GE Awards $100K Ecomagination Awards

GE announced the five innovation winners of its “Ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid” contest, doling out $100,000 apiece to Capstone Metering for a smart water meter; ElectricRoute for a secure, vastly more efficient electrical substation network infrastructure; GridON for The Keeper, a fault-current-limiter that increases grid reliability and allows greater use of renewables; IceCode for wind turbine anti- and de-icing technology; and WinFlex for wind turbines made from light, flexible and inexpensive cloth sheets.

In announcing the winners, GE said the contest, which opened back in July, “generated nearly 4,000 ideas and facilitated robust conversations across the open innovation platform between 70,000 entrepreneurs in more than 150 countries over a 10-week period.”

Ecomagination Challenge, data visualization

image via Ecomagination Challenge

Earlier this fall, GE gave $50,000 to Solar Roadways for finishing first in voting by visitors to the Challenge website. Today’s awards were decided by a panel of judges that included Wired Magazine editor Chris Anderson, top GE executives, industry analysts and venture capitalists.

Along with revealing the Challenge winners, GE also announced that with its venture capital partners it would invest $50 million in “leading grid technology companies” as part of a previously announced $200 million Ecomagination Challenge financial commitment. It revealed 12 concepts had been selected for partnerships — the full list is included in GE’s press release — and said it is actively negotiating investments and other commercial agreements with the companies and academic partners.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.