Top 10 Earth2Tech Stories of 2008

We’ve brought you the victories and the disappointments of the year in cleantech, and now here’s a top 10 list that’s a little more personal: The top 10 Earth2Tech stories of 2008. The list is a combo of reader favorites — page views and number of comments — along with editor’s favorites, because there were some stories that made me glad to be part of this team this year. Let’s take a look at them in descending order, Letterman-style:

10) Video: Solar + Robots = AWESOME: This post is proof that you shouldn’t edit a green technology website if you can’t celebrate your geekiness. I shot this mini video of these robots stacking solar panels — digg loved it and so did you.

9) FAQ: Thin-Film Solar: You liked it because thin-film solar is confusing and you want to know more about the technologies, the players and the market.

8) 11 Companies Racing to Build U.S. Cellulosic Ethanol Plants: Yes, cellulosic ethanol companies were definitely racing through the first three-quarters of 2008, all claiming they’d be the first to produce cellulosic ethanol. Towards the end of the year that turned into more of a stroll, and in some cases, a crawl. Will the race be declared DOA in 2009? Biofuels sure don’t have the backing they used to and the corn ethanol markets are ugly.

7) Pics of the First Production Tesla Roadster: Sometimes you’d rather see it than read about it. Particularly if it’s the first Tesla Roadster ever made being delivered. Of course nowadays Tesla isn’t even sure if it’s building its factory to produce the Model S, but at one point you guys cared.

6) Earth2Tech Maps: 101 Cleantech Startups: We love us some Google (s GOOG) maps! And in 2008 we plotted 101 cleantech startups that we’ve covered. We’ll continue to update the map in 2009, and bring you another round of where the up-and-coming will be located.

5) Hyperion’s Nuclear-In-A-Box Ready By 2013: Ah Hyperion… one of the more — how should we put it? — unusual clean power ideas out there. A hot tub-sized nuclear battery that developers can bury beneath rural off-grid villages and provide a significant amount of carbon-free power. It’s $25 million for nuclear-in-a-box — any takers?

4) 25 Who Ditched Infotech for Cleantech: We started looking at the intersection between infotech and cleantech back in May with this list of entrepreneurs who had abandoned IT for green. More project than post, we profiled each of the execs that decided to take the plunge and join the climate change fight.

3) T. Boone Pickens: Kicking Off the World’s Largest Wind Farm: Readers couldn’t get enough of the 80-year-old hedge fund manager turned cleantech junkie, T. Boone Pickens, this year. But while the Pickens wind farm may have faltered by the end of 2008, the post still gets supportive comments for the man with a plan. If you skim the almost 100 comments there’s several dozen asking Pickens to contact them directly — he’s got some real fans!

2) Pictures of Dell’s Eco Bamboo Computer: Who knew that some hastily snapped photos of Dell’s bamboo-encased PC at the Fortune Brainstorm Green Conference could cause such a stir? At the time readers, seemed surprised that Dell was taking such a green marketing angle, but by now Dell has had more than its fair share of green announcements.

1) 15 Algae Startups Bringing Pond Scum to Fuel Tanks: This algae primer featured over a dozen startups trying to crack the algae-to-fuel code and was the big winner of the year, in terms of both page views and comments. While other non-food forms of ethanol — from switchgrass to plant waste — seemed to stall in 2008, the idea of algae fuel moved up in the ranks, and Googlers looked for which companies will lead the algae race. Or maybe readers liked the Britney Spears reference. Who knows.