By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR
Cleantech Open Northeast has arrived in New York City with an ambitious plan.
Together with its partner NYC ACRE, New York City’s accelerator for clean technology and renewable energy companies, the Northeast team wants to challenge their counterparts in Silicon Valley. California currently holds the position as the largest clean tech hub.
The first annual US Metro Clean Tech Index by research and consulting firm Clean Energy revealed that the country’s top five metro regions for clean tech are all on the West coast, three of them are in California: San Jose (1st place), San Francisco (2nd place), and Sacramento (4th place). Washington, DC, (8th place) and Boston (9th place) represented the East coast in the top ten last year. New York City was on 13th place.
The Clean Energy study was conducted in 2012 and ranked the country’s 50 largest metropolitan regions based on nearly two dozen ‘clean tech’ metrics such as hybrid electric vehicles, certified green buildings, clean-tech venture capital investments, innovation and workforce.
Cleantech runs the world’s largest clean tech accelerator. Its mission is to find, fund, and foster the big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges.
While the clean tech community had to fend off harsh criticism and the word ‘clean tech’ turned into a ‘dirty word’ for some, Arrun Kapoor of SJF Ventures stayed optimistic. He pointed out that the Cleantech community always had its eyes set on a common goal – to solve energy issues. And that’s for the better good.
The not-for-profit organization has worked with more than 700 companies in the United States. Accelerator program participants get training, mentoring, infrastructure, relationships and funding opportunities that help them become world-class clean tech companies. To date, nearly half of these companies have raised over $800 million in external capital.
While New York City was not in the top ten last year, the goal of challenging Silicon Valley is not out of sight. The Northeast region is home to an amazing set of clean tech companies. Some of them presented their innovations during the New York event with a 1-minute pitch.
One of them was LitGreen. The NY-based company offers a line of energy-saving LED lighting and power management systems. According to the company’s action COO Eric Illowsky, LitGreen offers a better LED light. This means better quality at less light power compared to fluorescent lights and other LED devices.
Water has floated to the top of the list in sustainability discussions in the last years, mainly due to water scarcity. The renewable energy company Rentricity Inc. puts the spotlight on energy generation through water. The runner-up for the Cleantech Open Global Forum National Grand Prize uses the highly pressured drinking and waste water that flows through pipes and transforms it into electricity. Its energy recovery systems Flow-to-Wiresm convert excess pressure in water mains and other similar pipes into clean electric power. This also helps water suppliers reduce their energy costs
Spring just started. New Yorkers are flocking to parks and public spaces. Green Barrel helps them to keep their devices charged so that they can stay connected while being outside. The company has been setting up solar charge stations at public spaces, such as Bryant Park, since 2011. Its founder Tommy Mitchell shared how he got the idea when he noticed how quickly batteries drain and how difficult it was to charge electronic devices outside of the home or the office. He set out to change it by giving access to solar power.
Others focus on wind energy. Wedge Technologies introduced alternative wind turbine products for domestic and light industrial consumers. According to its co-founder Benjamin Cramer, typical 3-blades or variations of 3-blades wind turbines are not the best choice for the consumer. The company designed a multi-blade horizontal axis wind turbine, called H.A.W.T, for the “roof-top power generation”. The wind turbines can be installed on commercial buildings, hotels, shopping malls, government buildings, ski resorts, remote research facilities, farms, etc.
Applications for the Cleantech Open accelerator are due by May 1. New York City based clean tech companies should connect with Daniel Hochman, the NYC Metro Director for CleanTech Open Northeast. You can read his summary of the NYC kick-off event here.
We can’t wait to see what companies will be selected for the program this year. What’s your favorite clean tech company in NYC?