31 Northwest Ideas Compete in the GE Ecomagination Challenge

Three months ago General Electric (NYSE: GE) announced a $200 million open innovation competition, with the goal of finding and financing breakthrough ideas that will help create a smarter, cleaner, more efficient, and more economically viable grid, and help accelerate the adoption of smart grid technologies. Since the “GE Ecomagination Challenge” was introduced on July 13, businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators, and students from around the world have submitted 3,809 ideas in three categories—eco homes/buildings, grid efficiency, and renewables.

GE has already dished out its first award in the competition, $50,000 to the idea that won the most user-generated votes—the Idaho-based Solar Roadways project. Next month the judging panel—which includes GE energy services digital energy vice president Bob Gilligan, senior vice president and director of GE global research Mark Little, and Wired Magazine editor in chief Chris Anderson—will select six more winners. Five will receive $100,000 awards, and one will be given the GE Scientific Merit Award, an opportunity to work with the company’s Global Research Center.

All candidates will be considered for potential future commercial relationships with GE, including equity investments and cooperative agreements beyond the competition itself—part of GE and its partners’ capital pledge to invest $200 million into promising smart grid ideas and startups around the world.

Though the competition is truly a global one, a large number of participants hale from the Pacific Northwest. In fact, Washington state comes in No. 11 in the list of states and provinces with the most entrants. Given that there’s so much innovation coming out of the region, especially in cleantech, we thought it might be fun to give you a sneak peak at the 31 NW ideas competing in the GE ecomagination Challenge. Take a look:

Eco Houses/Buildings

Box Playhouse Telepresence—The Future of Meetings and Entertainment, Tim Lyons, Portland, OR

Don’t forget the farmers, Nathan Hastings, Bend, OR

The Green Microgym, Adam Boesel, Portland, OR

Intelligent Adaptive Traffic Light, Glenn Godden, Lynnwood, WA

Knowledge of Power, Alexandre Cross, Bellingham, WA

Micro Fleets for Mega Cities, Melissa Brandao, Medford, OR

Public Watch: Powering Down Government, Mike Green, Eugene, OR

Selfocus Solar BBQ, Ab Mobasher, Portland, OR

Two Birds with One Stone, Caleb Tallent, Tacoma, WA

Grid Efficiency

E-C Swap, Steven Reynolds, Portland, OR

Grid Scale Storage—Flow Battery, Craig Wilkins, Walla Walla, WA … Next Page »

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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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