Fifteen Green Companies Compete For Finalist Slots at the Cleantech Open Today

10/4/10

Today is the day many in the in the local cleantech community have been waiting for. The Cleantech Open, a national business plan competition for clean technology and energy startups, plans to announce the Pacific Northwest regional finalists at the Bell Harbor Conference Center at Pier 66 in Seattle this evening. This event will bring together 15 semifinalists with a variety of different cleantech ideas to improve energy efficiency, transportation, green building, renewable energy, water, and energy storage. The startups are competing for three regional prizes worth as much as $30,000 each, and a shot at progressing through to the national competition, for a grand prize worth $250,000.

While the headlines will go to the winners, the judges will get a lot of exposure all 15 companies throughout the day, as this year’s semifinalists will be on hand to present their ideas.

Though we’ve reported on a handful of these startups before, most of them are new to our radar screen. We thought we’d take this opportunity to take a look at each of the competing startups by sector, and what makes them an innovative contender for the Cleantech Open winners circle.

Efficiency:

Aquapulser, Seattle, WA

Aquapulser is an engineering and power electronics startup that develops high energy plasma ignition systems for use in combustion engines. The startup won the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Northwest Startup Demo competition in December. Aquapulser will have a live plasma ignition display at the Cleantech Open.

LaserMotive, Kent, WA

This startup is developing laser power beaming systems to transmit electricity without wires to things like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), where wires would be a physical impossibility. LaserMotive won a $900,000 NASA competition to build a small prototype device in November 2009. The company hopes to use its technology to power “space elevators,” and UVAs in flight. The company will have a live laser transmission display at the Cleantech Open.

Nanocel, Seattle, WA

Nanocel develops electronic liquid cooling technology based on a combination of microfluidics and plastic materials that remove heat from devices like computers, servers, and medical equipment. The company, spun out of the University of Washington by founder and mechanical engineering PhD student Dustin Miller and UW MBA graduate Daniel Rossi, won the UW’s yearly business plan competition in May 2009, for a $25,000 prize.

Transportation:

Arcimoto, Eugene, OR

Arcimoto, founded in 2007, develops ultra-efficient electric vehicles. The company currently has three fully functional prototype vehicles, which it says it plans to bring to market. The three-wheeled vehicles are designed to support multiple range and battery configurations, and have zero tailpipe emissions. One of the startup’s prototypes will be on display at the Cleantech Open.

Current Motor Company, Ann Arbor, MI

Current Motor Company is a joint venture between REVolution Electric Vehicles and Electric Vehicle Manufacturing.The goal is to produce an all-electric scooter for the consumer market. The company manufactures fully electric motorcycles, and currently has four product lines for sale in the U.S.

viaCycle, Atlanta, GA

Atlanta-based viaCycle develops advanced bicycle sharing technologies, including an electronic locking system that uses GPS and wireless communications to allow bicycle sharing companies to provide services without expensive kiosks, or specialized bike racks. The startup, spun out of the Georgia Institute of Technology, was one of five finalists in the 2010 MIT Clean Energy Prize, where it won $15,000.

Zebigo, Spokane, WA

Zebigo is a national, on-demand ride sharing community website that matches riders to drivers based on location and time. Signup is free, and members can be either riders, or drivers (who are paid through Zebigo to drive others to destinations on time), or both. The company rolled out its ride sharing network in Seattle in June.

Green Building:

EnVitrum, Seattle, WA

EnVitrum develops environmentally friendly building materials by packing 100 percent … Next Page »

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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