Skymeter GPS congestion-toll system gets green light from Cisco

Skymeter Corp., a Toronto startup trying to raise the bar on congestion-tolling technology — i.e. “road user charging” — has received high grades after a small pilot project with Cisco Systems in Seoul, Korea. Following a six-month pilot, Cisco named Skymeter its “technical solution partner” for location, time and distance-based road user charging. Continue reading Skymeter GPS congestion-toll system gets green light from Cisco

Turning paint fumes into fuel

I had the opportunity last week of visiting Ford Motor Co.’s Oakville assembly plant, where they have just installed a new fumes-to-fuel facility. The facility extracts paint fumes from its auto paint shop and, after filtering and processing the organic volatile compounds, turns them into fuel. That fuel is then reformed and put through a molten carbonate fuel cell to produce up to 300 kilowatts of electricity. I detail the process in my Clean Break column today. Continue reading Turning paint fumes into fuel

Talking point: The credit crunch

I want to know what readers of Clean Break think about the credit crisis and its impact — existing or potential — on the development and deployment of renewable energy and clean technologies.

One could argue it might help, because big-budget nuclear and clean coal projects will have more difficulty raising the money — i.e. debt financing — to push these megaprojects forward. In such a situation, renewables, conservation and combined heat and power projects could be viewed as the least risky and therefore most worth pursuing. On the other hand, the credit crunch could hit big wind and solar projects with equal impact, and force governments to make a greater commitment to backstopping nuclear and other conventional projects with taxpayers’ dollars.

And what do venture capitalists think about all this? Does the crunch affect how they allocation money, or their ability to raise it? Does it make life more difficult for cleantech startups in need of financing?

If you have any insights or opinions to share, I welcome it…

New energy minister “jazzed” about new job

I have a story in today’s Toronto Star about George Smitherman, new energy and infrastructure minister for Ontario. Last week, Smitherman directed the Ontario Power Authority to review and “fine tune” its 20-year power plan so that it might accelerate conservation goals and increase renewable-energy targets. Continue reading New energy minister “jazzed” about new job

Making home energy audits the law

An Ontario legislator, Ottawa-Orleans MPP Phil McNeely, introduced a private members’ bill this week that proposed the creation of the Ontario Home Energy Act, which would require “the preparation of Home Energy Rating Reports with respect to detached and semi-detached homes and low-rise multi-unit residential buildings.” Continue reading Making home energy audits the law