You are here


Three Reasons You Need a SlideShare Account


Whether you’re looking for eye-catching infographics or informative smart grid presentations, odds are if you’ve Googled it the lion’s share of the results came from SlideShare.

Never heard of it? Add it to bookmarks, it’s your new best friend.

SlideShare, in essence, is a massive global community and one of the largest repositories for presentations on the Web.

Reasons to like this dynamic content community abound, but for the sake of brevity we’ve listed some no-brainers to show why SlideShare’s worth its weight in PowerPoints.

Reason 1: Impressive Global Reach and Community Engagement

While SlideShare is great place to find helpful how-tos and exceptional thought leadership, there’s more than meets the eye.

Try these on for size: According to recent stats published by, SlideShare gets about 500 percent more site traffic from business owners than LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube combined.

Equally impressive, the community is ranked as one of the top 120 most-visited websites globally and, according to its site, sees an average of 60 million unique visitors every month.

You’re talking millions of global users, tuned in and ready to engage with your brand, your content and your services. Oh and did we mention it’s free to join?

Reason 2: Extensive Search and Site Traffic Generator

All SlideShare presentations are public and highly searchable, which can significantly improve the chances your content will be found through organic search.

To maximize this exposure, some of the best efforts can be including links to your website within your presentation and help drive visitors to your respective site.

Better yet, adding specific calls to action and direct links to specific corporate pages – say your services sections – can ensure new visitors get to the most important content first and, hopefully, drive some new leads in the process.

Reason 3: Exciting Insights and Influencer Portal

While there are a number of ways to market your content and drive traffic, global or not, one of the often over-looked advantages of SlideShare is its research potential.

You have access to global presentations, findings and insights from across the globe. Streamlining your search and helping you find the stats, sources and new ideas in one easy-to-navigate community.

Like LinkedIn, SlideShare also has a host of industry experts and includes presentations from recent conferences, giving you unfettered access to some of the best and brightest – without the expensive plane tickets.

What’s not to like?

Check out some of the most-popular presentations and get more inspiration through The SlideShare Blog.

Produce by: Gretchen Fitzgibbons

Ignore this – Environmental Advocacy As Art

Art as advocacy

Innovative art is often described as a 'breath of fresh air.'

Beijing artist, Liang Kegang, has taken this concept to a new level with his latest piece – a sealed jar of clean air. The air collected in Provence, France sold for $860 at a Beijing art auction last month.

When asked about the work, Kegang was quoted saying the commodification of fresh air served, “to question China's foul air and express my dissatisfaction."

Dissatisfaction is an understatement when discussing much of China's air quality. Smog causes the premature death of roughly 350,000 to 500,000 Chinese citizens a year according to China’s former health minister, Chen Zhu. Last year Beijing’s air was on average about 10 times more polluted than levels considered healthy by the World Health Organization.

Kegang is one of a host of Chinese artists who’ve begun drawing international attention to China’s serious air pollution problem. While these particular eco-artists’ focus is on China, their simple yet effective messaging should translate globally.

Environmental art, like grassroots initiatives, illustrates that micro-programs and individual advocacy can be catalysts for lasting change. The concept we’re calling ‘eco-art’ demonstrates environmental innovation and stewardship can take root when they’re connected with an emotion or more personal experience.

We’ll continue to explore this interplay between art and clean tech over the coming month, isolating key messages to help drive public awareness and policy.

As a start, we have a rundown of some recent eco-art programs receiving global attention:

January 2014: Notorious Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei posts a picture of himself in a gas mask on Twitter to express his frustration with abysmal air quality.

February 2014: Twenty Beijing artists sporting gas masks play dead in front of the city’s popular Temple of Heaven Park.

March 2014: Artists in Changsha hold a mock funeral for what they imagined would be the death of the city’s last citizen due to smog.

March 30, 2014: Chengdu-based artist Li Yongzheng is the highest bidder for Liang Kegang’s jar of fresh air. The Chinese entrepreneur pays 5,250 yuan ($860) for the piece.

The intimate nature of these gestures reminds us of what is on the line, and it’s inherently shareable, lending itself nicely to proliferation in the social media sphere.

North American clean technology advocates can take notes from the passion and simplicity demonstrated by these Chinese artists, potentially tapping into their own creative messaging to craft statements that stick.

Produced by: Remi Dalton

*Note: Since publishing this blog, Ai Weiwei has developed a series of new eco-advocacy projects and recently posted a gallery site well-worth visiting at:

Electric Vehicles Unplugged?


Where these next-generation electric cars are going, we don’t need plugs.

In late 2013, Yelloblu reported on the state of the electric vehicle (EV) market, highlighting how improved access to EV charging stations could make eco-friendly cars more appealing to consumers.

Frustrated by the continued lack of convenient charging stations, some automakers are looking to remove the need to plug in altogether and see more sustainable energy sources as the key to EV proliferation.

This past week at CES 2014, for example, Ford unveiled its newest electric concept car, which boasts a series of solar roof panels built into the C-MAX plug-in hybrid.

Solar and EVs might seem like an obvious match, but even after spending an entire day in the sun, the power generated is negligible. Toyota’s solar-paneled Prius, for instance, can only harness enough solar energy to run its ventilation fan.

To help resolve low output, Ford’s latest prototype pairs their solar car with a specially designed car canopy comprised of an acrylic roof called a “Fresnel lens.” Similar to a magnifying glass, the Fresnel lens concentrates the sun’s rays during peak hours and transfers them directly onto the vehicle’s solar panels, boosting the impact by a factor of eight.

Additionally, as the sun moves across the sky, Ford’s prototype is able to independently move back and forth under the canopy – ensuring it’s maximizing energy as the sun passes overhead.

After 6 hours of magnified charging, the Ford hybrid is said to be capable of traveling up to 21 miles, a range that covers the average trek for over half of the country's commuters.

While relying on a specially designed solar canopy isn’t exactly cost effective, it’s a step in the right direction and a promising development for the electric car market. And as the price of solar panels continues to fall, we're getting much closer to spending less plug-in time and more travel time away from the grid – at least, until sunset.

Produced by: Patrick French

Recharging the Electric Vehicle Market

Recharging the Electric Vehicle Market

Why the fate of the electric car hinges on consumers’ ability to plug in.

Electrical vehicles have grown in popularity over recent years due to increasing gas prices and a thirst for U.S. energy independence. But with a variety of electric vehicles already on the market, why haven’t innovative cars like the Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S become ubiquitous sights at every stoplight?

The short answer: consumers have limited options to recharge their vehicles. For decades, our transportation economy has been built around convenient access to gasoline and diesel stations. Making the challenge for EV's not simply about cost differentials, but accessibility to nationwide recharging stations.

President Obama’s goal for 2015 is 1 million electric cars on the road, but if we plan on hitting those lofty goals, it will require far more than a few extra charging stations. Widespread electric vehicle adoption will call for serious adjustments to our transportation infrastructure.

Without a Socket

Electric vehicles have yet to compete with the range of standard gas-fueled cars. The majority of EV charging needs to be done overnight. Even with an upgraded 240-volt outlet, a standard battery takes 4-8 hours to charge. It is recommended that homeowners invest in home charging stations but high price barriers make it increasingly challenging. And even in large buildings, it’s difficult for landlords to make these kinds of investments when only a few tenants drive electric vehicles.

According to a Carnegie Mellon University study, less then half of electric car owners are without consistent access to overnight charging. If electric car owners cannot conveniently charge their cars, manufacturers and politicians have an uphill battle to drive EV adoption.

A Rechargeable Future

Some states acknowledge these issues and have begun passing legislation. California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont collaborated and announced last month that they are requiring installation of chargers at workplaces, multi-family apartments and at other locations.

Walgreens has offered its own private sector solution, installing charging stations at 800 of its locations – with chargers that deliver as much as 30 miles in 10 minutes. Both of these measures are positive strides toward widespread EV adoption, but considerable progress still needs to be made.

Whether the public or private sectors choose to take the lead, the future of electric vehicles hangs in the balance of convenience. Until it’s just as easy to recharge as it is to refuel, electric vehicles will continue to be held down by their limited range and high price tags.

Produced by Dan Spethmann

The Untapped Power of Quora, Pinterest and Google+

Connected world

Some unexpected social tricks to drive traffic and search performance.

When it comes to marketing strategy, we think of brands as diverse ecosystems, made up of interconnected elements that have to work in harmony for brands to flourish.

Like natural environments, these brand environments function best when supporting elements (social media) fit into larger systems (SEM) in a truly symbiotic relationship.

Using this dynamic view, we can help uncover untapped brand potential, especially in social marketing. There’s a lot to it, but for the sake of this blog we’ll focus our attention on Pinterest, Google+ and Quora.

Skeptical? Stay with us. You might be surprised how these social media channels can generate new opportunities and get brands one step closer to becoming one cohesive marketing ecosystem.

Google’s latest social pet project, Google+, has been seamlessly integrated with Google’s search engine and Gmail services – the likely source for the network’s whopping 359M+ active users. Yes, Google Hangouts are cool and it’s one of the few male-dominated social sites, but its true value stems from its direct ties to Google’s search engine.

That’s right, as Google continues to integrate Google+ into its web services, brands will be able to take advantage of their presences and use branded content to shape search performance. Gaming the system? Not really; think of it as content marketing backed by Google.

Tips for Implementing Google+:

  • Create a Google+ corporate account and add it to your other branded sites
  • Repurpose content from other internal sources, including corporate blogs or Twitter feeds, to continually refresh your network (and search results)
  • Optimize content by using brand keywords and site links to boost search
  • Post regularly to provide fresh content and bolster Google page rankings
  • Connect the dots by tying Google+ posts to current PR, SEM and sales efforts; ensuring they’re easy to search, informative and ranked above the fold
    • Unlike Twitter or LinkedIn, these posts can resemble ads, as SEO is the main goal vs. user engagement

For brands unfamiliar with Pinterest it’s time to get acquainted. This influential photo-sharing site has over 25 million users and generates more referral traffic than YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined (according to a recent Forbes article).

It’s still heavily dominated by women (84 percent of users) and high-income visitors, but represents one of the fastest-growing social networks on the web. Retailers have been the biggest players in the space so far, using it as a reliable e-commerce option and brand recognition engine.

When it comes to cleantech, green businesses have to be brave, and savvy enough, to stake their claim before competitors – especially as industries like solar become more dependent on female consumers.

Tips for Implementing Pinterest:

  • Become a Pinterest authority by adding a corporate profile (logo, bio, etc.)
  • Curate quality content by sourcing site and branded imagery that promote:
    • Green, eco-friendly lifestyles
    • Interesting infographics
    • New technology features and applications
    • Engaging multimedia demos
  • Drive referrals investingby pinning high-quality content from others to build rapport, trust and expand your reach (and thus referrals)
  • Track referrals on your site, determining which elements had the biggest impact
  • Write informative descriptors and tags to take advantage of Pinterest search features, while expanding reach on and off the network

A more real-time version of wiki-Answers, Quora was started by two former Facebook engineers and has grown to 500,000+ active global users. The Q&A site gained popularity in 2010, as tech innovators like Robert Scoble sang its praises and helped forge its role as an intellectual hub for entrepreneurs and investors.

Quora has largely been ignored by brands and remains an academic forum that’s ripe for the picking. Its two most impressive assets: influential professional audiences and powerful search features.

Both offer pioneering brands unfettered access to promote industry expertise, while helping to easily identify underserved industries and engage real-time with quality sales leads. What’s not to like?

Tips for Implementing Quora:

  • Lead by example and get engaged personally, build on-going credibility and source new lead opportunities for sales representatives slow to make the shift
  • Follow relevant Quora questions and blogs, opting in for email recaps to stay abreast of the most dynamic discussions
  • Engage directly with influencers and prospects, keeping it friendly and informative without being too self-promotional
  • Leverage the forum’s brain trust to source new trends and identify areas where brands can provide more education/industry expertise

Do you use Quora regularly or contemplated adding a Google+ profile? Share your experiences with us here, via LinkedIn or Twitter (@Yelloblu), and we’ll factor them into our next social marketing post later this month.

Produced by: Gretchen Fitzgibbons

The Wave of the Future May Be Down Under

Wave Energy

How Australia’s revolutionary wave technology could produce power and fresh water with zero emissions.

The ocean has long been one of our closest allies. It’s allowed us to discover new lands, feed entire communities, and cool off in the summer heat. But it’s only very recently that the ocean, in all its vastness, has finally become an efficient and reliable source of renewable energy.

Researchers at Carnegie Wave Energy Limited in Western Australia have just redrawn the boundaries of wave energy technology by creating a system to generate efficient electricity and produce fresh drinking water through reverse osmosis.

The technology, named CETO (after the Greek goddess of sea monsters), is powered by a system of buoys anchored to the ocean floor. As waves roll in, the buoys move up and down, pumping high-pressure water to shore. This piston-like pumping action shoots water into hydroelectric turbines and creates electricity.

Unlike previous wave energy systems, CETO’s buoys are fully submerged. The buoys aren’t visible from shore, stemming complaints about the technology marring beautiful costal views. In addition to aesthetics, CETO’s full submersion provides another benefit: safety. By operating under the surface, CETO’s buoys are protected from the elements, allowing them to withstand harsh conditions that may be present during storms, and remain out of the way of watercraft.

Where CETO shines brighter than other, however, is in its ability to produce fresh water in addition to electricity. The hydraulic system that generates energy can also produce fresh water more efficiently and cost-effectively than any other wave energy device.

Previous wave energy systems rely on outside electricity to power pumps that draw in huge amounts of seawater for the desalination process. CETO takes out the middleman. The electricity that would have been required to pump water is removed from the equation, and CETO’s buoys pump high-pressure water directly to shore. This cuts greenhouse gas emissions from the process entirely, and reduces operating and capital costs.

The key distinguishing factor with CETO’s process is a way to potentially generate electricity and water with zero emissions. Two valuable outputs with one streamlined system.

CETO units have been deployed off the coast of Western Australia, but have yet to produce scalable results with respect to MW energy production and desalination. A second stage of the project is set to connect their buoys to the grid in early 2014. We’ll be revisiting this topic later in the year to see if wave energy technologies like CETO can deliver on their promises when put to the test.

Produced By: Patrick French

Energy and waste go together like clean and tech

Energy and waste go together like clean and tech

Ever contacted the sanitation department to retrieve something you lost down the drain? Jewelry? Keys? A turtle? Dentures, even?

Or maybe you’ve never felt strongly enough about a nick-nack or a pet to go through such indignity. Now what if you lost 350 billion kWh of energy down the drain? What then?

According to New Scientist magazine, the US pulls the plug on that much energy every year. After paying good money to heat baths, dishwashers, sinks and washing machines, we flush all that hot water away. Affluence, meet effluent.

On average, that wasted heat warms the sewer to a useless 60°F. Around the world, cities are now going back to get that precious energy. In Oslo, Norway, for example, engineers are reversing the principles of refrigeration to drag heat up from under the city.

Large coils containing refrigerant fluid extract heat from the sewer and carry it above ground. It’s then concentrated to 194°F using compressors and piped to 13,000 apartments. In Vancouver, a similar system was used to provide 70% of the heating for the 2010 Winter Olympics village.

With progressive farmers already proving there’s good methane energy in effluent—generating up to 4 kWh per cow, per day—this is just another way to rethink the relationship between energy and waste.

Produced by Eammon Conaghan

A shot in the arm for solar

A shot in the arm for solar

Described as “the Apollo Mission of our time,” recent figures suggest the Department of Energy’s ambitious drive to achieve grid parity for solar has been embraced by the private sector.

Launched in 2011, the SunShot Initiative’s Incubator program invested $17 million in seven companies with the aim of cutting the cost of solar electricity by 75%.

Stimulated by the show of political will, private investors have rushed to support the same companies, to the tune of $1.6 billion in 12 months. Such a flood of private capital shows that, under the right circumstances, business has a good appetite for clean energy.

SunShot aims to lower barriers to solar adoption by bringing the cost-to-consumer down to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Their strategies for reaching these goals include:

1) Reducing the cost of PV solar cells while increasing efficiency and new market
2) Shortening the pathway to commercialization for promising technologies and strengthening local solar manufacturing
3) Reducing the cost of concentrating solar power (CSP) and developing utility-scale solutions
4) Investments in education, policy analysis and technical assistances
5) Promoting training within the US workforce to increase solar job creation

Having already brought renewed investment to the sector, it is also hoped that SunShot will reduce some of the “red tape” associated with solar permits and inspections. That could have an equally important affect on solar’s commercial attractiveness.

Watch this space for a profile of some of the innovative technologies flowing out of the program.

Posted by: Julia Sparkman

Follow us on twitter @yelloblu.

No more “Second City”: Chicago as a cleantech leader

No more "Second City": Chicago as a cleantech leader

Chicago’s green credentials are well established. We’re America’s only recycled city (rebuilt 1872), we’re nicknamed after renewable energy and our Cubs do their darnedest to prevent fans from bothering to drive to Wrigley.

Now the co-founder of the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA), Shawn Lesser has listed ten more reasons why we can, and should, be a cleantech hub. As managing partner of trans-Atlantic investment bank, Watershed Capital Group, Lesser’s opinion comes with serious credentials.

His list is below. Seeing as it was first published in February 2011, we’ve taken the liberty of updating it to account for intervening developments.

1) Employment

Exelon and the SunPower Corporation are helping make Chicago a center for green employment. The 2012 World Business Chicago report, A Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, shows we’re now the US’s second-largest center for clean jobs, with 79,388.

2) Chicago cleantech companies

Chicago is home to many large cleantech corporations, including heavyweights such as SoCore Energy and G-Tech Energy, Inc. Other reports also indicate significant advancement in the cleantech startup sector.

3) Chicago Climate Action Plan

As of October 2010, the Department of Energy had retrofitted 19,000 homes with energy efficient improvements; 30,000 square feet of green roofs had been established by the Department of Aviation; and energy-efficient code updates had been mandated by the Department of Buildings.

4) Keeping it green

Our mayors make moves. At the time of Lesser’s report, Daley had created the Chicago Green Office Challenge and Chicago Climate Action Plan. Now Rahm Emanuel is showing similar dedication.

Prior to taking office, he said: “People want to invest in our city…And I want to make clean technology the cornerstone of that investment.”

Since taking control, his legislation has prompted ComEd to invest $2.6 billion modernizing Chicago’s smart grid technologies.

5) Chicago Clean Energy Alliance

Providing networking opportunities to businesses in wind, solar, biomass, biofuel and general cleantech sectors, the Chicago Clean Energy Alliance (CCEA) is alive and well. Just last week, they hosted a successful cleantech pitch competition in association with the GCCA.

6) The residents of Chicago

Chicagoans are embracing renewable energy through the Chicago Climate Action Plan. We’ve also seen significant activity from the Chicago Green Homes Program, which promotes water-, waste- and energy-efficient residential living.

7) Chicago as an international cleantech business center

A variety of global cleantech companies have set up headquarters here, including Chinese wind energy company, Goldwind, plus Johnson Controls, Siemens Building Technologies and Schneider Electric.

8) Education and awareness

Awareness programs are driving greater community interest in sustainable housing. The Museum of Science and Industry’s “Smart House” and the Chicago Centre for Green Technology both showcase the upside of eco-friendly housing. In doing so, they’re growing the market for residential-focused cleantech companies.

Universities are also introducing cleantech programs into their curriculum. DePaul, IIT, and UIC all feature programs, while the University of Chicago has a cleantech lab.

9) Mainstreaming cleantech

City officials have set ambitious goals for the expansion of sustainability initiatives. By 2020, they want 50% of Chicago buildings to be energy efficient and 35% to consume zero carbon-derived energy. They also want 90% of new construction to be built green.

10) Improved transportation systems

In conjunction with the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE) and the US Department of Transportation, Chicago is developing a High-Speed Rail Plan to promote environmentally friendly transportation.

What to learn more? Follow us on twitter: @yelloblu

Posted by: Julia Sparkman

How to save the world in 5 minutes: pitching cleantech

How to save the world in 5 minutes: pitching cleantech

You’ve got 5 minutes to convince me you can save the planet. Oh, and save lots of money. All while mastering powerpoint. Now, go.

Ten startups gave it their best shot on Thursday at the Chicago Clean Energy Alliance’s cleantech pitch competition. Presenting to a panel of veteran investors and entrepreneurs, they entered the race to become a Global Cleantech Cluster Association-endorsed prospect.

What did we learn? Well, for starters, the wait could almost be over for seawater that desalinates itself (using wave technology). And stand by for the world’s usable gas reserves to leap 30%, thanks to a high-temperature combustion engine that could run on H2S. While you’re at it, throw a water canister in your trunk because you might soon be able to mix it with diesel for cleaner transportation.

The thinking was as grand as it was varied. But therein lies the challenge. How do you pitch such a big idea in such a short time? Speaking with audience members afterwards, this is what some of the presenters could have done better.

Start strong

Hit your audience between the eyes with the big benefit straight away and backfill the details later. Context is vitally important but don’t start with it. Find your hook and dangle it immediately to keep people wanting more. And keep it punchy; the phrase “elevator pitch” was invented before we could build half mile-high buildings. If you need to change the font size to fit your headline on a slide, that’s a bad sign.

Get your frames of reference right

Science units and business units are very different. Convert your hard metrics into language that VCs understand. More often than not, that’s $/foot, $/kW and $/day. If you don’t have all the financials together, then at least use layman measurements or analogy. That will also help when explaining your magic to journalists.

Be unremarkable

Yes, you need to be innovative and hold a patent but that’s about all. Other than that, it’s better if your technology doesn’t sound like it’s off the pages of a sci fi novel. Earth-shattering breakthroughs are really, really hard work and most people just don’t have the stomach for a paradigm shift. So yes, be enthused and by all means talk up the applications but understate the science if you can.

Keep it real

Admit what you don’t know. Investors are misled for a living. Only your spouse will be better at picking when you’re glossing over something. Better to concede any oversights in your plan and retain the audience’s trust for another day. Besides which, fallibility is human and the ability to admit it, endearingly so. It will make you likeable.

What’s the angle?

The technology’s cool and all, but where does it fit in today’s economy? Who are you selling it to and why will they break with the status quo to use it? It’s important to stay focused here. Even if there are dozens of applications, pick one and blow it out. Your selection criteria for that one application is simple—go for the lowest hanging fruit, where there are least barriers to implementation. This tells investors how close they are to their first revenues.

Let it slide

Slides don’t give presentations, people do. Dense slides compete for attention. An audience that’s frantically trying to make sense of your slide won’t be listening to you. Clean slides with fewer characters and bigger fonts will make the whole experience clearer and less fatiguing for the people you’re pitching.

What to learn more? Follow us twitter @yelloblu.

Posted by: Eammon Conaghan


Subscribe to Cleantech