5 AlwaysOn Green Companies to Watch

Monday night is the start of the two-day AlwaysOn GoingGreen conference, and the organizers (Tony Perkins and crew) are doling out awards to the top 100 green private companies. While the majority of the list comprises the well-known players in the cleantech biz, most of which we’ve covered closely throughout the last year, there are a few names on the list that we’ve been meaning to profile more closely. Here’s our take on some of the lesser-known folks to watch for at the show this week:

1). SuperBulbs: The company, which says it is transforming the traditional light bulb, has largely been in stealth mode up to this point. On its web site the company only says that the bulbs will be a similar shape to an incandescent, competitively priced compared to CFLs, save 30 percent more energy than CFLs, and last “years longer.” Are these based on LED technology? We’re not sure, but sounds like it.

2). BioFuelBox: We’ve only heard about this Draper Fisher Jurvetson-backed biofuel technology developer when it came to light that the team had raised a series A round of $9.46 million from DFJ and Element Partners (formerly DFJ Element.) The San Jose, Calif.-based company’s web site says its technology is a “bio-refinery in a box” — a modular container that produces biofuel more cost-effectively and efficiently than previous methods. Making biofuels mobile is trend for next-gen biofuel makers, so we’ll see how much more efficient BioFuelBox’s containerized solution is.

3). SWAY: This Norwegian company makes wind turbines for deep-water offshore locations (80 to 300 meters deep within 50 to 60km from the shore) where wind is stronger and NIMBY is less of an issue. The company, which was spun out of Inocean in 2001, says its turbine tech is still “in the development phase,” and it plans to install a test turbine outside of Karmøy, Norway. Norwegian energy company Statoil and other Norwegian investors have pumped $26 million into SWAY to help get the innovation to market.

4). ReVolt: Another company with its roots in Norway, ReVolt has developed metal-air battery technology (the kind used in hearing aids) that supposedly avoids some of the pitfalls of the current generation. Metal-air batteries are cheap, environmentally-friendly, and have a high energy density, but are mostly used for low-power apps, and there are issues with recharging.

ReVolt, which spun out of Norwegian research firm SINTEF and moved to Staefa, Switzerland, in 2006, says its development can solve those problems, and make a battery that is “4 times the energy density of Lithium-Ion batteries at a comparable or lower production cost.” The company is backed by at least €22 million ($31.56 million) from Northzone Ventures, Sinvent, Sofinnova Partners, TVM Capital, Verdane Capital and Viking Venture.

5). Integrity Block: Nope, they’re not a greener tax plan (though H&R Block has touted some “green” projects in the past), Integrity Block offers a more sustainable alternative to concrete block. The company, which was founded in 2007, says its product is made of “proprietary soil composites,” which includes 50 percent recycled material and uses 40 percent less energy to make. In addition, the Los Altos, Calif.-based company says the eco-concrete has the same price and performance as the mainstream product and can help a project earn LEED points. Hard to say no to that.

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