Jubwinked? New Energy Technologies Inc.’s SolarWindow Uses Spray-On Solar Cells

New Energy Technologies SolarWindowOnce again, I hope New Energy Technologies is legit but I can’t help feeling Jubwinked again by a company with a technology that promises too much. New Energy Technologies just issued a press release about their spray-on-window solar cells that can outperform rooftop solar panels by 300%. When applied, the see-through SolarWindow technology will absorb sunlight entering the building as well as internal office lighting. According to New Energy Technologies, the SolarWindow “is made possible by spraying an electricity-generating coating on to glass at room temperature.” Conventional solar panel manufacturing requires high-heat in order to apply the the solar cells onto a opaque substrate and can not be transparent.

New Energy Technologies other product is MotionPower. MotionPower is basically a “speed bump” that generates electricity from the excess energy produced by moving cars and trucks passing over them. Here is a video that describes how the idea works:

[youtube width=”425″ height=”270″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEv4g6PbSHg&feature=related[/youtube]

In related news, Pat Mehiney is taking his wool socks public after demonstrating to 3 or 4 people his amazing ability to generate electricity*.

*The static variety

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PepsiCo Dream Machine Recycling Kiosks

PepsiCo Dream MachineFrom the Wall Street Journal article PepsiCo Plans Recycling Initiative.

From one beverage to another – PepsiCo, partnering with Waste Management, is planning on installing 3000 recycling kiosks around the country to encourage consumers to recycle more cans and PET plastic bottles. PepsiCo is calling them “Dream Machines” and they are rewarding recyclers through a points system that can be applied toward movie tickets, travel or as discounts for Pepsi products. Currently in the US, only 34% of aluminum and 25% of the PET plastic bottles are being recycled and PepsiCo hopes to increase that number with their Dream Machines. The machines can hold 300 cans/plastic bottles and when they are full, an alert is sent to a Waste Management employee responsible for emptying the machine. Crushing does not occur at the machine because in product tests, consumers were put off by the noise. Here is how they work [WSJ]:

The machine itself is like a vending machine in reverse. A video screen plays advertising and informational videos, which are updated wirelessly and tailored to each site. A consumer first touches the screen and follows instructions, either to swipe a key fob to track rewards points or to defer registration for later, if at all.

PepsiCo Dream Machine Nightmare

A PepsiCo Dream Machine Nightmare

As much as Jubbling wants these great ideas to be the solution, they almost seem to be more of the problem. We felt the same way about ecoATM. It seems like companies are throwing grenades at a problem when they probably only need bb’s. PepsiCo’s Dream Machines are things of beauty and obviously a lot of thought was put into making them work but their limitations – only holding 300 cans or plastic bottles – and the cost of raw materials to build alone seems to outweigh their usefulness.

Alternatives? I keep imagining a person in a cardboard box paying you a compliment every time you recycle a can or PET bottle but that’s not going to be enough. I think the best method to increase recycling rates is for PepsiCo, Coke and the American Bottlers Association to support Bottle Bills in every state. Oregon was one of the first states to pass a Bottle bill and it passed in 1971 despite opposition from bottlers and beverage container manufacturers. It was expanded to cover water bottles in January 2009. With their Bottle bill in place, every beverage container leaving an Oregon grocery store or vending machine has a fee added to it that covers the refund and processing costs of recycled beverage containers. According to Wikipedia, recycle rates in states with Bottle bills is around 90% vs 34% in states without, and the collection sites are already in place – grocery stores.

I hope PepsiCo proves me wrong with their new Dream Machine kiosks. It’s just a feeling that companies like PepsiCo should look at the problem and find their next solution as if they had no resources; try to be truly grassroots. Maybe they’ll discover that the incentive to recycle occurs when you buy your soda and at the very least, maybe they’ll realize that another kiosk is not the solution and they’ll start supporting Bottle bills.

Useful links:
Bottle Bill Resource Guide
Container Recycling Institute
Keep America Beautiful

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