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Cleantech Open West Announces Finalists

Posted by Yuet Lee on

Category: West

Cleantech Open West Announces Finalists

Three teams of entrepreneurs win big in the West and advance to the Global Forum and Showcase

OAKLAND, CA - October 26, 2018 - Cleantech Open West, a Program of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), hosted the 2018 Awards & Innovation Showcase, the culmination of its annual acceleration program in the West. The event featured over 40 early-stage cleantech startups, including 30 startups from our 2018 accelerator cohort that participated in the 2018 competition. Winners of the competition will advance to represent the Western Region at the Cleantech Open Global Forum, our National competition which takes place this year at the end of January 2019 in downtown LA.

Cleantech Open West, a two-day event began on Wednesday with closed-door judging and a Cleantech Open Community networking reception. The public event on Thursday began with an innovation showcase and speed networking event followed by our annual Awards Ceremony.

2018 Cleantech Open West Awards & Honors

This year, Cleantech Open West conferred three Awards for overall excellence.  Award winners receive USD $10,000 in cash and $10,000 in services and advance to represent Cleantech Open West at the national level. This year’s Award Winners were:

South 8 Technologies, Inc. which has developed a breakthrough new Liquefied Gas Electrolyte chemistry for electrochemical energy storage devices including lithium batteries and electrochemical capacitors. Their patented technology allows for a substantial increase of energy, improved safety, and exceptionally wide operating temperatures. Leveraging conventional materials and manufacturing, South 8 Technologies offers a unique solution for a variety of transportation, grid storage, and aerospace applications.

Apeiron which offers an innovative zero-emission hydrogen production process that converts carbon from methane or natural gas directly into valuable products. The products include graphene sheets and graphite.

Sepion Technologies, Inc. which creates innovative membrane materials paving the path to safe, energy-dense batteries capable of powering electric vehicles for up to 400 miles, relieving consumer range anxiety, redefining electric mobility, and decarbonizing transportation. Sepion’s platform membrane technology is retrofittable, providing near-term benefits to today’s Li-ion batteries and pushing the boundaries of what is possible with next-generation Li-metal anodes and long-duration grid-storage batteries. 

Cleantech Open West also conferred two Runner-up Awards for overall excellence. Runner-Up winners received $10,000 in services and advanced along with the Regional Winners to represent Cleantech Open West at the Global Forum. This year’s Runners-Up were:

YouSolar – The company’s solar+battery system is a complete diesel generator replacement used for backup or primary power. The system eliminates any power quality problems from the grid and delivers uninterrupted and predictable power, whether the grid is up or down. The system is fully automated with an energy management system that learns customer consumption patterns and received a global solar radiation forecast from our proprietary cloud service.

RnA Innovations's CentriAirFlow is an internationally patented technology which separates and traps particles smaller than 2.5 microns from the exhaust stream of any internal combustion engine, irrespective of make, model, type of application or fuel used. CentriAirFlow's unique quality is that it removes particulates while simultaneously reducing NOx and CO emissions, mitigating exhaust noise and improving fuel efficiency by 12 to 15%. CentriAirFlow is affordable, low maintenance and ready to deploy.


This year’s speaker program highlighted the journey of cleantech entrepreneurship and showcased several of our successful Cleantech Open alumni. 

  • We kicked off the Awards Ceremony with an alumni impact panel facilitated by Cleantech Open Co-founder, Marc Gottschalk. Mark Chung of Verdigris (2011 Cohort), Deepinder Singh of 75F (2013 Cohort), and Brian Kooiman of Ohmconnect (2014 Cohort) shared their stories and insights on building a successful cleantech business.  
  • In the late afternoon, we heard from Vladi Shunturov of Lucid Design Group (2007 Cohort), who shared his journey through a compelling slide presentation.
  • During the program, we also heard from Danny Kennedy, Executive Director of the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF). Danny shared his reflections on California global leadership in clean technology development, and its growing ecosystem of cleantech entrepreneurship support, including the California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development (CalSEED) program. In collaboration with CalCEF, Cleantech Open West provides acceleration support to CalSEED Concept Award grant winners ($150,000), and coordinates a business plan competition for a follow-on Prototype Award grant winners (up to $450,000). The Prototype Award competition was held on Tuesday, October 16th, just before the Cleantech Open West 2018 Awards & Innovation Showcase.

In addition, Cleantech Open West conferred three Honors, each recognizing a startup for excellence in a specific dimension of performance that Cleantech Open values and promotes:

Impact: MMCISOLAR seeks to radically reduce the cost of solar thermal heat via its AirPane technology. AirPane solar thermal systems utilize air as a heat transfer medium which reduces system complexity while enabling fabrication from low cost polymer based materials. A viable solar thermal industry could help displace the $30B annually spent on fossil fuels to supply heat.

Sustainability: Wildnote technology pushes sustainability forward faster with a customizable, cloud-based platform that creates efficiencies in the process of collecting, managing, and reporting environmental data. It is a valuable tool for the environmental-services community, as it saves time, effort, and money when complying with highly specific and detailed environmental regulations for clean-energy projects, protecting, preserving, and restoring habitat, or when monitoring the environment to keep it safe for all our communities.

Emerging Technology: Prime Lightworks Inc. makes breakthrough electric propulsion systems for space satellites, with the goal to eliminate fuel emissions from aerospace propulsion, while drastically reducing cost and waste.

Finally, our audience of 200+ cleantech innovation and entrepreneurship insiders selected a People’s Choice winner from among the 10 startups nominated for the Cleantech Open West Awards. 

People’s Choice: T2M Global a green energy company, focuses on converting wasted resources to efficient and emission free energy. Under a $1.5 million grant sponsored by the California Energy Commission, T2M and its technology developer Nrgtek have teamed up to convert low level waste heat into higher value electricity.  This technology will reduce cost of renewable natural gas, thus helping California go 100% green.

Our Sponsors

The Cleantech Open program in the West was made possible through the generous financial support of our corporate sponsors Wells Fargo, Ballard Spahr and Dorsey & Whitney LLP and the financial support of the State of California through the CalSEED, LACI, and Bluetech Valley grant programs.

This year, for the first time, the Awards & Innovation Showcase aligned with the VERGE conference, an annual gathering of more than 2,500 corporate sustainability professionals. 

About the Cleantech Open

Cleantech Open is the oldest and largest cleantech startup accelerator program, with the mission to find, fund, and foster entrepreneurs with ideas to solve our greatest environmental and energy challenges. Through Cleantech Open's annual business competition and accelerator program, we connect cleantech startups with the people and resources that will accelerate their success, and provide a national platform for public visibility.

About Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is a private non-profit organization creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation (through working with startups to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies), transforming markets (through partnerships in transportation, energy and sustainable cities) and enhancing communities (through workforce development, pilots and other programs).

  • By Yuet Lee on in West

Updated on November 12, 2018 9:24 AM