Al Gore’s Favorite Waste-to-Energy Company On Deck for Xconomy May 19 Event

4/26/11Follow @xconomy

Poke around a little bit here on the West Coast, and you can find some fascinating people working on big alternative fuel ideas that are below the public radar. You’d never know it, but one of the brains behind one of Al Gore’s favorite alternative fuel companies is right here in Seattle, and will be making a rare public appearance at our next big event May 19.

Jan (pronounced “Yahn”) Allen, the co-founder and vice president of engineering at Harvest Power, has agreed to join us at “Separating Hype from Reality in Alternative Fuels,” our May 19 event at the Institute for Systems Biology’s new South Lake Union headquarters. Harvest Power made big news last month when it raised $51.7 million in a Series B venture round, led by Gore’s London-based investment firm, Generation Investment Management, to turn organic waste like food scraps into compressed natural gas. The company is based in Cambridge, MA, is building a demonstration plant in Vancouver, BC, and has a quiet little office here on Westlake Avenue in Seattle where Allen hangs his hat.

Jan Allen

We’ll hear a short “burst” talk from Allen on what Harvest has done to captivate the interest of investors like the one-time presidential candidate. And I’m also thrilled to announce one more speaker to fill out the keynote panel—Ned David, the founder and president of San Francisco-based Kilimanjaro Energy. David will join the feature panel with Kristina Burow of Arch Venture Partners and Margaret McCormick of Targeted Growth/Matrix Genetics.

David, for those of you unfamiliar with him, spends part of his time as a venture partner at Arch, but is best known as a boy wonder of biochemistry who has co-founded five companies that have raised a collective $700 million. He started in biopharmaceuticals with companies that worked on diabetes (Syrrx) and antibiotics (Achaogen), then switched gears to co-found Sapphire Energy, the algae biofuel company, and then Kilimanjaro. This latest endeavor, which I heard about in detail last week on my travels to San Francisco, is capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so it can supply an essential ingredient to Sapphire—and shake loose all kinds of petroleum underground that’s currently inaccessible.

Ned David

I’ll have more to say about Harvest and Kilimanjaro in these pages in the days to come, but for now, today is your last chance to get a super-discounted ticket for this May 19 event. You can check out the basic description, and other speakers, here at the registration page. See you there at the Institute for Systems Biology on May 19.

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