SOURCE: Cleantech Open

Cleantech Open

November 18, 2009 12:14 ET

HydroVolts Wins Cleantech Open 2009 Sustainability Award

Of the 75 Contestants of the World's Largest Cleantech Business Plan Competition, Three Teams Demonstrated a Heightened Commitment to Sustainability; Winning Team Receives $20,000 in Services

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - November 18, 2009) - The Cleantech Open, the world's largest business competition created to find, fund and foster startup clean technology companies, announced the winners of this year's Sustainability Award at the annual Cleantech Open Expo and Awards Gala at the Masonic Center in San Francisco. Dubbed the "Academy Awards of Clean Technology," the event marks the grand finale of the Cleantech Open's yearlong business competition. The National Sustainability Award winner receives a prize of $20,000 in services from Cleantech Open sponsors B Corp, Climate Earth, and NetSuite.

"We gave our contestants one sustainability challenge: find the most pressing environmental and social issues in your company and turn them into business opportunities in sustainability. I cannot be prouder of our sustainability award winners as they are a testament to how a company can make an impact from day one. Their commitment to sustainability will pay great dividends because they are setting up frameworks and processes that can sustain rapid expansion in an increasingly complex world," said Julia Hu, Sustainability Chair and National Sustainability Programs Lead at the Cleantech Open.

The three companies were chosen from among 75 semifinalist companies who were all mentored and trained to incorporate sustainability into their business plans. After three rounds of judging and extensive evaluation, the Sustainability Judging panel which consisted of sustainability executives and thought leaders, chose three finalists because of their commitment to the following three sustainability tenets:

1) Product Sustainability refers to the sustainability of the actual product or service itself. This includes the overall impact of the solution and the end-user savings of carbon, waste, water, and chemicals.

2) Process Sustainability refers to the methods the team uses or plans to use in operating the company and manufacturing the product. This includes impact of operations on the environment and mitigation techniques as well as quantitative process analysis.

3) Pitch Sustainability refers to how the company's environmental and social sustainability efforts uniquely create value for employees and stakeholders. This includes transparency and disclosure, employment practices, investors, social equity and community responsibility.

National winner: HydroVolts. The Seattle-based company has developed in-stream hydrokinetic turbines that enable distributed clean-energy generation from canals, waterways, spillways, rivers, streams, and tidal currents around the world. "Unlike any other business contest we know of, the CTO really digs down deep into the roots of sustainable performance. They provided tools and guides to examine almost every aspect of a business with a green lens, while constantly staying with proven management principles that startups need to succeed. The sustainability training provided for entrepreneurs by the Cleantech Open is gutsy, not gushing," said Burt Hamner, CEO of HydroVolts.

California region winner: Alphabet Energy. Alphabet Energy plans to commercialize a disruptive, low-cost thermoelectric technology (developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) that captures wasted energy and converts it into electricity. Producers of waste heat can use this electricity to power their facilities, or sell it back to the grid. "The Cleantech Open has recognized that Alphabet's new thermoelectric materials enable a unique, sustainable approach to the manufacturing of thermoelectric devices that ultimately result in a more sustainable use of natural resources. If fully implemented in the US today, waste heat recovery could offset nearly 20 percent of all our electricity generation alone, and eliminate the need for 225 coal-fired power plants," said Dr. Matthew L. Scullin, CEO.

Rocky Mountain region winner: Cool Energy. Cool Energy has created an advanced solar thermal system, the SolarFlow System, to provide more of a homeowner's energy needs than any other single renewable energy system. This integrated system provides up to 80 percent of a customer's space-heating energy; 100 percent of their hot water; and 60 percent of their electricity. The reduction in CO2 emissions from each home using a SolarFlow System is 5-6 tons per year, and the system integrates seamlessly into a customer's existing heating, hot water, and electricity system. "The Cleantech Open was a wonderful, stimulating, and challenging experience. The development process made us review our assumptions, re-tool our business model, and focus on presenting the customer and channel value proposition clearly. The volunteers who guided us through the Cleantech Open's process steps were wonderful," said Sam P. Weaver, president and CEO of Cool Energy.

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The Cleantech Open is the world's largest cleantech business competition. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today's most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. The program provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships to turn ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual business competition and mentorship program, the Cleantech Open has helped hundreds of clean technology startups bring their breakthrough ideas to fruition, helping alumni contestants raise over $125m and making thousands of green collar jobs possible. Fueled by a network of more than 400 volunteers and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America's cleantech sector a thriving economic engine. For more information, visit, and follow @cleantechopen on Twitter.

In addition to the original competition held in California, the Cleantech Open was expanded in 2009 to include two new regions: the Rocky Mountain region (including Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming; and the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Cleantech entrepreneurs will compete for a total of more than $1 million in prizes. Past alumni successes include Adura Technologies, Cool Earth Solar, Enverity, Federspiel Controls, GreenVolts, GroundSource GeoThermal, Lucid Design Group, Mission Motors, and Syncromatics.

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