Steve Jurvetson: Biology and Energy are Converging & Accelerating (Part 1)

September 29 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2012   Rating: 4

Steve Jurveston has long been considered one of the most forward looking technology visionaries in Silicon Valley. He is also one of many Silicon Valley investors becoming very interested (and invested) in the convergence of biosciences and the energy industry. Jurveston sits on the board of Craig Venter’s new company Synthetic Genomics which hopes to tap the power of synthetic biology for energy production.

In this 6 minute ZDNET presentation clip from AlwaysOn GoingGreen conference held on September 10-12th, 2008, Jurvetson explains the implications of accelerating changes in biology, genetics, and synthetic biology to the future of energy.

Accelerating changes in biology and cleantech
The future of biology is likely to converge with other industries like energy within the next 10-20 years. Bio energy is very complicated subject with enormous potential to change how we produce biofuels, hydrogen and bio-material feedstocks. But it is also in its early ‘hype’ stages of development and we need framers who can eloquently describe how these changes in biology and genetics might someday change energy.

Fortunately for us – Steve Jurveston is one of those visionaries who can explain this convergence of biosciences and energy.

Video embedded from ZDNET

Consumers looking to cleantech startups

September 25 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Environment   Year: 2012   Rating: 4

The key word for the cleantech (or alternative energy) world is momentum.

Market conditions change, as do consumer attitudes and expectations. If alternative energy concepts fail to live up to their hype, public support could fade along with political will and policies that enable growth.

Cleantech startups are trying to reach people who are asking ‘What can I do to accelerate changes in energy?’

The formula is relatively straight forward. Consumers buy things so they need to be low cost and easy to use. And moving beyond criticisms of trying to buy or consume ourselves into a greener planet, start ups have to evolve around one of two categories products and services to survive. Today we’ll look briefly at products in home and local power generation.

Cleantech Products
Local power generation is an area that should see solid growth in the years ahead. Producing 10-20% of our own electricity needs could go a long way in reducing emissions and demand on our electrical grid.

Small scale wind and solar systems are ideal for homes, schools, factories and office buildings looking to reduce their demand on the energy grid.

Small Wind Turbines

There are dozens of small wind turbine startups such as AeroVironment, HelixWind, Loopwing, Quiet Revolution and Mariah Power’s Windspire that are now driving residential and commercial sales.

Home Energy’s Energy Ball (pictured) is quiet, works at low wind speed, and can generate up to 500 kilowatt-hours per year, or 1,750 kilowatt-hours per year with the larger 2-meter unit.

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2012: The year your electric meter gets smart

August 01 2008 / by Antonio Manfredi
Category: Energy   Year: 2012   Rating: 6 Hot

On July 30, 2008 Pacific Gas and Electric annnounced a plan to deploy smart meters and an enhanced electric grid by 2012. What does this mean for the future of power?

For over half a century our electricity usage has been accounted for in the most basic way. We flip on a switch, and our electric meter starts turning. Each time we use our electricity, we really have no idea how much electricity we are using at any given time. The wheel turns, and no one is home.

Suddenly there has been a convergence of technology and resources around that little round meter that you never really look at. Utilities want to know more about your power usage, and when you use it the most. They also want to inform you of the same information, so you can reduce your energy usage during times of peak energy demand. New forms of rate pricing will replace the dumb system we have now. Use less energy when those power companies are scambling to meet demand and you may be rewarded. Three advanced residential rate options on your bill will include hourly pricing, critical peak pricing and critical peak rebates, according to Basically you will be rewarded for how well you govern your consumption.

Realizing that it is difficult to watch your energy usage without the proper tools, technology companies such as Comverge are figuring out ways for you to remotely control the thermostat in your house. Other companies are working on technology that can inform you of a good time to do your laundry, such as off peak hours when it will be cheaper.

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In the Future, You'll Look and Feel Great in Genes

May 15 2008 / by juldrich
Category: Biotechnology   Year: 2012   Rating: 8 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from

A few months back, I wrote an article entitled “The Coming Health Care Revolution” in which I discussed the startling advances in the field of genomics. To provide readers a better sense of how fast things are happening, I’d like to highlight the news just from today.

I began my morning by reading this article discussing how researchers in Georgia believe they have identified a gene which plays a significant role in causing Alzheimer’s. Next, I stumbled across this BBC report reviewing how smoking causes genetic changes which limit the production of a protein believed to be helpful in preventing lung cancer. Finally, there was this report on Physorg discussing how the gene – GLUT2 – might be linked to obesity. (cont.)

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Tracking our Future ... With Sensors

April 11 2008 / by juldrich
Category: Business & Work   Year: 2012   Rating: 9 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from

There was a picture from yesterday’s NY Times article entitled My Life in a Video and it shows a dancer with a variety of sensors embedded in her leotard. Among other things these sensors can automatically control music to correspond with her dance tempo.

To be sure, it is a cool technology and I’m sure it will soon be showing up in some avant garde theatres; I, however, would encourage you to think even more broadly about how embedded sensors and RFID tags will soon transform our lives.

To do so, I invite you to read these two recent articles. The first is from Roland Piquepaille over at ZDNET and he explains how researchers at the University of Washington have deployed 200 antennas (RFID readers) to track the movements and activities of 12 students.

I would also encourage you to watch the six minute YouTube clip posted below. It is a little academic at times, but toward the end you will witness two exciting applications. In the first, a student hears a song that a colleague is listening to and he is able to instantly download it to his cellphone. In the second, the same student downloads information from a wall poster. (At a minimum, this latter application holds great relevance for advertisers and retailers who might soon be able to employ the technology to download electronic coupons to consumers as a means of either enticing them to purchase the product or, at least, receive more information about it).


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The Virtual Worlds Blitz is Coming

March 03 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Economics   Year: 2012   Rating: 11

Chris Sherman over at Virtual World News noted yesterday that there are so many virtual world start-ups in stealth-mode that he’s lost count.

“They range in focus from virtual goods and economies to lifelogging to 2d and 3d virtual world destinations to platforms and tools companies and more,” points out Sherman, the producer of the steadily growing Virtual Worlds conference series.

Not only are myriad start-ups getting into the virtual frenzy, so are corporate giants like Google.

All this activity nicely reinforces a DFC estimate that virtual world revenues will reach 6 billion $ annually by 2012.

Even with the slowing growth of Second Life, it’s easy to imagine that between Spore, MetaPlace, Multiverse, Club Penguin, Google, Microsoft, Sony and all of the little guys, it won’t be all that hard to hit that 6 billion $ target.

Check back tomorrow for an in-depth interview with Jerry Paffendorf, co-founder of Wello Horld, one of the stealth start-ups mentioned by Sherman.

What will be the biggest virtual world in 2010?

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