Clean Energy

ThermoLift inks GTI collaboration deal

By GREGORY ZELLER // Stony Brook-based startup ThermoLift has a powerful new ally as it prepares second-phase testing of its revolutionary heating/cooling pump for the rigors of proof-of-concept testing. In its quest to commercialize an affordable, natural gas-powered water- and air- unit that makes green energy universally available, ThermoLift has partnered with the Gas Technology Institute, a Chicago-based R&D and training organization serving the U.S. natural gas industry. Engineers from GTI, which quietly entered into…


Massachusetts solar chip maker inks Upstate deal

1366 Technologies, a Massachusetts developer of technology for the solar industry, plans a $700 million production facility in upstate Genesee County that will create 600 jobs over the next five years, with another 400 to follow. Headquartered in Bedford, Mass., 1366 Technologies develops and manufactures high performance silicon wafers, the building blocks of solar cells and the most expensive component of a solar panel. The company’s revolutionary Direct Wafer technology transforms how the wafers are made…


Can Styrofoam-munching mealworms save the planet?

Researchers from Stanford and China have discovered that mealworms can subsist solely on a diet of Styrofoam and other forms of polystyrene and excrete biodegraded material that could be used as soil. The worms, the larvae form of a common beetle, were fed pellets of the plastic for a month and remained as healthy as worms on normal diets, lead researcher Wei-Min Wu said. The worms also produced carbon gas, but no more than when…


College students: Reduce your school’s carbon footprint, get $1M

Student-led coalitions will develop million-dollar ideas in a new statewide competition to cut down greenhouse gas emissions on New York State college and university campuses and beyond. Calling climate change “one of the most defining issues of our time,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the competition on Friday, challenging students to “aggressively reduce” emissions and offering three $1 million prizes to help winning coalitions implement their ideas. “Our state’s college students have a pivotal role to…


State awards $175M in clean-gen projects

Albany awarded $175 million on Wednesday for five large-scale clean energy projects that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while decreasing the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. Sorry, none are on Long Island. Once operational, the projects will add about 116 megawatts of new renewable capacity, or enough energy to supply over 54,000 average-sized homes per year. Thee projects, ordered by size, are: Ball Hill Wind Farm, Western New York: RES America Developments will build a 100 MW wind…


Energy from floating ceramic nanomats? Yessir

Using ceramic nanomaterials to produce energy is a million-dollar idea, according to the National Science Foundation. Well, a $935,056 idea, anyway. That’s the size of the NSF grant just awarded a joint Stony Brook University/Brookhaven National Laboratory effort to produce a commercially viable, nano-manufactured “photocatalytic blanket.” A photocatalyst is a substance that encourages light-driven chemical reactions without itself being altered, such as chlorophyll in the photosynthesis process. Led by Pelagia Gouma, a professor in the university’s…


The Debrief: Dave Hamilton, clean energy guy

October will mark four years at Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program for Dave Hamilton, who in July moved up to executive director after three years as head of CEBIP’s business development. A former commercial account manager at Island Park’s EmPower Solar, among several other energy-related gigs, Hamilton packs a BS in electrical and computer engineering from Clarkson University and an MBA in marketing from Hofstra University, plus a from-the-trenches view of regional…


LI Compost lands anaerobic digester project

One of New York State’s most innovative and ambitious sustainable-energy projects will be centered on Long Island. An anaerobic digester – which converts food waste, grass clippings and other organic byproducts that would otherwise clog up landfills into clean energy, water and fertilizers – will be installed at Long Island Compost Corp.’s 62-acre Yaphank facility. The digester, which is projected to be operational by August 2016, will be operated by Westbury-based American Organic Energy, Long…


Solving the power puzzle, by land, sea and air

By GREGORY ZELLER // Wind energy won’t save the world. Neither will wave energy or other forms of hydroelectric generation. So says Daniel Farb, founder of Leviathan Energy, a startup that focuses, naturally, on wind, wave and hydroelectric generation. Individually, none of these alternative-energy mainstays can solve humanity’s power puzzle – but together, according to the CEO, they can form a supplementary backbone that redefines how humans turn on the lights. Farb – part inventor, part…


In the hunt for energy efficiency, Suffolk considers better blinds, even vertical wind

By GREGORY ZELLER // With a national pat on the back and upstate officials taking notes, Suffolk County’s long-term energy strategy is generating real buzz – loudest on Long Island, where Suffolk is becoming a proving ground for innovative energy tech. The honors first. Suffolk’s Energy Initiatives Working Group has received a 2015 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties, one of two the county received for resiliency, infrastructure and sustainability. The other went…


Cuomo unveils community-based renewables program

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced a Shared Renewables Program on Thursday that aims to make clean and affordable energy available to millions of New Yorkers. The program, part of Cuomo’s State of Opportunity Agenda, provides financial assistance and other resources for homeowners, renters, schools and businesses looking to establish joint renewable-energy projects that cut costs and reinforce “clean” generation standards. Under the “community distributed generation” initiative, customers can join together to share power generated by…


ThermoLift lands $2.75M from Topspin, Angels

By GREGORY ZELLER // Stony Brook energy firm ThermoLift has gotten a big VC lift. The company, a resident of the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at Stony Brook University, announced today that it has closed on a $2.75 million VC round that includes funding from the Topspin Fund, the venture fund of Topspin Partners, and the Long Island Angel Network. The funding will allow ThermoLift – which is looking to redefine the energy…


Cooling team lands $2.5M in DOE help

Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Lab researchers have landed a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop ways to radically reduce the amount of water used to cool heating plants. While the ultimate goal is zero net water dissipation into the atmosphere, getting there will also enable next-generation power plants to operate in deserts or other arid conditions. Such technology would also appease environmentalists who have long…


14 LI communities win microgrid funding

Roughly $8.3 million in state awards were doled out today to support innovative “microgrid” projects across New York State – and for once, Long Island was in the thick of things. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that 83 New York communities would receive approximately $100,000 each through Stage 1 of the NY Prize microgrid competition, part of Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy that is designed to inspire a new generation of community-based power. Among the…


After 300 years of window opening, a way to finally tame steam heat

By GREGORY ZELLER // With a dose of modern engineering, a 300-year-old heating mechanism may prove to be one of the most energy-efficient of the 21st century. Stony Brook-based Bonded Energy Solutions is going back to the future with a high-tech method of controlling steam-heat distribution through single-family homes, apartment buildings and industrial spaces – a potential environmental and economic “game-changer,” according to CEO Jerritt Gluck. While modern structures are built with more efficient, more…