Archive for August, 2011

2011 Women in Green conference in Santa Monica

I’ll be moderating a panel with some brilliant women about innovation in technology driving sustainability. Join us!

Caltech prof figures out how to increase wind efficiency by 10x from watching how fish schools swim

See the attached video.

Things I love about this:

– It’s simple and in testing has demonstrated a 10x improvement in efficiency.
– It’s an excellent example of Janine Benyus’ biomimicry concept – the idea that we can learn how to improve our own designs, and solve design problems, by looking at how nature solves the problem (in this case, the configuration of fish schools and the tail rotation of individual fish within the schools increases efficiency).

– It’s easy to understand: rotational direction and positioning of vertical-axis wind turbines – an already-existing technology – is what yields the increase efficiencies.

– It elegantly and directly challenges those who argue that the potential for both energy efficiency and clean tech is either 1) limited to incremental improvements; 2) will take too long;  3) will take up too much land and water to ever be viable.

Clean tech is a moving target. Huge breakthroughs are still possible, and we can move far faster, with greater improvements and more reliance on the tools currently at hand than conventional wisdom suggests.

From 2010 Data Center Efficiency Summit: Yahoo’s Compute Coop