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Inspirational Cleantech Open

Posted by at 11:43 AM, 12/08/2011
In a world that can often seem to be falling apart, with little message bandwidth other than failed schools, failed industry, declining America, and "green boondoggles", it is an inspiration and a restorative to encounter the Cleantech Open business competition and see the array of creativeness and serious, commercially focused innovation which gets displayed each November at their Global Forum in San Jose.
The finalists and past alumni from the various regions coast-to-coast continually amaze me. I not only learn about PROBLEMS I had never even considered or thought addressable, but learn that already folks have come up with workable, achievable answers to those problems.  Last year, one of the leading finalists was a company from Minnesota that had developed a non-toxic fire quencher. Did anyone know that when you see films of those horrific forest fires in the west, and there is always a big jumbo jet dropping orange liquid on the fire, that it's toxic, and that unless you're officially fighting an official forest fire it's about a dozen different ways illegal to spread that material on open soil ?  Who knew this was a problem and who knew someone ALREADY HAS an answer to that problem.  Ref: EarthClean, St. Paul MN
Recent discussion in the cloud regarding cleantech investment has focused on an alleged shift from longer-range "game changer" "breakthroughs" to shorter-term tactical plays.  Cleantech Open has always struck a good balance among those poles.  It shows some technologies that are rather significant uplifts, but many are indeed incremental in the best sense -- most civic and corporate progress has always been made incrementally through step-wise continuous improvement.
The ventures in the Cleantech Open succeed by having immediate tactical, and hence investable, applicability.  Significantly, this also means they DON'T REQUIRE POLICY INITIATIVES to succeed.  Many 'green-oriented' citizens agonize that the policy paralysis which afflicts not only the USA but most of the world (on the whole, broad brush) is keeping us stuck in bad habits. Daily, and often, it seems that way.  Yet to see the parade of ventures at Cleantech Open's Global Forum is to be inspired and encouraged that change can be wrought immediately and on our own. It’s these ventures that are the change we've been waiting for.  We don't need to wait for our dear leaders, who never do.
The rundown is impressive and it's just a tragedy that it's not an insert into the Sunday New York Times, or a special episode of 60-Minutes, on Fox Business or Thomas Friedman's next column, which would give more exposure to a mainstream civic audience nationwide.  I think it would make our citizens feel better about America’s innovation and business climate to know so many folks, across all corners of our nation, are grinding away at such surprising engineering and succeeding even under the constrained circumstances we face today.
So, this is going to be a long blog.  It was a big Forum.  Come back with a cuppa coffee and some off-duty time and listen to this amazing community of capitalists.

Combustion for power -------
From Oregon, we saw technology for roasting scrap cellulosic material to turn forest waste into a direct 1:1 substitution for coal, so that power plants planned-for-shutdown can continue operating, cleaner and more sustainably.  But if you need to use coal, we saw from Colorado advanced nanotechnology to remove nasty toxins from coal (it's worse than just carbon) allowing coal to be 'scrubbed' far more efficiently than afterburn scrubbers do. That nano-coal company was the overall winner in the Rocky Mountain region.  We also saw a laser-based gas analyzer from Minnesota that enables far more efficient combustion of feedstocks in industrial processes as well as for raw energy generation.  This is the company that won the top honors, Cleantech Open’s quarter-million-dollar championship for 2011!
We also saw two ventures, one from each coast, making oil for combustion yes, but making it from recycling of other waste streams in a clean and responsible manner: a venture from California with proprietary microbes to recycle waste biogas and captured CO2 into clean oil and a Boston venture with a sophisticated catalytic process to recycle plastic into clean and efficient liquid fuel – the latter was the New England overall winner and national category winner in the Air-Water-Waste segment.
None of these eliminate combustion, but each is a major advance towards far more efficient and thorough combustion with fewer by-products, often using a waste recycling component, and such ‘incremental’ improvements can put us miles ahead compared to the status quo. Combined and widely implemented, such ‘incrementals’ can add up to be a game changer.
Also, much as the Oregon company side-steps coal with cellulosics, a company from Arkansas can produce lignin film as a substitute for plastic, sidesteping the expanding “bans on grocery bags”.  Grocery stores can now have it both ways -- offering a light floppy bag that is actually paper-based and biodegradable.  “Would you like paper or paper?”  That Arkansas bag won top honors in Cleantech Open’s South Central region.
·         HM3 Energy(OR)
·         Veritek Coal Processing(CO)
·         ARI Atmosphere Recovery, Inc.(MN)
·         Kiverdi(CA)
·         PK Clean(MA)
·         CycleWood(ARK)
Please note right here (and there’s more to come) the geographic diversity of the award winning cleantech innovations.  Frankly, in the tech-geek world, you don’t see a lot of IDs from Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota and Arkansas.  OK, one of the above is from San Francisco, and we love you, too.  But such geo-diversity has become commonplace in Cleantech Open since the first year it expanded beyond the SF Bay Area.  HQs of other recent alumni include Logan, UT; Missoula, MT; Plateville, WI and Grand Rapids, MI.  The Cleantech Open’s results in finding, fostering and funding across such geographies should be highly encouraging to those who doubt that a "Green Economy" will "lift all boats" or at least many MORE boats than in just a few enclaves.  Here is a story where America’s strength IS its breadth.
Electricity -------
One speaker noted that when folks gush about how electric the 21st Century will become, it’s amazing to consider that, from a 19th Century perspective, our just past 20th Century was when society got utterly revolutionized by electricity, with the oft-maligned “power grid”, erected in just a few decades on every continent, one of the true all-time wonders of civilization.  And yet, per The Carpenters, we’ve only just begun.
This year, we saw a company from Massachusetts with advanced measurement and simulation tools to make it far easier and more efficient for utilities to add in renewable sources to the grid, a company from Nevada that uses embedded signalization to provide better energy accounting for small businesses; and a company from Houston that provides real-time energy consumption detail to office tenants with human factors engineering that motivates users to compete to be “the biggest loser” of consumption.  A company from Utah combines a number of electricity conditioning functions with far lower cost and greater efficiency to regulate voltage, mitigate harmonics, and filter surges and spikes, allowing all electrical equipment to run cooler and more efficiently.  This company won the triple-bottom-line Sustainability Award for the Rocky Mountain Region.  And we saw a company from Seattle that integrates telemetry and predictive tools to tell end-users when their flow of electricity is more renewably-sourced and less renewably-sourced so they can voluntarily shift their loads to suck up more renewables and demand less non-renewables.  This idea, cleverly called “Color of the Electron”, was sought out by GM as a critical partner in their EV developments and was the National Category Winner in the “Smart Power” segment of Cleantech Open.
An alumni venture from Oregon is now successfully rolling out charging kiosks for Truck Stops across the country.  Some of the dirtiest air between the coasts is in the middle of the prairie at truck stops hosting hundreds of long-idling diesel engines. Electrification of trucks’s ‘rest mode’ is a huge answer to a little-known problem.  And a venture from Los Angeles is providing tools to help calibrate electric car charging stations.   EVs are a great achievement.  Three ventures from Oregon, two National Finalist Alums, are all in the electric space -- an electric car, an enclosed electric tricycle style vehicle and a folding electric bicycle.  Yet, often the unsung hero in tech development are the measurement, development and simulation tools needed to implement the more visible end-product, so the LA EV kiosk calibration venture became a segment winner in the California region this year.
·         Qado Energy (MA)                                • Shorepower Technologies(OR)
·         LoadIQ(NV)                                                       • GridTest(CA)
·         Smart Office Energy Solutions(TX)           • Green Lite Motors(OR)
·         Dragonfly Solutions (UT)                               • Arcimoto(OR)
·         GridMobility(WA)                                           • Conscious Commuter(OR)
But, wait, there’s more !
Heat and Light, First Heat -------
Thermal engineering doesn't get as much attention in the press, but it was on display at this Forum.  A Silicon Valley company using solar energy not for electricity, nor domestic hot water, but for concentrated heating of industrial processes including drying, cooling, and refrigeration.  That made them the overall winner of the California Cleantech Open contest.  And a Nevada company is developing a novel thermally-driven refrigeration/heat pump cycle -- if you look around, that's one of the core mechanical systems across all aspects of modern civilization -- that can provide up to 80% energy cost savings for heating and cooling processes in industrial, commercial and residential applications.  That and their integrated triple-bottom-line business operations won them the Sustainability Prize for the California region.
·         B2U Solar(CA)
·         May-Ruben Technologies(NV)
And Windows of Light -------
Artificial and natural light is a constant struggle.  The scope of Cleantech Open is demonstrated in that, in addition to coal, plastics and transport ventures, this year’s competition also included clever innovations in natural lighting and windows.  From the heart of Silicon Valley was a venture that combines photovoltaics with ceiling skylights and defraction lenses to condition and diffuse natural illumination through the skylight while also using the sunlight to generate electricity for other lighting.  Another venture from Colorado enables (my gross oversimplification) a controlled form of “Transitions” darkening sunglasses for building windows, and an earlier semifinalist from Oregon had a design to combine window awnings and carefully faceted foci for photovoltaic generation with LED luminaires on the inside wall.
And a Finalist from Oregon racked up a host of laurels with a product addressing windows as the enormous energy leaks that they are.  With both patented sealants and clever use of cloud-based IT, they can custom shape window inserts (as most residential windows, surprise, are off-square!) that provide antique windows, especially in our large stock of pre-WW2 homes, with insulation as good as thermopane windows, and can farm out production to multiple small businesses close-to-site, to increase employment and reduce the footprint of trans-shipment.  This venture, Indow Windows, was tapped as the National Champion for Sustainability business-planning (3BL), the
1st Runner-up for the overall National Champion, the National winner in the Efficiency category, and the overall winner and sustainability winner of the Pacific Northwest region.
·         EnFocus Engineering(CA)
·         US e-Chromic(CO)
·         Innovative Invironments(OR)
·         Indow Windows(OR)
Constructive Construction -------
The building erected around the windows is not ignored by Cleantech Open either.  This year, the locus of green construction was Wisconsin and Oregon, as befits the historic origins of America’s lumber industry.  Two ventures adapt wood for more efficient construction and two other ventures have new materials.
One Semifinalist, with a factory opening soon in Oregon, uses advanced computer-aided manufacturing to prepare stick-built construction with significantly less wood-waste, dramatically faster erection time due to precision fit, and hence overall lower energy footprint.  While a Wisconsin venture literally takes whole trees which are tall and strong and loaded with sequestered carbon, but not suited to commercial lumber harvesting and, again with sophisticated IT, turns parts or ALL of the tree into structural components for construction.
Another Oregon semifinalist and the Wisconsin-based North Central Champion both have ventures aimed at commercializing fast-assembly building construction using advanced materials that are lightweight, recycled or recyclable and improve building operations efficiency.
And start-ups aiming at energy management dashboards-in-a-thermostat are well represented on both coasts.  Followers will recall that the 2009 Grand National Champion was EcoFactor of the Bay Area.  This year an earlier winner, Energy Hub of Brooklyn was honored as co-Alumni of the Year, for their $14 million Series B funding, led by Acadia Woods and the New York City Investment Fund, as well as for adding nearly 50 new jobs.
·         IDEAbuilder(OR)
·         Whole Tree Structures(WI)
·         FortEco Lightweight Structures(WI)
·         e~TECH(OR)
·         EcoFactor(CA)
·         EnergyHub(NY)
Water Everywhere -------
Green technologies are often associated in the public mind with carbon emissions or consumption of energy, but another rapidly growing area of 'clean' concern and opportunity is WATER.  From inception, Cleantech Open included a category termed Air-Water-Waste to cover a range of fascinating technologies.  In 2009, a Rocky Mountain venture reached the Finals with green chemistry to convert plant sugars into, among other things, detergent-builder replacements for water-polluting phosphates.  Last year, many top-ranking Cleantech Open Finalists were in the “water” category including a strong Finalist from Utah marketing patented electrobiochemical reactor technologies to mitigate arsenic, selenium, mercury, nitrate, and other inorganic contaminants; the National Sustainability (3BL) Award winner from Colorado which develops suites of microorganisms to biologically treat waste water pools, and the overall 2010 National Champion, a company from Oregon using sophisticated photonically activated nanotechnology to efficiently purify water, with both an electro-mechanical version and a low-cost passive version for 3rd world applications.  This year, a finalist from Arizona applies bio-technology to efficiently purify water for food and beverage companies.  And the winner of the Global Ideas Competition was a nifty venture from CHILE that uses red worms to clean up sewage water -- the busy, gluttonous worms consume the organic material and their excreted 'castings' can be used as a complementary fertilizer which catalyzes nitrogen binding to sharply reduce surplus nitrogen run-off from farms.
·         Rivertop Renewables(MT)                          • Puralytics(OR)
·         Inotec(UT)                                                 • ARBsource(AZ)
·         BioVantage Resources(CO)                        • BioFiltro(Chile)
Silicon in the Valley -------
We often think that traditional mechanical systems are made slimmer, simpler, lighter footprint by "digitalization", yet the lay consumer may not realize that the submicroscopic realm of silicon components and IT systems has its own low hanging fruit of wastefulness.  People who stay at home and work or play "in the cloud" may not realize that "the cloud", as actually instantiated in monumental data centers in the prairie, can be more of an energy hog than the Hummer you're keeping on blocks while telecommuting.  One of the niftiest answers is Bay Area-based software that allows all the miles of blade servers in a data center to be reflexively hibernated which can immediately lop off up to 1/3 of energy consumption at an all-always-on data center.  That 2008 Category Winner was awarded co-Alumni of the Year at this Forum for its recent $13.5M Series B round led by ABB and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.  Last year, a Cleantech Open Finalist from New Jersey showed highly efficient memory chips which significantly reduce energy consumption in large data farms. This year a company from Boston showed a dramatically sized-reduced and energy-reduced power converter for mobile devices. And another company from Arkansas showed sophisticated process chemistry that can generate panel-sized ultra-large-grain single polysilicon crystals, especially for photovoltaic applications.
·         Power Assure(CA)
·         pureSi(NJ)
·         ArcticSand(MA)
·         Silicon Solar Solutions(ARK)
SO - if you have time, go back and scan all of these companies again, nearly 40 in all. Apart from the Global Ideas guys, these Cleantech Open competitors are all-American, from every time zone, and all have real prototypes (if not general shipment product) out in the public domain.  And, by and large, these are not digital avatars, these are real physical products that involve metal-bending, chemistry and engineering and actual MANUFACTURING. They are aggressively courting customers, winning business and EARNING private un-subsidized investment. If anyone is discouraged that American industry has lost its mojo, go back yet again and review these eager young aspirants.  The ventures showcased by Cleantech Open are a mojo-restorative for those who care about the American economy, who should be nearly all of us.  Pass it along. 
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Harvesting Clean Energy Draws Seattle Metroguy to Idaho

Posted by at 10:06 PM, 11/11/2011

Cleantech Seattle guy, John Martin, ventured down to Boise, Idaho, drawn by a conference named "Harvesting Clean Energy." Metroguy that he was, he thought of Idaho as agricultural and wanted to learn about clean tech in an ag land. His eyes were opened, and here's his story.

By John Martin, Operations Chair, Pacific Northwest Cleantech Open

At Climate Solutions’ 2011 Harvesting Clean Energy Conference in Boise in October, emcee Dale Dixon opened with an amusing and apparently true story: Nearly a hundred years ago, Enzo Ferrari was having trouble putting together one of his early race cars, particularly the "transmission". A maker of farm tractors thought he had a really good idea for a transmission, but Ferrari thought farm haulers had nothing to offer his refined thoroughbred. The tractor-maker was named Lamborghini and went off on his own. The theme repeated throughout the morning: Cosmopolitan metros may have much to learn from the rural/ag society, much as Ferrari could have -- not least being that out-in-middle-of-nowhere has much more interest in self-sufficiency and does not survive for generations on the farm by not being literally 'sustainable'. My conclusion: A lot of cutting-edge cleantech practices, technologies and ventures may find early adopters in places like Idaho.

Keynote Speaker Governor Butch Otter noted that the biggest challenge to alternative energy is transmission lines, both having them in the right place and also permitting and public acceptance. He points out that we should not be discouraged with solar, wind, thermal and biomass just because prior demos have not worked out well. Thomas Edison had a lot of false starts but eventually prevailed despite the fact that he received strong pushback from businessmen asking that he not pursue commercializing his electric lightbulb. Why? Because it would put 140,000 candlemakers out of work. Governor Otter's point: Short-term adjustments should not hinder longer-term breakthroughs.

One of the speakers was Clay Young, who built proClarity business intelligence software into a highly successful global business with exit acquisition by Microsoft, and is now in solar-powered LED streetlights. His new venture, Inovus Solar (, is partnering with Portland-based Verticus to develop high-efficiency parking-lot systems. Verticus manages the variable on/off switching, Inovus builds the luminaires and integrates PV support and over-gen feedback to the grid.

Another speaker was Pete Johnson of Dynamis Energy (, which develops high-efficiency incinerators for eliminating landfill of municipal solid waste (MSM) by burning the rubbish to generate energy. Johnson said that while Northwest energy costs are among the lowest in the world, and demand for incineration power is low here, Brazil will be prohibiting MSM landfill by mid-decade and has skyrocketing energy demands. There, the market for responsible incineration is strong.

There was discussion that Idaho has no consistent economic development policy around cleantech, but the state does have some strong raw advantages. It has a strong base of expertise in Information and Communications Technology, coupled with a very large Ag business and expertise in power engineering. Then there is the other NW Department of Energy lab ( managed by Battelle, which is a big player in clean energy, including being the national expertise center for battery and EV testing as well as power storage technology.

So, I congratulate Climate Solutions for drawing the attention of this cosmopolitan Seattle metroguy to the incredible cleantech resource of Idaho and the importance of the Ag community as an important test-bed for cutting-edge advanced-energy technologies.

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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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