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About Michael Barnard

Michael Barnard Mike works with startups, existing businesses and investors to identify opportunities for significant bottom line growth in the transforming low-carbon economy. He regularly publishes analyses of low-carbon technology and policy in sites including Newsweek, Slate, Forbes, Huffington Post, Quartz, CleanTechnica and RenewEconomy, with some of his work included in textbooks. Third-party articles on his analyses and interviews have been published in dozens of news sites globally and have reached #1 on Reddit Science. Much of his work originates on Quora.com, where Mike has been a Top Writer annually since 2012. He's available for consultation, speaking engagements and Board positions.



Author Archives: Michael Barnard

Energy Web Foundation: 7 Questions

April 23rd, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

We want to see adoption of the Energy Web chain as the standard blockchain foundation—the digital DNA—of the many applications in development by utilities, energy companies, startups, and others


NORI: Fighting Global Warming With blockchain

April 19th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Nori, a company which recently emerged from stealth, is creating the NORI token. It’s a cryptocurrency token that represents a ton of CO2 removed from the atmosphere and sequestered in one of a number of potential ways. This isn’t a cap-and-trade or carbon-tax system, but a market mechanism which values removed tons of


Cleantech X Blockchain — Survey

April 15th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

CleanTechnica would like to engage the brain trust of our readership to get your opinion on blockchain and cryptocurrencies. For those of you who have not been following along with our Cleantech Blockchain series, or those of you who have been considering upgrading your Nokia cell phone to a Motorola flip phone, here's the difference


No, GM Isn’t Going To Crush Tesla

January 18th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Recently Business Insider published a fairly thoughtful, historically informed, but ultimately inaccurate opinion piece saying that GM just hadn't bothered crushing Tesla yet, but was about to. In other words, it looked backward well, but forward poorly


Blockchain For The Grid: Major Blockchain Technologies

January 15th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

It's safe to say that cleantech is going to involve blockchain and similar distributed ledger approaches. And it's also safe to say that each of the technologies and approaches represented here have better and worse uses. If someone tells you that the answer is only one of these, then you can be pretty sure that they are enthusiasts, not architects


Cryptocurrency’s Electrical Demand Will Drop Drastically

January 12th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

All of the hysteria about cryptocurrency energy use is going to go away in the next few months. The bubble will pop for stale assets like bitcoin, places like China will clamp down on wasting electricity on competitive mining, and everybody else will move to variants of proof-of-stake or perhaps IOTA, which seems to dodge the bullet in a different way


Funding Cleantech With Blockchain: 9 Things To Consider

December 27th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

To avoid regulatory and tax burdens, many ICOs choose their country as carefully as they choose their blockchain base. Given that cryptocurrencies are inherently without country and every regulatory experience is new, this is more reasonable than with IPOs, where both currency and IPO experience in a specific country matter more


Blockchain For The Grid: 5 Use Cases

December 27th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

From buying and selling electricity to raising capital for new ventures to securing the grid and valuing decarbonization directly, innumerable innovators from tiny startups to the largest technology firms and governments in the world are exploring how blockchain technologies can transform


Blockchain Contracts For Electricity: Sweet Spots

December 27th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

As these 3 articles show, blockchain-enabled smart contracts aren't a home run in the utilities sector. There are many cases where the advantages are strongly one-sided. But that doesn't mean that they have no value or that value won't emerge


Blockchain Contracts for Electricity: Underpinnings

December 23rd, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

Blockchain-enabled smart contracts aren't a home run in the utilities sector. There are many cases where the advantages are strongly one-sided. But that doesn't mean that they have no value or that value won't emerge


Tesla vs. Tesla: The Juice In Your Car Will Increasingly Come Through HVDC, Edison’s Preferred Current

December 16th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

So that's HVDC and why the electricity you use will increasingly come through HVDC transmission. It gets more power delivered over longer distances, it's increasingly economically viable, it works better underground, it works better underwater, it can dodge NIMBYs and it reduces the challenge of variable renewable generation. It's one of the top innovations in the world of electricity, and it's coming soon to a grid near you


Ancillary Service Markets & Electronics Are Transforming Grids For The Better

December 13th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

Not all of these ancillary services are currently in a position to take advantage of the advantages of market forces. There is significant regulatory burden in generation, a rational response to an historic natural monopoly. Now that electric grids are liberalizing with the greater ability to have multiple participants competing and driving costs down due to advances both in computerized administration and markets and new supply and demand control technologies, markets and proto-markets are emerging


Bitcoin’s Hot But Blockchain For Cleantech Is Interesting

December 12th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

Bitcoin is very interesting for cleantech for two reasons. One is obvious: the primary currency sucks a lot of electricity, and more electricity demand is good for investment in renewable generation. Of course, a lot of the electricity still comes from carbon-rich fossil fuels too. The second is the underlying technology, blockchain, which has a number of interesting uses emerging in the cleantech space


Conspiracy Theorists, Climate Change Deniers, & The Rejection of Science

December 10th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

The USA especially is in a challenging place right now. A significant portion of the populace although not a majority believes a variety of things which are provably false and appear immune to reason and fact. They are supported by a President who has ridden their willful ignorance to a powerful position, and in turn he continues to feed their warped world view. The USA was built as much on engineering and science as on capitalism. Rejecting it will only hurt a great country, and by extension, the world


A Tesla Model X On Mars Would Require A Few Changes

December 9th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

You could retool a Tesla Model X and drive it around on Mars. But it probably wouldn't end up looking like a Model X. The rover that Mark Watney drove around in the movie based on Andy Weir's great book "The Martian" is much more likely to be what the hacked vehicle would look like


Hydrogen Might Fulfill 3–4% of Total Transportation Fuel Needs

December 9th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

The USA alone uses roughly 220 billion gallons of hydrocarbon fuel a year for transportation. Diverting 3.4% of that to hydrogen as a fuel still displaces 7.5 billion gallons, and the gallons which will be diverted are the most polluting and have the highest greenhouse gas emissions. 


6 of 10 Big Electric Car Companies Are in China

November 23rd, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

Six of the ten companies that appear committed to electrification of their vehicle lines are Chinese. Most of them have international partners, but the international partners are mostly the four that have equivalent commitments


If GM Is Serious, It Will Still Take About 16 Years To Catch Up To Tesla

November 19th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

Chevy plans to put three more cars based on the Chevy Bolt platform on the road by 2021, and then introduce a new modular electric platform supporting at least 20 new vehicles by 2023. If they stick to these plans, a reasonable question is how long it will take before they have more fully electric cars on the roads of the world than Tesla, if ever


7 Reasons The Future Is Electric

November 12th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

Seven concepts -- fungibility, ubiquity, loose coupling, electronics outperforming the physical, human nature, economics and the future already being here -- make it clear that the future is electric


6 Factors Will Hasten Or Defer Peak Oil Demand

November 11th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

We haven’t reached peak consumption, also known as peak demand. We are likely to reach it globally by 2050, but it’s unlikely to occur before 2030 at the very earliest. There are six major factors which make defining exactly when it will occur very difficult


Tesla Has Strong Advantages In Race To Self-Driving Cars

October 22nd, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

Is Tesla still ahead in the race to self-driving cars, or has it fallen back into the pack? I think it still has a much more complete and robust solution set than anyone over several factors which support one another. Other companies are a bit ahead in one component or another, but no one else has the complete set


Hydrogen Isn’t For Cars But Still Might Have A Transportation Role

October 15th, 2017 | by Michael Barnard

Hydrogen seemed like a viable contender to displace a lot of fossil fuels in 2000. But in 2017, it’s not credible for as many applications. We now know very well what it takes to get useful power from fuel cell applications, what it takes to store hydrogen, and what it takes to distribute it. And we know very well the trajectory of battery electric applications, its primary long-term competitor in most situations



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