Out of 10 solid greentech startup contenders vying for cash on the East Coast there could only be three winners of the Ignite Clean Energy business competition that took place on Tuesday in Massachusetts. Here they are: third prize, EGG Energy; second prize InnoSepra; and first prize IntAct Labs. The audience-voted People’s Choice Awards went to: third place HydroCoal; second place IntAct Labs; and first place Velkess.
Here’s some details about the winners:
IntAct Labs: IntAct Labs is focusing on the intersection of biotechnology and electronics — an interesting union that doesn’t often get a lot of attention. Possible applications for the company’s technology in that area include a microbial fuel cell — which harvests the excess electrons that bacteria generate as they metabolize organic matter — as well as biosensors and photoactive proteins. The company says its microbial fuel cell can treat wastewater without putting any energy into the system, which could lead to cheaper water treatment technology.
InnoSepra: If you watched the rise and fall and semi-return of FutureGen, you know how expensive developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology for power generation can be. New Jersey-based InnoSepra is looking to reduce the cost of CCS by 50 percent to less than $25 per ton of CO2. According to this blurb about the company back in February, InnoSepra plans to raise $2 million to $4 million for its first and second phases and $9 million for its third phase.
EGG-Energy: Sometimes it’s not bleeding edge technology, but the business model that’s the innovation. EGG-energy is a battery subscription company that provides rechargeable batteries and lights to low-income communities that don’t have access to the power grid. The team describes it as “Netflix for batteries” and when a customer has used up one of the batteries, which the company says can power a house for three nights, the user can exchange it for a fully charged one. The result is far less dirty kerosene is burned for power.
Velkess: The two-year-old company says it has developed a new kind of flywheel (spinning discs that store energy and help stabilize electricity grids) that is cheaper and more stable and safe than conventional flywheels. The company says it’s currently working on developing and proving large scale prototypes for power grid applications.
Hydrocoal Technologies: Getting to “cleaner coal sooner,” is the startup’s slogan. The company says it has developed an economical way to gasify and liquify coal, which can then be used for power generation. The company says coal in this form can be as clean to burn as natural gas, if not cleaner. I’m interested in learning more about just how much carbon emissions the company’s liquid and gasified coal produces, as I’ve read some horror stories about liquid coal.