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Cleantech start-ups address climate change

Participants in the Urban Future Prize were challenged to develop productive and equitable solutions in a number of areas, including smart cities.

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Winners join a portfolio of companies at the Acre incubator that are focused on cleantech
Winners join a portfolio of companies at the Acre incubator that are focused on cleantech

New York City’s Urban Future Lab (UFL) has announced the winners of its 2020 cleantech incubator programme which aims to showcase the world’s “most revolutionary” cleantech innovations.

 

UFL is NYC’s hub for smart cities, smart grids and clean energy and is part of New York University Tandon School of Engineering. The two winners of the Urban Future Prize received a $50,000 cash prize each and admission into the Acre incubator at UFL. A $5,000 prize was also awarded to the company voted audience favourite. The event took place online.

 

Cleantech incubator

 

The cleantech incubator programme is funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

 

Participants were challenged to address climate change by developing productive and equitable solutions in a number of areas, including: smart cities; utility solutions for a digital, decentralised, and decarbonised grid; renewable energy sources; green transportation methods; ways to boost the energy efficiency of buildings; waste management solutions leading to a circular economy; and other such innovations.

  • The winner of the New York Community Trust Vision Prize is WexEnergy, a Rochester, New York-based company providing affordable, energy-efficient window retrofit solutions
  • The winner of The New York Community Trust Impact Prize is Soteria Battery Innovation Group which created a new architecture designed to eliminate fires in lithium ion batteries and which developed an international industry consortium for deployment
  • The audience favourite was Carbon Upcycling Technologies, a Calgary, Alberta-based enterprise that converts carbon dioxide into solid materials for industrial applications.

According to NFL, the winners join a portfolio of market-ready companies at Acre making cities, the grid, and transportation sectors smarter, cleaner, and more equitable.

“The world still needs the solutions these companies are creating. Climate change isn’t going to wait, and neither should we.”

To date, NFL reports that Acre companies have raised more than $600m in follow-on funding, created approximately 600 green jobs, and recorded a survival rate of 90 per cent since the programme’s inception in 2009.

 

“Humanity’s future is urban. Most people on the planet now live in urban areas, and the numbers are only expected to increase over the course of the 21st century,” said Arturo Garcia-Costas, environmental programme officer at the New York Community Trust.

 

Urban density

 

“The implications will be enormous, and we’ll need new technologies, new ways of thinking about urban density, and new ways of ensuring that cities are safe, healthy, resilient, and sustainable places to live, work and play. That is just what these companies are developing, and we couldn’t be happier to support their progress.”

 

Pat Sapinsley, director of cleantech initiatives at UFL, acknowledged the challenges young companies face, especially in light of the current pandemic, but added: “The Urban Future Lab is still here, helping young companies with climate change solutions to scale up. The world still needs the solutions these companies are creating. Climate change isn’t going to wait, and neither should we.”

 

Competition jurors included: Mike DeLucia of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners; Ben Pickard, director of business development at National Grid Partners; Lila Preston, partner at Generation Investment Management; Sameer Reddy of Energy Impact Partners; and Kyle Teamey of Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

 

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