Cleantech Open – the “Academy Awards of Clean Technology” as some call it – wrapped up its yearlong pursuit of the most innovative clean tech start ups in San Jose, California this week as it announced the winners of its competition. The event, which we’ve been tracking through the regionals held earlier this year, helps bring prestige and greater recognition to all those who make it to the end, not to mention a nice cash prize in seed investment and related services.

The 2011 National Grand Prize winner, according to the Cleantech Open, was given to Atmosphere Recovery, a start up that focuses upon “unique, laser-based gas analyzer systems for efficient manufacturing and advanced energy process control.” It netted $250,000 for its efforts. Runners up to this company included Indow Windows and PK Clean.

image via Atmosphere Recovery

Moving through the other awards, two companies this year were named Alumni Award winners – Energy Hub and Power Assure. They were joined in the winner’s circle by other Grand Prize finalists in their respective cleantech categories (air-water-waste, energy efficiency, green building, smart power), regional winners from various areas around the nation and a “National Sustainability Award.” This latter item, looking at “the sustainability of the technologies and ideas of the teams that enter the Cleantech Open,” was awarded to Indow Windows.

Of note as well is the Global Cleantech Open Ideas champion, which this year went to Biofiltro of Chile. This category, which drew more than 1,000 applications submitted from countries around the world, looks to find what are “big ideas” via examination of cleantech start ups at a grassroots level.

Organizers of the Cleantech Open noted that since the event opened six years ago, 593 companies “have completed the non-profit organization’s entrepreneurship programs in the United States alone. Collectively, these companies have so far raised more than $500 million in funding.”

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