Reimagined and Revamped. Fighting the spread of nonsense often feels like a Sisyphean task. However, the joy is in making the information available, not the hope of conversion.

How much waste?

Today, while looking up something for work (I am an engineering manager), I came across an interesting article written 5 years ago but is as relevant today as it was then. The huge point that this article makes is that there is no silver bullet to deal with climate change. Solar is but one part of the solution. It's not a good solution for all of our energy needs, but its good for a good part of it. Wind is the same. Even solar thermal, one of my favorites, is not a good all around solution. The answer comes in part from nukes, efficiency improvements and conservation. some of the answer will come from taking some aggressive risks on new technologies.

What is nice to see is the table they present on page 970 (it starts on page 968). When you compare this with the funding opportunities made available by the Department of Energy, you will see a high correlation. There are also a number of opportunities coming from ARPA-E and other grants specifically crafted for new and radical technologies. Finally someone in Washington is listening to scientists.

While I am glad to see a good chunk of change going towards alternative energy, conservation and efficiency, things like this make me sad.

New York
MTI MicroFuel Cells (Albany, NY)
To accelerate fuel cell use in consumer markets, MTI will demonstrate a one-watt consumer electronics power pack. The project will focus on improving reliability to meet the standards required by the electronics market and will include testing of individual components, subsystems and complete direct methanol fuel cell systems. MTI will also develop manufacturing processes to improve product yields and reduce overall costs. $2.4 million.

Why does it make me sad? Well, never mind the fact that they are making a stupid product. Let's examine this company for a second, what the latest news about them just before this funding?

Mechanical Technology says that if it does not get external funding for its fuel cell by April, it may have to curtail fuel cell work or sell the business

The stimulus money did save jobs. MTI spends about 12 million a year and were going to close their doors at the end of april. They get 2.4 million bucks... so now they can close their doors in July! Jobs have been saved! Clearly no one checked the companies who were getting immediate funds (most of the DoE stimulus money has not been spent. Solicitations are out, money has been allocated, but it is not spent). So how many other companies that were on their last leg got money like this for the sake of "saving jobs"? I see Plug Power getting two awards, did anyone check that companies financial health?

File Under: ,