I recently represented Itron Idea Labs at the Cleantech Open Global Forum held in Los Angeles at LACI, the Itron-sponsored Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. With a decade-long track record, the Cleantech Open is the world’s largest accelerator of early-stage clean and renewable technology companies.

At this year’s event, 15 semi-finalists were selected from the 100 cleantech startups that participated in year-long accelerator programs operated by CTOs at eight North America regional accelerators and their international affiliates. In the end, Radical Plastics bested the other finalists — Sanos Nutrition, Sepion Technologies, Social Solar, South 8 Technologies and YouSolar — to win the $50,000 grand prize. Addressing the global environmental plastics pollution crisis, Radical Plastics has developed an exciting technology for the manufacture of cost-effective, ecologically-friendly, soil biodegradable plastics.

A runner-up, Sepion Technologies, has developed a promising platform membrane technology for lithium ion batteries that overcomes the shortcomings of conventional ceramic membrane technologies (scalability, power density and cost) thus enabling cost-effective electric vehicles (EVs) with a 400-mile range as well as grid-scale battery storage. Targeting transportation, grid storage and aerospace applications, South 8 Technologies has created an innovative Liquefied Gas Electrolyte chemistry for electrochemical energy storage (EES) devices including lithium batteries and electrochemical capacitors. Such EES solutions will be critical for the efficient and reliable storage of energy generated from renewable resources such as solar and wind. ESS also holds the promise of delivering the performance, reliability and efficiency essential to drive the growth of the EV and portable electronics industries.

Based on the creativity, passion and commitment demonstrated by these Cleantech Open startups, the future of both the cleantech industry and the utilities sector seems bright—and Itron Idea Labs is excited to be part of the conversation!

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James Edson
Jim Edson has served as Entrepreneur in Residence in Itron's Idea Labs since early 2017. He has held senior operations, business development and management positions at Motorola, Qualcomm, Ericsson, ARM and several early-stage technology companies. Jim’s focus within Itron Idea Labs is on smart cities and collaborating with clean tech incubators and accelerators to identify promising new solutions and startups.