Blogroll Review: Cleantech Bubble, Patents, & Jobs

by Frank Ling

Almost As Hot As Healthcare

Nothing is more important than our health. Even the environment, you ask (which arguably affects our health directly and indirectly)? At least that’s what the markets are telling us…for now.

Clean technologies are now becoming mainstream, yet investors are cautious for many reasons.

Rob Day, in a recent article at GreenTech Media, says that business news tends to be suggests a greater possibility of a bubble in cleantech than in healthcare. Here are some reasons:

1. Health care is a huge market, but so are global markets for energy, water and materials, so sometimes it might be useful to take a step back and recognize just how early we are in the process of creative destruction of these huge industries.

2. Another reason is that a few cleantech entrepreneurs and investors persist in making bold statements about how their ideas/ investments are going to re-make the world in the blink of an eye.

3. Finally, there’s always confusion about publicly-traded stocks versus venture investments, in terms of thinking about valuations, etc.

Reason two suggests that journalists are wary of hype and while companies need to impress investors, there is going to be a lot of skepticism. From a media point of view, this makes sense. Journalists should be objective and cover all relevant points of view on any story.

Here are some numbers. The US spent $2.5 billion on cleantech in 2007, which was in increase of 67% from 2006. In contrast, healthcare got $10 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion or 17% from the previous year.

And so cleantech is definitely on the radar and there is going to be growth. But for now, healthcare is a hotter sector.

Open Source Green

Popcorn styrofoams in packaging are the stuff of childhood memories, but no more. Due to their volume and their persistence in the environment, companies are phasing them out.

It turns out not only are companies adopting environmentally friendly practices, they are sharing their techniques openly.

Heather McKee writes in EcoGeek:

Inspired by open source movement behind Creative Commons and the Linux OS, the WBCSD and these companies believe that by sharing patents that reduce pollution and waste, they will provide a spawning ground for new collaborations in efficiency and sustainability.

The WBCDSD or World Business Council for Sustainable Development includes big players like IBM, Sony, Nokia, and Pitney Bowes.

I’m sure the penguin would be proud! 🙂

Job Safety

So are we in a recession or are we just hitting a little rough spot? There is still debate but with uncertainty in the minds of many, it may be a good idea where to look for jobs.

Well, the oil and petroleum industries are actively recruiting. While some may not find that to their taste, the entire energy sector is in fact growing and this includes alternative energy.

Robert Rapier, in his R-squared Energy Blog, writes:

I always recommend that people look for something that interests them in either the energy or health care field. I am not as familiar with the manpower issues in the health care field, but we have serious shortages in the energy sector.

Frank Ling is a postdoctoral fellow at the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at UC Berkeley. He is also a producer of the Berkeley Groks Science Show.

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