Green tech finds (5/19/11)

Off-grid in the Big Apple, and geothermal energy capture that doesn’t cause earthquakes… your green tech finds for the week.

  • The recycling robot: Finnish start-up ZenRobotics claims its ZenRobotics Recycler, a robot designed to sort recyclables from other waste, has correctly identified half the materials presented to it in tests. See the “trailer” for the robot above. (via Good News from Finland)

  • Can electric vehicles work in car sharing programs: Electric Vehicle Update discusses the potential issues, and solutions, for incorporating EVs (with their long charging time) into “on-demand” car sharing services. (via Cleantechies)

  • Getting better gas mileage with Google: Researchers at Ford are considering how using the Google Prediction API could help drivers save fuel (either gas or, more likely, electricity) by optimizing a car’s power train for regularly-traveled routes. (via Treehugger)

  • Solar panels and snow: Snowy climes can make use of solar power… except, of course, when the panels are covered with snow. Professor Joshua Pearce of Ontario’s Queens University is researching the overall impact of snow on solar panel performance, and how to maximize energy harvesting in cold regions. (via Earth Techling)

  • Geothermal energy sans earthquakes: Large-scale geothermal energy systems have occasionally set off small earthquakes. Connecticut-based start-up GTherm is testing its “heat pump on steroids” approach for commercial viability… and seismic stability.(via Yale Environment 360 and @taigacompany)

  • Off-grid in NYC: Yep, it’s possible… DIYer Adam Katzman does it in a solar-powered refurbished houseboat. Downside: he floats his boat in the heavily-polluted Gowanus Canal.

  • High-tech waste heat capture: Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are working on a device to capture waste heat loss from objects as small as computer chips. (via Cleantechnica)

Got a find of your own? Share it with us… leave a comment below.


  • Wind power: the most promising technology for a sustainable future?
  • What tiny solar could mean for residents of the developing world.