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17 Pacific Northwest Teams Are Regional Semifinalists

Posted by at 9:18 AM, 06/21/2011

The Pacific Northwest region is pleased to announce its largest ever class of Semifinalists for the 2011 competition. Out of 30 applicants, 17 were selected to continue the competition and participate in the Cleantech Open's mentoring and Academy programs in preparation for final judging in the Fall.

Once again this year, we had a strong showing of highly qualified applicants, making the first-round judging challenging. This year's semifinalists are predominantly in two categories: Energy Generation/Renewables and Green Building. Smaller numbers of semifinalists are in AirWaterWaste, Efficiency, Smart Power/Grid and Transportation, with all six of Cleantech Open's categories represented in the region. The semifinalists are (with web addresses if available):

Clarian Power, Seattle, WA (Smart Power/Grid)
Currently, there is no automated way to connect and activate the increasing array of 'smart' consumer appliances and sync them with the power grid. Clarian’s Device Activation Platform streamlines the connection process, provides a full inventory of devices connected to the utility network with the ability to control and revoke access as devices come online, and backed by a robust business rules schema. Think VeriSign for smart-grid devices. And the Clarian Energy Data Service overlays device info with demographic data to identify growth and problem areas in advance with the ability aggregate RECs and green credits. Think Zillow for smart homes and devices. Clarian is a returning 2009 Cleantech Open alumnus.

Conscious Commuter
, Portland, OR (Transporation)
Conventional e-bikes and folding e-bikes are aren't sustainably built, are too heavy, don’t fold small enough to easily store on a bus, train or in an office, and chain drive e-bikes aren't grease free. Conscious Commuter is developing a folding electric bicycle using recycled materials and sustainable design. Our initial “first and last mile” solution will solve a significant piece of the transportation puzzle to give commuters a more integrated commuting experience. Current bike share schemes assume the same facility at each end of the commute, whereas the folding e-bike provides a seamless experience.

e~Tech, Portland, OR (Green Building)
Breakthrough housing design and construction process resulting in housing that requires a fraction of the energy of an equivalent Model Energy Code home and can add the BI~SOLAR roof projected to cost less than a conventional residential roof BEFORE credits/rebates. The construction systems are composed of over 60% waste yet initial dynamic engineering showed they will survive the harshest weather forces, and includes a non-concrete – no curing required, frost-free foundation with built-in drainage and insulation that installs as fast as the excavator can dig.

GreenPrint, Portland, OR  (Efficiency)
GreenPrint software helps large organizations optimize printing and eliminate waste, as well as helping Printer OEMs and managed print service providers increase profits. GP PreView+, has consistently reduced printing consumption by over 20% in Fortune 500 environments by simply eliminating unwanted pages before they are printed, saving the average Fortune 500 company over $2.5 million per year.

GreenSimian, Seattle, WA  (Energy Generation/Renewables)
The SolCurve platform is a chipset, software and thin-film photovoltaic that can harvest light in speeds and capacity substantial enough to deliver meaningful charge to pervasive lithium-batteries in smartphones and other consumer devices.

GridMobility, Kirkland, WA  (Smart Power/Grid)
Renewable Demand Response™ software time-shifts electricity use based on renewable electricity delivery. RDR is deployed by the Bonneville Power Administration and a WA State utility in the residential and storage markets, and will soon be implemented by major Fortune 500 companies and other utilities nationwide in the commercial, industrial, and EV markets.

HM3 Energy, Gresham, OR  (Energy Generation/Renewables)
TorrB™ technology converts biomass into torrefied briquettes for substitute fuel in coal-fired power plants without any plant modifications and at a nearly equal cost to coal while being GHG-neutral and offering 20% more usable energy per pound. HM3 has received independent technology validation and awards from the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc.

IDEAbuilder, Seattle/Portland (Green Building)
Application of robotic fabrication and real-time design and simulation technologies to address the growing global market for architecturally-compelling, high-performance green buildings constructed using advanced fabrication and modularization systems in 1/3 of the time and at lower cost than conventional buildings constructed by traditional building companies - thereby making green building affordable to the mass market.

Indow Windows, Portland, OR (Green Building)
43% of USA residences still have single pane windows. Indow Windows are thermal inserts that press into place on the inside of a window frame without any nails, screws, or adhesives to deliver double pane window performance at a fraction of the price. Previously, expensive double pane window replacement projects were often financed by home equity loans or steep home value escalation. Both supports for the double pane window replacement market have collapsed; Indow Windows is entering this vacuum in the market with a unique product that offers an unprecedented combination of aesthetics, ease of installation, performance, and return on investment.

Innovative Invironments LLC, Eugene, OR (Green Building)
SolarStream™ Awning System provides customers a three-in-one system which optimizes a building’s energy performance by:  1) saving energy through reducing environmental loads placed on a building's envelope and HVAC system, 2) generating clean energy with photovoltaics and 3) a patent-pending daylight redirection luminaire for glare-free daylighting of indoor environments.  SolarStream™ is designed for retrofit and new construction with substantial savings via simple construct-ability and flat-shipment design appropriate for small contractors and installers as well as for experienced DIY crews.

MotoVolta, Kent, WA (Transportation)
Automobiles have historically been the main focus for alternative energy transportation, however MOTORCYCLES actually generate over 4X more carbon emissions per mile than an SUV. MotoVolta is developing scalable electric powertrain technology that will revolutionize the motorcycle industry starting with an e-cycle with 600cc comparable performance. MotoVolta's proprietary powertrain system is also scalable to use in other applications requiring clean power generation.

Mountain Logic, Snoqualmie Pass, WA (Green Building)
The MountainLogic residential heating system can cut 50% from the heating/cooling costs of the 80% of US homes that use central forced air HVAC systems, offering home owners a simple means to control room temperature, conserve energy, and respond to coming smart grid demand response signals for their largest energy usage. It includes wireless automated airflow dampers and self-programming sensors that learn the patterns of the occupants.

SkyMill Energy, Friday Harbor, WA (Energy Generation/Renewables)
Wind is the planet’s largest concentrated source of renewable energy, yet 99.9% is above the reach of conventional wind turbines. SkyMill Energy is the only system with the technical capability to reach the ever-powerful JET STREAM winds. Validated by corporate and academic engineers in the US and India, SkyMill’s high altitude tethered rotary-airfoil economically taps this abundant resource. The Asian jet stream winds are stable and strong enough to provide continuous base and peak load power, and contain enough harvestable energy to cost effectively supply all India and China’s winter power needs.

Three Dimensional Timberlands, Ophir, OR  (Energy Generation/Renewables)
Three Dimensional Timberlands, LLC. pursues two complimentary business opportunities: 1) to develop Biomass Pyrolysis plants, utilizing waste to produce alternatives to petroleum-based products, and 2) to ACQUIRE and MANAGE high-quality timberland to support its Pyrolysis facilities and to supply timber for the national and international lumber markets. 3DT’s proprietary advanced biomass pyrolysis will produce bio-oil, biochar, and torrefied wood as replacements for fossil fuels. Second, through sustainable forestry management, produce timber for the domestic and international lumber markets. Our goal is to have all the timberlands that 3DT owns and manages to be certified sustainable by The Sustainable Forestry Initiative program.

Versalence, Camas, WA (Energy Generation/Renewables)
Department of Energy (DOE) projects the U.S. could double hydropower with minimal impacts to the environment, in part, by use of low impact turbines. Versalence has developed a system using a floating turbine, generator and grid connection system to generate significant electricity in free stream flow as low as 3 mph. This system may either be mounted on an expandable, moveable barge in river system and tidal areas,  or in a series of concrete pads at the foot of dams, in tail races and in stable river flows.

Vorsana, Portland, OR  (Air, WATER, Waste)
The Vorsana Electrokinetic Desalinator is a simple electro-mechanical separator that can be used for effective clean up of water with dissolved contaminants, with no added heat, chemicals, dead-end filters, membranes, ion exchange, electrodialysis, or distillation. It represents an inexpensive and easily scalable improvement in industrial wastewater processing and cleaning of brine waste from oil and gas processing.

WISErg, Redmond, WA (Energy Generation/Renewables)
WISErg's unique two-phase anaerobic digestion technology uses a community's own compostable food waste to sustainably produce organic fertilizer and a renewable energy co-product available for real-time use by a co-located natural gas consumer, reducing fossil gas costs and gaining clean energy credit eligibility. WISErg's model integrates into the existing waste handling process minimizing transportation requirements and they are already engaged with groceries, cities, fertilizer distributors and waste processing firms.

Congratulations to all of the Pacific Northwest 2011 Cleantech Open Semifinalists! We salute your innovation, drive, and enthusiasm for addressing today’s most urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges.

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“It’s better to surf where there are waves and the swells are gigantic!”

Posted by at 6:47 PM, 09/03/2009

By Carole Low, Clean Tech Open Volunteer. Thanks Carole!

Smart Grid & Energy Storage: Next Waves of Innovation”

With recent political, environmental, and economic impetus, “Smart Grid” is one of the clean tech buzzwords of 2009. How can entrepreneurs, corporations, investors, and customers looking for the path to build, enable, and grow the smart grid infrastructure succeed in this undefined territory? What are the technologies that will be the backbone of this new “energy internet”? Our panel explores the regulatory, technology, investing, and corporate efforts and challenges involved in the smart grid and energy storage.

Carole reports from the event...

“It’s better to surf where there are waves and the swells are gigantic!”
Warren Jenson
Chief Financial Officer
Silver Spring Networks

The August 2009 Smart Power Symposium, “Smart Grid & Energy Storage: Next Waves of Innovation” hit the sweet spot for the 240 attendees seeking future opportunities. A diverse panel, consisting of a vendor, an investor, an industry analyst, and a technology marketer, and led by the moderator from Greentech Media, offered their insightful perspectives on what matters and what’s next. Answers to thought-provoking questions (listed below) shed light for many.

I’ve reined in my enthusiasm for pouring out a play-by-play of this event. However, I’ve highlighted a handful of key takeaways below. To get the full benefit of a dynamic discussion like this, you’ll want to attend the next Clean Tech Open event yourself, so  hope to see you there.

50,000-foot view

“How can we rethink and address the problems today and in the future? Customers are looking for new efficiencies and technologies.” Laura Pickering, NetApp vice president, Office of the CEO & Environmental Responsibility Advocate pointedly asked the audience.

Warren Jenson from Silver Spring Networks, a seasoned CFO with roots previously established at GE’s NBC, Delta,, and Electronic Arts, then shared his company’s vision and how it related to entrepreneurs who were developing solutions for the smart grid. Warren candidly shared, “I’ve done a few things right and plenty of things wrong. There has been a ton of lessons and a ton still to learn.”

He asserted that we need a smart grid that seamlessly connects all people and devices that generate, distribute, or use energy.  Next, he explained Silver Springs Network’s role in driving energy efficiency as an operation system for the smart grid. As an example, Warren pointed out, “We are sitting in PG&E’s smart grid. There are a million connection points with PG&E at the front of it.”

Smart Power at a Glance

Goal:                             Energy efficiency is the key.
What’s involved:             Connect everything from the back office to any device.
Scale and economics:      Aim for ubiquitous and cost-effectiveness use of IP.
Locations:                      Grids are everywhere. Think global.
Timing:                         This is a marathon.

Warren’s Four Points on Smart Power and the Internet until 2020

  • Creation of the smart grid is an imperative.
  • Efficiency is the key to the global energy equation.
  • Consumers will be part of the solution for the first time.
  • A whole new platform – new applications and devices.

With those comments to tee up the evening, the moderator and panelists dived right into lively, thoughtful discussion.

Snapshot of the Panelist Discussion

John Skinner from Intel Corporation reflected on the need for an intelligent network of decentralized distributed network of people and devices. He then asked a quintessential Web 2.0 question, “How do we connect them through social networks?”

Meanwhile, Steve Vassallo, a venture partner from Foundation Capital, chimed in with his thesis around clean technology. “First, there’s an equation of supply and demand, and a notion around upstream leverage. Energy efficiency and the demand side have a massive marketing problem, but saving money is sexy.”

Moreover, attending technology-savvy entrepreneurs received tips on low-hanging fruit from Dr. Erfan Ibrahim, a knowledgeable expert on the smart grid EPRI.


Participating Moderator and Panelists in the Know

Eric Wesoff, Senior Analyst, Greentech Media (Moderator)
Steve Vassallo, Ventur e Partner, Foundation Capital
Dr. Erfan Ibrahim, Technical Executive for the Smart Grid Program, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
John Skinner, Director of Marketing, Eco-Technology, Intel Corporation
Warren Jenson, Chief Financial Officer, Silver Spring Networks

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