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Water Today Title February 21, 2024
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2024/1/29


10 Innovators Recognized for Exceptional Achievements 

Cleantech Group awards outstanding innovators recognizing: Companies of the Year, Early-Stage Company of of the Year, Rising Stars of the Year, and more

 

In this era of climate 'stuckness', when the mood music gets a bit gloomy, these distinguished companies remind us that transformative solutions are continuing to make remarkable progress around the world,” 

-- Richard Youngman, CEO of Cleantech Group.

Cleantech Group has recognized 10 exceptional companies who have made significant progress in championing sustainable innovation. Winners were celebrated at the Cleantech Forum North America on January 24, 2024.

 

Interview with Richard Youngman, CEO of Cleantech Group

WT: Please introduce yourself to our viewers. Tell us also about your mission and vision.

Youngman: I am the CEO of Cleantech Group, the leading authority on global cleantech innovation since 2002. I have more than 20 years’ experience researching cleantech innovation, venture capital markets, and global start-ups.

Our company’s mission is to accelerate the transition to a cleaner and decarbonized world, by helping our clients -- corporations, investors, public sector agencies -- identify, assess and engage with leading solutions to address the massive and growing environmental challenges.

WT: Please tell us about the Cleantech Forum North America held in San Diego this past week.

Youngman: Cleantech Forum North America is the world’s longest-running event of its kind. Held annually since 2003, it brings together leading innovation companies, both early and later stage, investors and corporations, for three days of intense knowledge exchange and meetings. “Still the marquee event in this theme”, commented one leading corporate venture capitalist this week.

Here we recognized the Top 10 Innovators.

Nine of these companies were part of the 2024 Global Cleantech 100, an annual list of the most innovative and promising companies that will take us from commitment to action in our efforts to reach net zero. The other private company was recognized for its positive acquisition, after many years as a Global Cleantech 100 company.

WT: What qualities were you looking for in choosing the Top 10?

Youngman: These award winners represent companies who have widespread support and admiration among active market players, for their prospects of making significant impact in a 5–10-year timeframe. And the winners are:

Company of the Year

Honors companies with the highest ranking in the list this year in each of three regions:

North America: Aeroseal has created a process that seals the central heating/cooling and ventilation ductwork within residential homes and commercial buildings.

Europe & Israel:  Energy Dome creates long-duration electricity storage solutions using liquid CO2.

Asia-Pacific: Plotlogic provides LiDAR, hyperspectral imaging and machine learning algorithm technologies to autonomously characterize materials in mining.

 

Early-Stage Company of the Year

Awarded to the highest-ranked product development/pre- or early-revenue company on the list:

Cyclic Materials is a circular supply chain service platform facilitating the recycling of rare earth elements via its proprietary Mag-Xtract and Hydrometallurgy technologies.  

 

.   Rising Star Company of the Year

  • Awarded to the highest-ranked new entrant on the list, appearing on the list for the first time.
  • There were two Rising Stars awards made:

 

  • Resources & Environment: Nth Cycle has a modular system to refine critical metals from e-waste using a unique electro-extraction process.

    Energy, Power & Mobility: ChargerHelp!  performs on-demand repairs and maintenance support for charging stations.

 

Graduate of the Year

Awarded to the most impressive exit of a Global Cleantech 100 alumnus company as rated by the financial investors on the 80-member Cleantech Group Expert Panel. The exit must have happened in the 12 months prior to the cut-off date. 

Graduate of the Year via M&A: GaN Systems. Infineon acquired GaN Systems for $830M to boost its position across all relevant power technologies. GaN technology can enable more energy-efficient and CO2-saving solutions in applications like mobile charging, data-center power supplies, residential solar inverters, and onboard chargers for electric vehicles.

Hall of Fame
Recognizes the achievements of the few companies whose sustained excellence has resulted in being on the Global Cleantech 100 list an impressive 7X. To maintain widespread support among investors and technology scouts in the market year-over-year is a great achievement. Once inducted into the Hall of Fame, companies will not be featured on any future editions of the list.

  • Minesense is a pioneer in digital mining solutions, supplying real-time, sensor-based ore sorting for mines. In the era of growing concern about future shortages of critical minerals to enable a decarbonized economy, this type of solution’s potential to boost output of the mining activity already happening, by say 5-15%, is important.
  • tado has been pioneering smart thermostats for heating and cooling in Europe since its founding in 2011. Based in Germany, it is now scaling increasingly across Europe, offering millions of homeowners both savings on their rising energy costs and a reduction in their CO2
  • Vestaron has been proving the idea that safe and effective pest control can also be biological and sustainable, through its peptide-based insecticide technology. The company first debuted on the list in 2013 but has become a regular returnee under new leadership since 2018.

 WT: Thank you for introducing us to the winners.  WATERTODAY will continue coverage featuring each company’s outstanding achievements. Please comment on how this is giving you hope and inspiration for our challenged world. How does it align with your mission.

 

Youngman: These companies, and hundreds more beyond, show that the necessary invention and entrepreneurial spirit exist to develop the solutions needed to fight the climate crisis. What is now needed is for all other key stakeholders to lean in and play their role.  That would require policymakers, big financial institutions and corporate executives to innovate and align, with the speed and scale that is proportionate to the crisis we are facing.

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