Green engineering continues to grow as research and development finds new applications for environmentally friendly technology. Hopefully this can be an area of strong job creation for engineers in the coming decades. One recent positive sign was the Clean Energy Trust announcing that several inaugural Clean Energy Challenge finalists have secured more than $9 million in venture funding, expanded operations and furthered the commercialization of new clean energy technology following their participation in the 2011 business competition.
The top prize winner, Clean Urban Energy (CUE), recently closed a $7 million A-round led by Battery Ventures, a Challenge judge. CUE has also hired 10 full-time employees since its win.
NextGen Solar, the second place winner, is currently completing development of its first functional prototype. The company also presented at the prestigious national Renewable Energy Laboratory Growth forum and was a semi-finalist at the Cleantech Open.
Other notable achievements include:
Thermal Conservation Technologies was among ten companies invited to present at CTSI Defense Energy Challenge. It hired Dr. Pratek Gupta as its first full-time employee, charged with completing the company’s prototype.
• Intelligent Generation: Presented at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Industry Growth forum and launched a two-phased pilot project with ComEd and PJM.
• Power2Switch: Hired three full-time employees and launched a new website with energy consumption and analytics functionality.
• Agentis: Has a live product with more than 78,000 users and is embarking on multiple pilot projects with large utilities.
• Root3 Technologies: Is conducting a pilot project with the University of Chicago and negotiating an exclusive technology license with Stanford University.
• Sun Phocus Technologies: Is now generating revenue, conducting two pilot projects, and has partnered with an Israeli manufacturer identified by the Clean Energy Trust.
“These results really speak to CET’s core mission, connecting research and development activities with critical venture capital funding and expertise that will accelerate development of clean energy technology businesses in the Midwest,” said Amy Francetic, CET executive director. “We are extremely pleased with these successes and will continue to provide meaningful assistance as they grow and develop.”
The 2012 Clean Energy Challenge competition is open to businesses and students from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Most applications fall within five categories: renewable energy, low-carbon transportation, Smart Grid, energy efficiency and carbon abatement.
Clean Energy Challenge