Intelligent Energy

Best in show: 10 global cleantech companies to watch

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Meet 10 cleantech later stage companies recently awarded for strides made within their industries and for their work in creating green jobs.

The Global Cleantech Cluster Association announced earlier this week its winners for the 2011 Later State Award. The 10 North American and
European companies tapped as the best in their respective categories were judged by 28 cleantech venture capitalists, investors and serial entrepreneurs who collectively manage $3.5 billion in clean technology investment.

These are companies that made broad strides within their industries and work closely with their regional cleantech clusters to build sustainable green economies and jobs. In other words, these companies have turned their cleantech innovations into meaningful commercial businesses.

The top 10 were selected from an original pool of 4,000 eligible companies represented by the GCCA's 33 member clusters. These member clusters nominated 185 companies for the 2011 Later Stage Award.

Keep an eye on these companies ...

UPDATE: Hey, I told you watch these companies. Moventas, a wind gear maker and one of later stage companies that took top honors, announced industrial engineering group Clyde Blowers has agreed to buy the company for $135 million (100 million euros). Expect some changes (aside from being purchased) over at Moventas, including the possibility of reorganizing and possibly downscaling in order to keep its production in Finland.

Biofuels -- Imperative Energy: The four-year-old Dublin company supplies power, heat and steam generated from biomass fuel to industrial, commercial and public buildings. Its biomass boilers have been installed in hospitals, schools and both Houses of Parliament in Dublin.

Energy efficiency/green buildings -- Albeo Technologies: The Boulder, Colo.,-based company makes LED lighting systems designed for industrial and commercial buildings. Apple used Albeo Technologies lighting for its iCloud data center and earlier this year Caterpillar had the lighting installed at its large engine manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Ind.

New Materials -- Beneq: The Finnish company has developed advanced thin film coatings and equipment that are used in the cleantech and renewable energy industries. Beneq works with cleantech and renewable energy companies to research and design nano-scale solutions such as coatings for solar cells, flexible and organic electronics and medical instruments and LED and OLED lighting. It also develops equipment (based on its research) for companies to do large-scale coating and in-line production lines.

Renewable Energy -- OpenHydro: The Irish tidal energy company designs and manufactures marine turbines for generating renewable energy from tidal streams. French utility EDF and OpenHydro are testing a turbine prior to its installation. The project will eventually consist of four tidal turbines off the coast of Paimpol-Brehat.

Solar -- Solaris Energy Solutions: The company developed solar technology for water and space heating, ventilation systems and photovoltaic electricity generation.

Storage/smart grid -- PowerGenix: The San Diego company has developed a nickel-zinc rechargable micro-hybrid battery that it says has advantages over other advanced batteries in energy and power density, cost, safety, toxicity and recyclability. The company has developed its first production prototype and is reportedly working with companies in both Europe and the U.S. to field-pilot its technology.

Transportation -- SAM Group: The Swiss company developed, built and launched the electric vehicle SAM EV II and sold more than 120 of the vehicles. The company has a long-term strategy to develop and invest in lightweight, energy efficient and affordable electric vehicles.

Waste -- Newalta: The Canadian company has carved out a niche for itself in the industrial waste industry by finding ways to turn waste into new products that will contribute to a customer's bottom line and reduce their environmental footprint. The waste management and environmental services company works with oil and gas, petrochemical, refining, lead, manufacturing and mining industries.

Water -- Rentricity: The New York company recovers energy from excess water pressure in pipes to produce renewable electricity, which can either be sold into the grid or used behind-the-meter. Its flow-to-wire configurations are designed for water, wastewater and industrial infrastructure.

Wind -- Moventas: The Finnish wind turbine gear maker employs about 1,000 workers in 10 countries. The company also designs and makes power transmission solutions for industry use and provides services for their overhaul and maintenance.

Photo: Flickr user Jenny Downing, CC2.0; OpenHydro

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Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure