Finalists were announced last night for the Regional Cleantech Open Business Competition, which highlighted the broad scope of clean technologies and competencies of the Pacific Northwest. Winners included a water purification system, materials for cooling electronics in data centers and an all-electric commuter vehicle.
Given the dearth of clean water for much of the world's population and scarcity experts' predictions that "water is the new oil," the Cleantech Open has since inception included a category dedicated to water remediation. PURALYTICS of Portland, Oregon ascended to the National Finals with a light-activated nanocatalyst water purification system that eliminates a much wider array of contaminants including heavy metals and pharmaceuticals at a fraction of the cost of traditional systems. Developed in partnership with the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnology Institute, PURALYTICS was one of two Oregon companies to win last night.
The event featured an array of vehicle technologies from around the Northwest.
ARCIMOTO of Eugene, Oregon was the second 3-wheeled commuter vehicle to ascend to the National Finals from the Northwest. Last year, GREEN LITE MOTORS from Portland won with a gas-electric hybrid design. Also exhibiting at the Awards Expo as a CTO Innovation Partner was the Progressive 100mpg X-prize team from Western Washington University's Vehicle Research Institute in Bellingham, who displayed their finalist Viking 45 EV on Alaskan Way outside the Bell Harbor Conference Center.
A 2009 Alumnus exhibitor was SHOREPOWER TECHNOLOGIES from Portland showcasing their EV charging station that both the Arcimoto, GreenLite and WWU cars could plug into, if needed.
From nanomaterials research at the University of Washington came finalist NANOCEL, with a microfluidic polymer cooling system for those electronics that make your laptop too hot for your lap. Your own laptop may be a minor matter, but nationwide a surprising 1.5% of total US electrical energy is consumed just by data centers (all those emails, pokes and tweets) and nearly half of that stems from cooling the heat generated by dense, high-speed electronics. To quench that heat or recycle it for other uses, would free up more energy than is currently produced by the entire wind and solar industries combined. Oh, and instead of exotic, rare-earth photovoltaics or Space Needle-sized steel turbines, this technology uses recycled soda bottles.
NANOCEL's data-tech cooling material is a serendipitous offshoot of research originally aimed at biomedical devices. NANOCEL was the winner of the first UW Environmental Innnovation Challenge in 2009. And, surprisingly enough, the winner of the 2010 UW EIC was also a semifinalist last night -- the green building materials company ENVITRUM.
A fourth winner last night was HYDROVOLTS, a frequent award-winner locally, receiving their 3rd CTO prize for their detailed plans for daily-operational environmental sustainability – a hallmark emphasis of Cleantech Open. Hydrovolts has generously made their award-winning sustainability plan 'open source' and posted it on their Web site for anyone to download, study and adapt.
An impressive array of clean technologies were on display in the exhibition hall ranging from cellulosic diesel to glycerin batteries to Web sites to help make greener lifestyle choices. Other semifinalists included:
- The winner of the 2010 Seattle University Harriet Stephenson competition -- a sugarcane enzyme pavement material for rural development applications.
- The winner of the Northwest MIT Enterprise Forum DEMO -- a plasma ignition system to reduce pollution in combustion engines.
- The winner of the MIT (Cambridge) Clean Energy Prize (Transport category) -- a kiosk-less bike-sharing system for last-mile transit augmentation.
Two other semifinalists will be seen again soon in the Seattle area. A wave-energy generation system from Oregon will conduct 1/7th-scale sea trials of its wave-energy conversion system off of Magnolia in Puget Sound later this year. And in November, a NASA-award winning exotic system for ground-to-air electric power transmission by laser will be demo'd at the Future of Flight facility at Paine Field in Everett.
An encouraging evening for all attendants showing that diverse cleantech innovation is thriving throughout the Pacific Northwest.