Cleantech Open Awards: Motivating Entrepreneurs to Go Green

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Cleantech Open Awards, a non-profit organization, has been rewarding entrepreneurs that espouse clean technology for six years running. The spotlight is on startups around the world that pursue innovation and clean technology in their inventions and systems. To date, 593 companies in the United States alone have finished the entrepreneurship programs of Cleantech Open, which in turn raised funding for an excess of $500 million. It is for this reason that Cleantech Open is sometimes dubbed the Oscars of Clean Technology.

Cleantech Open Awards 2011 National Winners

All throughout the year, many participants joined in the elimination rounds until the winners were selected during the final awarding in San Jose, California. Aside from bragging rights and recognition for the winners, a cash prize was also given to help the startups with investment and continued funding. The 2011 National Grand Prize winner was Atmosphere Recovery, which was selected from the winners of the five categories at the Cleantech Open. Runner up winners was Indow Windows, PK Clean, Whole Trees Structures and GridMobility.

Atmosphere Recovery is a startup based in Eden Prairie, MN, and is the first startup from the Midwest to win the National Cleantech Open. It also won the Renewable Energy category. The company showcased a system that analyzed gas through a particle filter, then through eight optical filters and sensors where a laser was beamed into. As a result, manufacturing was made more efficient and the energy released was processed cleanly. Atmosphere Recovery won $250,000.

Indow Windows took home the first runner-up award for window inserts that seal in the heat of the house during winter. The thermal inserts are almost invisible and work to eliminate fog and condensation caused by the different temperatures around the windows. Another perk of this product is reducing the outside noise that comes in by a minimum of 50%. Indow Windows also won the awards for National Sustainability compared to the other entrants of the contest.

The second runner-up award was bagged by PK Clean that has the dream of setting up factories in the US that convert waste that contains carbon, such as plastic, into hydrocarbon fuels that can be utilized, like diesel.

2011 Cleantech Open Alumni Awardees

Every year, Alumni Award was given out to Cleantech Open alumni companies that showed considerable growth. Factors that judges considered in determining the winner are jobs creation, amount of investment capital raised and technological achievement, among others.

This year’s winners of the Alumni Award are Energy Hub and Power Assure. Energy Hub merited the award after raising an astounding $14.5 million and creating 30 jobs in 2011. Power Assure, on the other hand, boasts of $13.5 million in financing and 43 job creation.

2011 Cleantech Open National Sustainability Awardees

Indow Windows received this year’s National Sustainability Award because of its use of sustainable technology and idea. The company’s business goals are excellently aligned with its strategy for sustainability. Teams that enter the Cleantech Open are given specific mentoring to guarantee that their investor pitch and business plan also include sustainability. Runner-ups of the award were Sanergy and Dragonfly Solutions.

Cleantech Open 2011 Regional Awardees

Six companies that earned the highest accumulated points in their respective region were recognized in the Clean Open Tech Awards. The winners received $10,000 worth of awards, and this is separate from the $20,000 they already received from being regional finalists. Overall winner in California region is b2u Solar, Arctic Sand in Northeast, Lightweight Structures in North Central, Indow Windows in Pacific Northwest, Veritek Coal Processing in Rocky Mountain and Cyclewood Solutions in South Central region.

Global Cleantech Open Ideas Awardee 2011

While Cleantech Open Awards recognize start-up entrepreneurs, the organization goes a step further by looking at companies at the level of grassroots. The company that fulfilled their exacting criteria and bested more than 1,000 applications from 23 countries around the world this year was Biofiltro, a system developed at the University of Chile.

Biofiltro is a system for treating water waste by using microorganisms and worms, both natural means. Instead of the chemical sludge that are the by-products of current common waste water treatments, Biofiltro produces earthworm castings that can be made into organic fertilizer from crops and soil treatment. Not only is this system cheaper, it is also sustainable and it is pro-environment. This system is definitely most welcome for developing countries and the rest of the world, given that clean water is fast becoming scarce. For developing this system, Biofiltro was rewarded with the grand prize of $100,000. It bested 5 other finalists, namely, Biomethodes from France, Black Silicon Solar from Denmark, Cambridge Nanotherm from the United Kingdom, Reformtech from Sweden and Resolute Marine Energy from the USA.

Since this is the second year that innovative clean technology solutions and ideas from around the world were analyzed and awarded, the Cleantech Open is on its way to becoming the catalyst for clean technology start up entrepreneurship globally.


Kimberly is a researcher, writer, business woman, and contributor at blog network.  She may be reached at


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Kimberly Danek

After years in the corporate world, working for JP Morgan Chase Bank as a Risk Management Analyst, and Standard Chartered Bank as a Financial Advisor, Kimberly Danek left to pursue a career as a freelance writer. She offers a wide variety of business writing services, from press release and newsletter writing to copywriting and other professional copies for business purposes. Backed with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, Cum Laude, and years of experience in banking and finance, Kimberly aims to reach out and share her expertise to business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs through quality, easy-to-understand articles void of business and financial jargons. 


  2 comments for “Cleantech Open Awards: Motivating Entrepreneurs to Go Green

  1. November 30, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I look forward to reading more of your articles and posts in the future, so I’ve bookmarked your blog. When I see good quality content, I like to share it with others. So I’ve created a backlink to your site. Thank you!…

  2. Kimberly Danek
    December 7, 2011 at 3:51 am

    Thank you!

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