworth, Director of Office of Integrative Activities, NSF
  4. :: Linda Blevins, Senior Technical Advisor, Office of Science, DOE
  5. :: Diana Jerkins, Interim Integrated Programs Director, Competitive Programs Unit, NIFA, USDA
  6. :: Marc Stanley, Deputy Director, NIST
  7. :: Julie A. Christodoulou, Director, Naval Materials Division, ONR

Clean tech gets big piece of venture-capital funding – USATODAY.com

In cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, Environment, greentech, investment, Power Grid, Science, Solar, Technology, technology transfer, Venture Capital on January 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Clean tech gets big piece of venture-capital funding – USATODAY.com.

Venture-capital funding for clean-technology firms fell 33% in 2009 from the year before, but the sector fared better than others amid a dismal economy, data released Wednesday indicate.

More than $5.6 billion in venture-capital investment went to clean-tech firms — including solar, wind, energy efficiency, transportation and biofuels — last year, say preliminary data from market researcher Cleantech Group and finance firm Deloitte.

Total venture-capital investment has retreated to 2003 levels, but clean tech has reset only to 2007 levels, the Cleantech Group says. “It was a difficult year, but I see clean tech … as the best of the worst,” says Shawn Lesser, founder of finance firm Sustainable World Capital.

The money flow underscores that:

Clean tech has muscle. In 2004, the sector accounted for about 3% of venture-capital investment. That expanded to about 25% in 2009. The sector last year, for the first time, received more private venture capital than any other sector, including software, Cleantech Group says.

Efficiency and transportation are in. The top clean-tech recipient in 2009 was solar, which got 21% of it. But solar investment was down 64% from the previous year, while the transportation and energy-efficiency sectors had record years.

The drop for solar stems from several factors, including the big amounts of money needed to commercialize technologies, says Dallas Kachan, managing director of the Cleantech Group. Meanwhile, energy-efficiency firms — those concentrating on everything from lighting to green building materials — often need less money to bring products or services to market, may rely on more proven technologies and may pose less risk to investors. “They’re not reinventing the wheel,” Kachan says.

Last year, venture capital for transportation — for such things as electric cars and new battery technology — rose 47% to $1.1 billion. Investment in energy efficiency rose 39% to $1 billion.

North America may be slipping. The region is still dominant for clean-tech venture capital, but it’s getting a smaller share than it used to. Last year, North America received 62% of clean-tech venture-capital dollars, down from 72% in 2008, the Cleantech Group says. Europe and Israel took in 29% of 2009 dollars, up from 22% in 2008. That Europe and Israel increased their share of venture-capital funding may reflect the desire for investors to pursue less risky deals in markets where clean tech is already more widely deployed, Lesser says.

MIT Press Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate

In cleantech, Energy, Environment, greentech, investment, Power Grid, Science, Sustainable, Technology on December 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

MIT Press Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate.

If you have any trouble playing the video here- then press HERE

Bolton Hill Consulting assisted MIT Innovations editors to organize this educational event at the National Academy of Sciences. (Live Streaming & Video production provided by Alan Tone at Fimmaker etc).

Time For Change
Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate

A discussion on the occasion of the release of the Innovations journal special issue on energy & climate.

November 24, 2009
The National Academy of Sciences
Washington, D.C.

The solutions to our climate challenge aren’t just “out there,” they are right here-before your eyes, in your hands.
—John P. Holdren,
Science Adviser to the President of the United States, Introduction to Innovations 4:4 Energy for Change: Creating Climate Solutions

EVENT DESCRIPTION

The goal of this meeting was to contribute to reframing the conversation on energy and climate by illuminating opportunities inherent in the transition away from carbon intensity. The meeting focused on how technologies already in use can be combined with common-sense policies and 21st century modes of organization to create jobs, advance innovation, and enhance international cooperation. Led by the Science Adviser to the President of the United States, John Holdren, and informed by a year-long project on energy & climate at the National Academy of Sciences, the meeting was be organized into a set of forward-looking conversations respectively emphasizing opportunities for business, for the United States, and for the global community of nations.

Selected video highlights from Time for Change: Reframing the Conversation on Energy and Climate.

AGENDA

Panel #1: Building Change: The built environment and electric power service delivery video

Moderator:Ellen Vaughan, Environmental and Energy Study Institute .pdf

Panelist:Ralph Cavanagh, Natural Resources Defense Council .pdf

Panelist: James Turner, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities .pdf

Panelist: Henry Green, National Institute of Building Sciences .pdf


Panel #2: Driving Change: Transport and reduced oil consumption
video

Moderator:Philip Auerswald, George Mason University

Panelist:Judi Greenwald, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Panelist: L. Jerry Hansen, United States Army

Panelist:William Drayton, Ashoka and Get America Working! .pdf


Panel #3: Legislating Change: U.S. policy options and directions
video

Moderator:Edward Maibach, George Mason University

Panelist:Richard Meserve, The Carnegie Institution

Panelist:Jason Grumet, Bipartisan Policy Center

Panelist:Bracken Hendricks, Center for American Progress


Introduction of Keynote Speaker

Philip Auerswald, George Mason University

Keynote Address video

John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to the President of the United States .pdf


Panel #4: Negotiating Change: International agreements and new institutional arrangements at a global scale
video

Moderator:William Bonvillian, MIT .pdf

Panelist:Thomas Schelling, University of Maryland .pdf

Panelist: Frank Alix, Powerspan Corp. .pdf

Panelist:Iqbal Quadir, MIT

Closing Address video

Rear Admiral Philip Hart Cullom, United States Navy


Concluding Remarks
video

William Bonvillian, MIT .pdf

Read William B. Bonvillian and Charles Weiss’s MIT Press Book: Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution

Subscribe to Innovations

NREL Uncovers Clean Energy Leaders State by State

In Bioscience, cleantech, Energy, Environment, greentech, Power Grid, Solar, Sustainable on November 22, 2009 at 11:33 pm

via NREL: News Feature – NREL Uncovers Clean Energy Leaders State by State.

 

 

The State of the States project was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, NREL and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). It is funded by the Department of Energy’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

While states such as California and Texas with abundant resources continue to rank among the leading states in terms of total renewable electricity generation, the study shows that a range of other states are demonstrating strong growth in the clean energy sector, including those with historic fossil fuel legacies, such as Oklahoma and Illinois.

Wind energy accounted for the largest percentage of nationwide growth in renewable generation between 2001 and 2007, including a 30 percent increase in 2006 and 2007.

Biomass generation continued to expand across most regions, with states as disparate as Delaware, Utah, Minnesota and Alaska showing the most recent growth in the sector. Biomass generation continued to be strong in southeastern states, including Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Key Findings

* Non-hydro renewable electricity generation as a percent of total electricity generation increased 33.7 percent between 2001 and 2007, reaching a national total of 105 million megawatt-hours.

* California led the nation in terms of total non-hydroelectric renewable generation in 2007; Maine is No. 1 when also considering state population and gross state product.

* Washington led in total renewable generation in 2007 if hydroelectric resources are included.

* South Dakota ranks first in overall growth in non-hydro renewable energy generation between 2001 and 2007.

* Geothermal electricity generation in the Lower 48 is concentrated in California, Nevada and Utah.

* Solar capacity is concentrated in the southwestern and northeastern states.

* Leading wind energy states are Texas, California, Iowa, Minnesota, and Washington. However, sparsely populated Wyoming leads in per-capita wind generation.

 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Supports Sustainable Agricultural Development through Science & Technology

In agriculture, Bioscience, Biotechnology, Environment, finance, greentech, investment, Science, Sustainable, Technology on October 20, 2009 at 10:42 am

The following is taken from parts of the Gates Foundation’s website

Frequently Asked Questions About Agricultural Development – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation support programs that will enable small farmers to break the cycle of hunger and poverty—to sell what they grow or raise, increase their incomes, and make their farms more productive and sustainable.
“We fund projects with partners who”:
  • Employ a collaborative and comprehensive approach.
  • Provide small farmers with the supplies and support they need to succeed.
  • Put women at the center of their work.
  • Help small farmers profit from their crops.
  • Use science and technology to develop crops that can thrive.

Updates on Funded Projects
During the original Green Revolution, overuse of fertilizer led to unanticipated environmental consequences. Today, we consider potential environmental impacts in all of our grantmaking, and are committed to a sustainable model of agriculture that takes into account the needs of both farmers and the environment. So while Africa’s severely depleted soils require fertilizer, we promote judicious and efficient uses of fertilizer, and more intensive use of organic matter. We also invest in efforts to improve soil and water conservation techniques.

Another unanticipated consequence of the original Green Revolution was increased inequity in some areas. Our work is focused on providing small farmers living on less than a dollar a day—most of whom are women—with tools and opportunities to lift themselves out of hunger and poverty. We and our grantees work to involve small farmers in the design and evaluation of our projects, to ensure that our work meets their needs and addresses the realities they face in their local areas.

Another difference is that the original Green Revolution focused primarily on raising the yields of two staple crops: rice and wheat. Africa’s diverse agroecological zones and varied conditions will require a much greater range of approaches, from boosting productivity in a wider range of crops to developing crops that are resistant to drought, disease, and pests. We are working to carefully understand the different needs of small farmers throughout the continent and are designing our efforts to respond to their specific circumstances.

This new Green Revolution is broad based and includes significant African leadership on a number of levels. We are working with a wide range of partners to strengthen the entire agricultural value chain—from seeds and soil to farm management and market access—so that progress is sustainable over the long-term. We are also working to involve and empower women—who are integral to success in agriculture—at every level of our work.

Q: Do you pay attention to the environmental impact of your agricultural grantmaking?

A: Yes—we consider potential environmental impacts in all of our grantmaking. Our approach is to support both poor farmers and the environment.Population growth and poor soil health in Africa have forced farmers to clear and cultivate more marginal lands, often leading to erosion, deforestation, and sometimes desertification. In Asia, the misuse of fertilizers and irrigation has caused large areas of land to be lost to acidification and salinization.

We understand these are not sustainable ways to produce food or preserve the environment. In revitalizing small-scale farm production we are funding approaches that support small farmers and are ecologically sound.

Q: Does the foundation promote the use of fertilizers?

A: Healthy soil is critical to farm productivity, and the judicious use of organic and mineral fertilizers can help small farmers prosper while preserving their land.We support AGRA’s Soil Health Program, which focuses on integrated soil fertility management as well as the use of fertilizers where necessary to provide important plant nutrients missing from the soil and from organic materials available to the farmer. We invest in information and knowledge-sharing to assist small farmers in using the right fertilizers in the right way to nourish their soil. We also invest in efforts to improve soil and water conservation techniques.

We are committed to sustainable agriculture, using farming supplies that farmers can afford and that take environmental needs into account.

Q: What is the foundation doing about climate change?

A: The foundation believes that climate change is a major issue facing all of us, particularly poor people in developing countries, and we applaud the work that many are doing to help find solutions in this area. While the foundation does not fund efforts specifically aimed at reducing carbon emissions, many of our Agricultural Development grants directly address problems that climate change creates or exacerbates. For example, we have made several grants to help small farmers who live on less than $1 per day adapt to increased drought and flooding through the development of drought and flood resistant crops, improved irrigation efficiency, and other means.

Megakites & Solar Flowers at Popular Science By Carina Storrs

In cleantech, Energy, entrepreneur, greentech, Science, Solar, Sustainable, Venture Capital on October 14, 2009 at 12:19 pm

This Month’s Innovations For a Greener Future: Megakites, Solar Flowers, and More

via This Month’s Innovations For a Greener Future: Megakites, Solar Flowers, and More | Popular Science.

By Carina Storrs Posted 10.14.2009 at 10:21 am

Up and Away: The kite generates electricity as it ascends.

A kite flown in a strong breeze will quickly unspool string as it climbs higher. KiteGen Research in Italy aims to turn that action into electricity. The company developed a prototype that flies 200-square-foot kites to altitudes of 2,600 feet, where wind streams are four times as strong as they are near ground-based wind turbines.

As the kite’s tether unspools, it spins an alternator that generates up to 40 kilowatts. Once the kite reaches its peak altitude, it collapses, and motors quickly reel it back in to restart the cycle. This spring, KiteGen started building a machine to fly a 1,500-square-foot kite, which it plans to finish by 2011, that could generate up to three megawatts—enough to power 9,000 homes.

Smoke and Mirrors: Mirrors direct sunlight onto the solar plant’s tower, heating air to run a turbine that powers 70 nearby homes. Aora/Haim Fried

Flower Power

Any blossom would stand out in the desert of southern Israel, but you’d be hard-pressed to miss a 98-foot-tall one. The tulip-shaped tower is the centerpiece of the world’s first hybrid-solar power plant, opened this summer by Israeli start-up AORA Solar. An array of 30 mirrors focuses the sun’s rays on the central steel bud. Inside, the solar energy heats air to 1,800ºF, causing it to expand and spin a turbine to generate 100 kilowatts. When night falls or clouds obscure the sun, the plant helps heat the air with a standard diesel combuster running on up to eight gallons per hour to provide consistent electricity output, unlike strictly solar plants. AORA is working with Spanish, Chilean and Australian companies to export the tech, which could be reconfigured to burn biofuel, says Pinchas Doron, the company’s chief technology officer. “Soon,” he says, “it could be green energy 24/7.”