Connect with us


Cleantech Group Unveils the 2015 Global Cleantech 100 List



Cleantech Group, whose mission is to connect corporates and investors to sustainable innovation through the online i3 Connect platform and its world-renowned global events series, today released its seventh annual Global Cleantech 100 list and report.

The list recognizes the 100 innovative private companies, regarded today as the most likely to make a significant market impact over the next five to ten years across 17 sectors, including, among others, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Renewables, Biofuels & Biochemicals, Smart Grid, Transportation, Agriculture and Water & Wastewater. In addition to the list, a full report with commentary and insight into the 2015 Global Cleantech 100 was also released today—authored by Cleantech Group, powered by data from i3, and sponsored by Chubb. A complete list of this year’s Global Cleantech 100 companies and the accompanying report are available to download at:

“It’s a tough job leading a company looking to make a big positive impact on the world and to disrupt traditional resource-intensive industries,” said Richard Youngman, CEO of Cleantech Group. “That makes our annual Global Cleantech 100 celebrations that much more special. It is a pleasure to have the chance to recognize and celebrate the achievements of these companies. We hope it spurs them on to greater things.”

To qualify for the Global Cleantech 100, companies must be independent, for-profit cleantech companies not listed on any major stock exchange. This year, a record number of nominations were received: 6,900 distinct companies from 60 countries. These companies were weighted and scored to create a short list of 323 companies. Short-listed nominees were reviewed by Cleantech Group’s Expert Panel, resulting in a final list of 100 companies from 17 countries.

“The Global Cleantech 100 expert panel is a great way to see the diverse, and sometimes divergent, views leading investors hold on the prospects of different companies and different sub-sectors,” said Wally Hunter, Managing Director of EnerTech Capital. “This helps us all in developing more informed investment decisions for the future.”

The 100-member expert panel was drawn from leading financial investors and representatives of multi-national corporations and industrials active in technology and innovation scouting across Asia, Europe, and North America. The composition of the expert panel broadly represents the global cleantech community – from pioneers and leaders to veterans and new entrants. The diversity of panelists results in a list of companies that command an expansive base of respect and support from many important players within the global cleantech innovation ecosystem. The complete list of Global Cleantech 100 expert panel members is available at:

“How the composition of the Global Cleantech 100 list changes over time is revealing of key megatrends and hot sub-sectors – and helps us all get a view on the future,” said Heather Matheson, Senior Program Manager, Cleantech Group. “This year, for example, the list shows energy storage as the breakout category, suggesting that the market believes improved storage performance and battery costs will have massive impact in the coming 5-10 years on the energy sector and many industries beyond.”

In addition to unveiling the list, Cleantech Group presented a series of awards across 11 categories during the Global Cleantech 100 Awards Dinner held January 25th in San Francisco on the opening night of Cleantech Forum San Francisco.

“We’re deeply honored to be among the Global Cleantech 100 companies and to become “Europe & Israel Company of the Year,” said Christoph Ostermann, CEO of Sonnenbatterie. “Clean and affordable energy for all is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Bringing together the world’s most promising cleantech companies, Cleantech Group makes a substantial contribution for saving our planet’s health. Its Forums’ outstanding line-up of game-changing technology companies clearly shows that the world has the innovative power to overcome today’s huge challenges in environment and climate.”

The complete list of Awardees is listed below.

Company of the Year was awarded in each of three regions to the highest-ranked company from that region:

  • North America: Enlighted, a provider of lighting control systems for energy management applications
  • Europe & Israel: Sonnenbatterie, a pioneer in the rapidly growing storage market offering intelligent lithium-ion storage systems, including energy management and integration into virtual power plants.
  • Asia Pacific: Scinor, a provider of membrane-based water treatment technology

Other categories:

  • Rising Star of the Year, given to the highest-ranked new entrant on this year’s list: SIGFOX, a developer of ultra-narrow band technology for Machine-to-Machine communications and IoT applications
  • Continued Excellence, given to the highest-ranked of the companies that have made it onto the Global Cleantech 100 list for at least the last three consecutive years: Digital Lumens, a developer of intelligent LED-based lighting systems for industrial facilities that reduce lighting energy use and provide fully integrated controls and reporting capabilities
  • Early Stage Company of the Year, given to the highest-ranked product development stage company: Planet Labs, operator of a network of earth-observation satellites to provide open-source information on earth’s changing climate
  • Industrial Innovation Company of the Year, given to the highest-ranked company with the most impact on industrial energy efficiency: Phononic, is reinventing cooling and heating through disruptive solid state thermal management solutions for electronics cooling, cold storage refrigeration and transport and climate control (This award is sponsored by ABB Technology Ventures)
  • Smarter Buildings Company of the Year, given to the highest-ranked company best positioned to advance resource efficiency in the commercial building sector: FirstFuel Software, provider of commercial customer intelligence software for energy providers (This award is sponsored by GE Ventures)
  • Graduate of the Year, given to the company with the most impressive exit (as rated by the financial investors on the expert panel) of a Global Cleantech 100 alumnus company (i.e. that has at one time been on the Global Cleantech 100 list). The exit must have happened in the 12 months prior to the cut-off date (in 2015, the cut-off date was July 31): SolarEdge

Awards were also given in two investor categories:

  • Corporate Investor of the Year, given to the corporate investor with the largest percentage of its cleantech venture portfolio in the 2015 Global Cleantech 100 (with a minimum of three on the list, and a minimum of eight qualifying portfolio companies overall): Siemens Venture Capital
  • Financial Investor of the Year, given to the financial investor with the largest percentage of its cleantech venture portfolio in the 2015 Global Cleantech 100 (with a minimum of four on the list, and a minimum of 10 qualifying portfolio companies overall): EnerTech Capital

2015 Global Cleantech 100 Quick Facts:

  • 17 countries are represented in the 2015 list. The United States is the most highly represented country with 57 companies.
  • 33 of the Global Cleantech 100 have a Big Data component to their business model. The majority came from traditional big data sectors like Energy Efficiency or Smart Grid, but others are making headway in areas like Agriculture and Transportation, among others .
  • 12 Energy Storage companies made it to the 2015 list, compared to 7 in 2014, representing the biggest sector jump year-to-year. We see this as Energy Storage ‘trading places’ with Solar, which has conversely experienced a downward trend in the Global Cleantech 100.
  • The 2015 report featured six mega-themes of the Global Cleantech 100:
  1. More Power To All: Democratizing Energy Access
  2. The Multi-Dimensional Solutions for Utilities and Their Customers
  3. The Big Data and Internet of Things (IOT) Tools for Monitoring the Planet
  4. The Latest Materials for Advanced Manufacturing
  5. The Food Frenzy Makes Its Way into the Circular Economy
  6. Financing Solutions Accelerate Technology Adoption at the Customer End

About Cleantech Group

Founded in 2002, Cleantech Group’s mission is to accelerate sustainable innovation. Core to this mission are two components: online and offline working together. One is i3, an online platform that connects corporates with innovation at scale, by allowing them to find, vet, and connect with start-ups—efficiently building an innovation pipeline. The i3 platform comes to life at our global Events, which convene corporates and start-ups, along with other players shaping the future of sustainable innovation.

Cleantech Group is headquartered in San Francisco, has an office in London, and clients from more than 30 countries across 5 continents. It was recently acquired by Enovation Partners (see here for more details).

For more information, visit:


New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035



renewable energy policy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Eviart /

New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.

New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.

Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.

Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”

The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.

Zero net emissions by 2050

Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.

Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.

She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”

A worldwide shift to renewable energy

Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.

Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.

Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.


Continue Reading


5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable




sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

Continue Reading