It’s the end of the year. A time when many look back on the past 365 days in an attempt to assess both accomplishments and failures. Acknowledging the past is important, especially if we want to avoid repeating our mistakes, but dwelling there for too long can be depressing. We’d rather look ahead. When it comes to clean technology, 2013 is full of potential.
More people than ever before acknowledge that the dirty fuels and wasteful processes that make up the status quo cannot continue. In the wake of disasters like Hurricane Sandy, the conversation about climate change and the real reasons we need to “go green” as a society has become a national discussion. Thanks to internet innovations, crowdfunding and other alternatives are breaking down barriers to systemic change. Lux Research, a tech-scouting firm out of Boston, Mass., recently released its list of companies to watch in 2013, and we whittled it down to five of our favorites. let us know whether you think they’re game changers or duds.
Beta Renewables (Italy) – makes non-food cellulosic biomass practical and cost-effective for the production of advanced biofuels and biochemicals. This European startup could do wonders for the cellulosic ethanol industry’s rapidly declining image, but only if it can make it to market on time and under budget.
Imprint Energy (USA) – This company says its Zinc Poly battery technology removes longstanding limitations on the rechargeability of zinc-based batteries. It also enables the production of ultrathin, flexible, high energy density rechargeable batteries for significantly lower cost and without the design limitations or safety concerns of other battery technologies.
Azzurro Semiconductors (Germany) – Offering next generation epitaxial wafers for super-efficient LED and power semiconductor applications. Compared to current generation wafers the use of Azzurro’s large diameter GaN-on-Si-wafers allows the industry to facilitate standard semiconductor production sites at a fraction of the normal cost.
Silevo (USA) – By utilizing electroplated copper contacts and a thin amorphous silicon layer on its crystalline silicon solar cells, Silevo has a module efficiency of 18.4 percent, with plans for even higher efficiency while remaining cost-competitive.
Desalitech (Israel) – Makers of water production and treatment technologies that reduce water treatment costs by up to 20 percent while delivering superior performance compared to state-of-the-art conventional reverse osmosis processes. This pick is what Lux calls a “wait and see” since a second round funding effort in 2013 is needed for the company to be profitable.