5 Companies Making Headway in Clean Technology
Which of these give companies do you think is doing the most for the world?
Each year, The Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs (SVASE) invites a select group of start-up companies to make presentations before an interested group of venture capital financers. This capital is vital to their success and to their respective futures. An alert investor can pick up some really great tips on future investments. SVASE is saying, in so many words, “This is where we would put our money if we were you.”
This year, there were a number of promising technology companies and life sciences futures. They are a group of what they call “next gen internet” which includes even more social media start-ups. But, I was particularly pleased to see a selection of high tech firms looking to serve the environment. These companies have not gone public yet, but they are marked for your watch list. If the past is any indication, they will be very attractive IPOs.
Consider some of these options and watch their performance in the suddenly successful again Silicon Valley.
1. Bourne Energy:
The folks at Bourne boldly assert, “We want to claim the future now.” Some of our future may be bleak without their products. They see a future where water has become a rare and critical resource. The World Bank identifies 80+ countries with water shortages and 2 billion plus people without access to potable water. As the world population increases, its thirst increases, it industrializes, and it pollutes more water. Desalinization technology has been at work in strategically located plants for some time. However, current desalination processes consume large power supplies.
Bourne offers a number of solutions to energy issues by using water prudently and providentially. Among them is a 25 pound (11.34 kg) backpack that is a self-contained power generator. Extremely portable, it uses available river water to create electricity for localized military or civilian needs. But, RiverStar that is the most exciting innovation. RiverStar is a module that absorbs the energy of river currents and transmits it to uses on shore. A cluster of RiverStar modules is moored to a river bottom and connected in series by cables that transmit the electrical power. They can be situated to blend into the environment, unnoticed among grasses and rocks. One application would enable farmers to power their farms and irrigation from their nearby river or stream - without huge investments in infrastructure.
An energy information platform, Intelen provides the means for business to monitor and manage its energy use. Their analytic algorithms study energy consumption with the intent of providing data to redirect energy use habits and re-shape the demand. Its real-time analysis, reports, and displays keep operations current and informed. It provides the data to drive incentives for energy savings.
Driven towards business consumers, the tools can support individuals, home owners, civic entities, and non-profits as well. It offers internet accessibility and interactive response. As energy costs drive customizers to assess their carbon footprint and its costs – to the individual and the environment. Intelen will provide a web platform to identify, calculate, and display those costs. This should, in turn, provide an incentive to change usage behaviors.
3. Skyline Solar:
The US Department of Energy and US Department of Defense have both provided supportive grants to Skyline Solar, no small endorsement for a five year old company. It offers innovative solar panels with more power and better engineering - and faster financial return. They manufacture “medium-concentration photovoltaic (PV) systems that incorporate industry-proven silicon cells, durable reflector materials, and single-axis tracking into a complete, easy-to-deploy system.”
Skyline Solar’s system converts the energy of the sun pretty much the same way other solar cells do. However, its engineering and materials produce greater efficiencies. Recent patents create a longitudinal grid and designs that enable easier construction. Without such innovation and savings, the cost of PV systems does not compete well with other forms of energy. Of course, solar power is less polluting than coal, gas, or steam, but the market is looking for the gap in "externalities," that is, the transportation, sourcing, and operations, to widen. As the efficiencies increase, the incentive to employ such an energy option increases.
4. Sylvatex Biofuels:
Virginia Klausmeier, CEO and Co-founder of Sylvatex Biofuels, was inspired by her father to develop an additive for combustion fuels to reduce pollution and improve engine performance. Moreover, she envisioned a product “. . . made from inexpensive, non-toxic, renewable ingredients.”
The additive requires no engine modification. It can be licensed for global accessibility. It is made from locally plentiful biomass ingredients. This reduces shipping costs and supports sustainability. Sylvatex Biofuels already meet California’s 2020 emissions mandates.
An extraordinarily talented and youthful team, including MacArthur Fellow, Saul Griffith, leads WattzOn. Fascinated with the possibilities of the interface between software and energy, they created free online tools that allow energy consumers to count, monitor, compare, and understand the interplay of energy use in your life or business.
The motive is to persuade you to reduce consumption by showing the use and cost in-real time. You can check into their profiling mechanism now at http://www.wattzon.com/. The prompts ask you to describe your home and appliances before analyzing your home/business energy consumption. Wattzon follows up with comparison to usage by your neighbors in similar square footage and, then, creates an energy and cost savings plan for your needs. The site also develops a community with blogs and forums.
Young companies created by and run by young people, these are exciting opportunities. Each is a great example of how the common welfare can drive innovation and the economy. Watch these opportunities!