The Cleantech Open today released the complete list of winners that were announced at the 2010 Cleantech Open National Awards Gala and Expo. Dubbed the "Academy Awards of Clean Technology," the event marked the grand finale of the Cleantech Open's yearlong National Business Competition, as well as the culmination of the Cleantech Open Global Ideas Competition, which included entries from the winners of national Cleantech Open competitions in 20 countries, including the United States.
Hundreds attended the daylong festival of cleantech innovation and entrepreneurship in San Jose, which was attended by the movers and shakers of the fast-growing cleantech industry -- contestants, alumni teams from previous years, mentors, venture capitalists, and sponsors.
2010 National Prize winner
Selected from the five regional winners of the prestigious Cleantech Open Business Competition, the National Grand Prize was awarded to Puralytics of Beaverton, Oregon. Puralytics was recognized by the judges for its development of photochemical water purification products designed for critical contaminants such as petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Unlike most current water purification technologies, which can create known health risks or return all of the sequestered contaminants back to the environment, Puralytics uses light (from LEDs or natural sunlight) to create processes that totally remove contaminants from the environment without any wastewater or chemicals. Initially targeting industrial and commercial facilities, the company aims to expand to provide a solution for water treatment in small communities and remote rural areas.
Mark Owen, CEO of Puralytics, said the idea for Puralytics occurred to him during a trip to Tokyo, where he noticed sunlight-activated, self-cleaning windows. "I wondered if it would be possible to take the light of the sun, and the surface area of a building, and put them in a can to purify water. This became the seed of an idea that now involves multiple wavelengths of LED light that illuminate a high-surface-area nanotechnology coating to cause five photochemical reactions that purify water of heavy metals, microorganisms, and organic chemicals."
Puralytics' technology addresses an emerging need, according to Owen, and the Cleantech Open has already opened doors for his company. "Water quality is a growing problem in our world today, and removing organic contaminants is the greatest unmet need. We are excited that the Cleantech Open committee recognizes, with us, this important business, environmental, and societal problem. This award is great validation to our team and our investors, and will help us move forward to the next level in our business. Through the Cleantech Open we've already met customers, channel partners, investors, and advisors, and this National Award has put these new networks in overdrive."
The judges also nominated two runners-up for the National Grand Prize: OnChip Power of Boston for its high-efficiency, miniaturized power-supply technology; and EarthClean of Minneapolis for its non-toxic and readily biodegradeable fire suppressant. Meanwhile, audience members used SMS voting to select the People's Choice Business Competition winner from all 18 finalists: Silicon Solar Solutions, with its large-grain, polysilicon technology that reduces the material needed to manufacture solar cells, while increasing the power they can generate.
Note to editors: interviews and presentations from several Cleantech Open startup companies are available on the Cleantech Open YouTube channel.
"We were delighted with the very high quality of entrants in this year's competitions, something that shone through at the Awards Gala," said Rex Northen, executive director of the Cleantech Open. "Judges and audience members found it extremely hard to pick a single winner from such a strong lineup. Congratulations to the winners and finalists, and many thanks to the volunteers around the world who have worked so hard to find and promote the success of promising technologies that will address our most challenging environmental and economic problems."
For 2010, Chevron signed on as a Global Partner of the Cleantech Open, providing expert counsel to some teams and welcoming all semifinalists for a day of networking and training at its San Ramon, Calif. campus. "We've seen a broad range of business value come out of the inaugural year of our partnership with the Cleantech Open," said Russ Yarrow, general manager of Corporate Affairs for Chevron. "It's given us a platform for a longer view into emerging technologies, helping us to continue innovating our global energy future."
2010 Alumni Award winner
Each year, the 2010 Alumni Award recognizes a Cleantech Open Alumnus that has achieved significant momentum during the year. This year, the Alumni award, which is sponsored by CalCEF, went to Mission Motors, the Transportation category winner in the 2007 Cleantech Open Business Competition.
2010 National Sustainability Award winner
The sustainability factor of the technologies and ideas of the teams that enter the Cleantech Open is given additional scrutiny by the mentors and judges, and each team receives specific mentoring to ensure this critical attribute is baked into each team's plan and investor pitch. This year's National Sustainability award, which was presented by Autodesk, goes to BioVantage Resources, for its algae-based wastewater treatment technology. Autodesk additionally supports early-stage clean technology companies through the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program, which provides powerful design and engineering software to accelerate their development of solutions to the world's most pressing environmental challenges.
2010 Global Cleantech Open Ideas winner
For the second year, cleantech innovations from around the world were featured at the Cleantech Open. The Global Cleantech Open Ideas Competition looks to find 'big ideas' by working at a grassroots level and to support and foster those ideas. Orchestrated in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation, startups from around the world competed for a prize worth $100,000 in startup services. Entries were received from 20 countries, 14 of which traveled to attend the Cleantech Open Gala and Expo in San Jose. Five teams were presented to the audience, who voted Abeo of Denmark the winner, with its patented Super-Light Structure technology that aims to reduce the energy and materials needed in building construction.
The Cleantech Open Business Competition: How It Works
Now in its fifth year, the 2010 Cleantech Open National Business Competition was expanded this year from three to five regions: California, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain, North Central, and Northeast. In March of this year, 271 teams submitted entries to compete, of which 81 made it to the semifinals, and 18 of those teams became regional finalists, eligible to compete in the national finals. Each of these regional finalists receives a prize package worth $30,000 in cash and services. At the national finals, a judging panel of 11 experts selected one winning team from each region to represent that region in the final round of judging: PureSolar (California), Puralytics (Pacific Northwest), INOTEC (Rocky Mountain), EarthClean (North Central), and OnChip Power (Northeast). Each of these regional winners receives an additional prize package worth $10,000 in cash and services. In the final round of judging, a national winner was selected for the Grand Prize. Puralytics, the Grand Prize Winner, receives an additional $250,000 in cash and services (of which $100,000 is awarded in the form of a seed investment from a consortium of investors: Wilson Sonsini Investment Company, Stiefel Family Foundation, and the Cleantech Open).
Cleantech Open Sponsors
The Cleantech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by Global Partner, Chevron; Global Foundation Partner, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; National Sponsor, Autodesk; and Multi-Regional Gold Sponsor, Wells Fargo. The California region is additionally supported by Platinum Sponsors Pacific Gas & Electric and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati. The North Central and Rocky Mountain regions are additionally sponsored by Platinum Sponsor Faegre & Benson. The Pacific Northwest region is additionally sponsored by Platinum Sponsor Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.