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Conference Opening

Conference co-chairs Marc Alt and Jill Fehrenbacher opened the Greener Gadgets Conference by asking how many people in the audience were electronics industry members, designers, students or press. As hands went up for each group, it quickly became apparent that the attendees for the conference were a diverse group.

Jill noted that they deigned to name the conference the ‘Greener Gadgets’ conference rather than the ‘Green Gadgets’ Conference because it’s difficult to make an entirely green gadget at this point. With over 400 million gadgets scrapped each year, often inappropriately, it isn’t difficult to agree with her.

With the $15 billion consumer electronic industry growing rapidly, the co-chairs sought to make a change by focusing not only affecting the design of future products, but by affecting the business of consumer electronics as well.

With the three subjects of Materials & Lifecycle, Energy and Social Sustainability headlining the day’s sessions, The Greener Gadgets Conference should be an enlightening and illuminating event.

About the Co-Chairs

Jill Fehrenbacher is the founder and editor-in-chief of Inhabitat.com, as well as a journalist, designer, and green design consultant. She launched Inhabitat in the spring of 2005 as a way to search for ways to improve the world through forward-thinking, high-tech, and environmentally conscious design. Jill is actively involved in the green design community and has helped organize events ranging from HauteGREEN, a sustainable furniture exhibit, to Postopolis, a conference on architecture and new media. Jill’s writing has appeared in Wired, Innovative Home, Archinect and Metropolis Magazine, as well on Inhabitat.

Marc Alt is president of Marc Alt + Partners, a design and marketing agency specializing in environmental brand strategy. Marc speaks frequently to a wide variety of audiences and companies about green design, sustainable innovation and creating value by aligning corporate strategy with environmental and social benefit. As an advocate of sustainability, Marc develops environmental conferences, including Grow , the first conference dedicated to the intersection of design, sustainability and business in New York City. Marc is co-chair the AIGA Center for Sustainable Design, an initiative of AIGA, The Professional Association for Design.

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The big news to come out of last week’s Biodiesel Finance and Investment Summit is this: the biodiesel industry must evolve in order to remain viable.

The crux of this evolution, however, is in what direction and to what end?

The major players in the biodiesel space are presently arriving at a series of crossroads that primarily concern the adoption and development of future feedstocks, technological advancements and alternative business models. Some will succeed, whereas some will inevitably fail. The decisions made within the biodiesel industry in the next few years will determine the top of the food chain in the biofuels feeding frenzy.

Failed first generation biofuels operations are already filing for bankruptcy, soon to be gobbled up or picked apart by their more flexible, forward-looking counterparts. There are a number of one-dimensional plants halting development or canceled outright for this reason alone. There is blood in the water and a lot of it points back to the issue of feedstocks. (more…)

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