SOURCE: Cleantech Open

Cleantech Open

November 20, 2009 09:00 ET

Replenish Energy Gets the Winning Vote From Attendees at Global Ideas Competition During Cleantech Open Awards Gala

Sun, Seawater and Microalgae Provide the Key to Energy Independence for Puerto Rico

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - November 20, 2009) - It was the hundreds of people in the audience at the Cleantech Open Expo and Awards Gala who chose the winner of the Global Ideas Competition. After a screening of seven videos submitted by entrepreneurs from all over the world, audience members grabbed their mobile phones and voted. The winner, by a large margin, was Replenish Energy Enterprises, a spin-off from Bio-Lípidos of Puerto Rico that has developed an innovative microalgae fuel program that could reduce the island's dependence on imported oil for power generation.

Replenish Energy describes a process whereby microalgae is cultured and harvested in saltwater ponds for the production of pure vegetable oil, a biofuel that can be used directly in nearby electric power plants. The process is a combination of low-tech organic agriculture and advanced microbiological science. It creates a biofuel that can yield both power and food -- the business will also enable sustainable farming of fish and seafood -- while time lowering dependence on fossil-fuel oil for island power and reducing air pollution. Video:

Microalgae are the world's most efficient renewable energy source. These tiny life forms can generate 48,000 kilowatts of electricity per million dollars capital invested, compared with 470 kW for solar panels and 1,300 kW for wind turbines. Microalgae also outperform all other land-based biomass alternatives with fourteen times greater bio-fuel yield per acre than sugarcane ethanol, and two hundred times greater than soybean oil.

Rosa Hilda, a program volunteer for Replenish Energy, is in San Francisco this week to accept the award from the Cleantech Open. She views the innovation at Replenish Energy as a classic example of community and science working together toward a common local goal: "What we have created is a perfect carbon-capture methodology. No toxins are used at any point in the process; a useful biofuel is created, along with a biomass that can be used to create humus or feedstock. Better still, Replenish Energy requires zero dedicated land for agriculture and no freshwater. It's a fantastic solution that directly addresses a challenging ecological problem that we face on our island."

Separately, The Economist magazine has selected Replenish Energy as a top-10 finalist in the "Innovative Solutions in the Energy Sector," and will deliver a presentation at the 2009 Carbon Economy Summit this week in Washington, D.C.

Other Global Cleantech Open Ideas submissions

A total of seven entries were submitted. Here are the remaining six, ranked by popular vote:

#2 USA -- Point Source Power -- power source for underdeveloped nations

#3 Denmark -- Danfoss IXA -- optical sensors for industrial environments

#4 New Zealand -- Nova Eco-Tech -- clean-fuel conversion solution for vehicles

#5 Israel -- Capernaum Vista Olive Farms -- process to convert toxic olive waste into soap

#6 China -- Tongji University -- vertical axis wind energy design

#7 Italy -- Intesa Sanpaolo -- advanced energy efficiency program pioneered by a bank

About the Global Ideas Competition

The Global Ideas Competition aims to find 'big cleantech ideas' at a grassroots level by inviting countries around the world to compete for $100,000 in prizes. The competition is now a signature event for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and is run as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Cleantech Open Sponsors

The Cleantech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by Global Partner: Chevron; National Expansion Sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; and, in California, Platinum Sponsor: PG&E; Gold Sponsors: Autodesk, The Cleantech Circle, Google, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati; Silver Sponsors: Accretive Solutions and RoseRyan; and Program Sponsors: California Clean Energy Fund, Ernst and Young, and Korn/Ferry International. Media and outreach partners include Greener World Media, Marketwire, Matter Network, San Francisco Business Times, Sustainable Industries, Sustainable Life Media, and

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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 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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