If you’re wondering what the future of clean energy technology will look like, the annual Cleantech Open Accelerator and Global Ideas competition is a good place to start. Founded in 2006, the organization aims to find, fund and foster the next great clean tech ideas in the country, and now, around the world. $250,000 is a pretty effective carrot to dangle in front of innovators who aren’t seeing a lot of support from the government or traditional funding outfits.

After months of deliberation, in which hundreds of applicants were dwindled down to a lucky few, the Cleantech Open recently announced its winners. The Grand Prize “Cleanie” goes to HEVT in the transportation category. Runner-up is Rentricity in the renewable energy category. More about each of these promising companies after the jump.

Cleantech Open, winners, 2012, HEVT
Image via Cleantech Open

To earn the honor, Chicago-based HEVT developed what the judges called a “game-changing” alternative to induction and permanent magnet motors for electric vehicles. The company combines smart software with optimally designed hardware to lower initial and total cost of ownership. “Our motors make performance leaps with superior reliability and reduced cost volatility due to the combination of innovative hardware and software design – and do not require the use of rare earth metals,” explains their website.

New York City-based Rentricity is a renewable energy company that generates electricity from untapped pressure in drinking water pipes. The company hopes to work with municipal and industrial water facilities to generate clean, renewable electricity from an otherwise wasted resource.

Other companies recognized in the competition include Sustainable Systems International which won the 2012 National Sustainability Award; Dragonfly Solutions which earned the 2012 Alumni Award; and Biosyntia of Denmark which won the Cleantech Open 2012 Global Ideas Competition.

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