Innovation in our Bare Necessities

Cleantech innovation doesn't just green-up your electricity bill, it also cleans the air you breathe and the food you eat.

Renewable energy, particularly in the form of solar and wind energy, are often top of mind technologies when thinking about cleantech. That isn’t without good reason as both of these technologies have seen dramatic drops in prices resulting in vastly expanded adoption and in some places reshaping the way we deliver electricity. But to focus solely on them is to ignore the vast majority of innovation in the cleantech space.

Many cleantech companies are working to reduce energy use through innovation in efficiency. For example, our portfolio company Nexmatix significantly reduces energy loss in the pneumatic valves that drive manufacturing in factories across the world. FGC Plasma Solutions is developing fuel injection technology to increase efficiency in jet engines.

Cleantech also touches resources beyond energy and efficiency – particularly food, air, and water. We have called out many food startups like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat here but it is important to keep thinking about all the ways that cleantech innovation is touching our lives.

Below are two 2017 CET Challenge Finalists who are innovating in these other spaces:

Applied Particle Technologies – Air Filtration – St. Louis, MO

APT is developing world’s first intelligent air sterilization system. Current filtration systems rely on media based technologies which have limited filtration capabilities and significant ventilation cost due to a high-pressure drop across these filters. APT’s patented technology is based on photoionization enhanced electronic air purification system which can remove and inactivate all airborne pollutants, including pathogens, noxious fumes, ultrafine particles, and combustion emissions in a single integrated step. This technology has applications in automotive emissions, standby power generation, HVAC systems, aerospace, and industrial systems.

Aker – Agriculture Technology – Chicago, IL

Aker is an in-season crop monitoring and analytics platform for large farms. Aker enables proactive field observation to alert of adverse environmental conditions impacting crop health. Aker collects and analyzes high-resolution aerial images and other field indications. Results are delivered to Ag retailers and suppliers to help match crop protection products based on field evidence while reducing the environmental footprint of the planet.

By Alex Foucault | May 3, 2017