It’s kind of like Shark Tank for clean energy companies: More than 30 clean energy companies give presentations before industry leaders and investors hoping to raise funding to grow their companies. It’s the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Industry Growth Forum, and the 24th annual edition took place earlier this month in Denver.
Billed by organizers as the nation’s premier clean energy event, the forum drew more than 500 entrepreneurs, scientists, investors and policy makers. And it also sent some lucky companies home with winnings. Three companies were awarded 2011 Clean Energy Venture Awards at the event.
Arctic Sand Technologies based in Cambridge, Mass., received the top $10,000 prize for Best Venture award. Arctic Sand has developed a power conversion technology for use in semiconductors. The technology has been shown to cut power losses by as much as 75 percent, according to the NREL.
Two $5,000 prizes were handed out for Outstanding Venture award. The first went to ICR Turbine Engine Corporation of Hampton, N.H. The company is developing an innovative gas turbine engine. The second went to LimeLite Technologies from Austin, Tex. LimeLite’s safety lighting technologies optimize the performance of electroluminescent lighting. Along with the money, winners will receive in-kind commercialization support matching the cash award to help increase their chances of becoming commercially successful.
While the majority of the presentations at the forum are early venture, the event also includes seed and later-stage investment opportunities for companies. Companies who have presented at the Forum since 2003 have been said to have raised nearly $4 billion in growth financing.