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Greentown Labs: Helping Entrepreneurs Solve Big Energy Problems
I had the opportunity earlier this month to meet the people behind Greentown Labs and many of the entrepreneurs growing their business ideas at this Boston, MA-based cleantech incubator.
Greentown Labs enables entrepreneurs to create game-changing energy technologies that will transform the way people live, work and play. With a focus on creating new ways of producing and consuming energy, Greentown Labs provides office space, ample resources and funding to help these early-stage companies thrive.
In July, Greentown Labs announced its plans to move in September to Somerville, MA, just 3.5 miles from downtown Boston. The announcement was made at a press event that included Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and other dignitaries including the Massachusetts Secretary for Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan and the Massachusetts Secretary for Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki.
Founder of Greentown Labs Jason Hanna and CEO and Exectuive Director of Greentown Labs Emily Reichert with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick at the press event in July announcing Greentown Labs' new location.
The new building will offer 24,000 sq. ft. of prototyping lab and co-located office space, a shared machine and electronics shop, immersion in a growing community of energy and clean technology entrepreneurs, and on-site events and programs designed to enable start-ups to rapidly grow their networks and companies.
Greentown Labs was the first recipient of a $300,000 working capital loan through Somerville's new one million dollar revolving innovation fund. Greentown Labs also received a $150,000 loan from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
“Two years ago, we were just four startups who needed affordable space to build things. Now we are home to 28 organizations, 100 employees, a 15 company wait list, and a vibrant community that is helping to grow the clean energy ecosystem. All of this has exceeded our expectations in every sense of the word," said Jason Hanna, founder of Greentown Labs.
Also announced at the press event was a $30,000 Greentown Grows crowdfunding campaign to help finance final construction costs. The crowd funding campaign, which ends Sept. 16, already boasts 169 funders and more than $23,000 raised. In addition, Greentown Labs is offering founding sponsorships to companies and partnering organizations that have strategic interests in building the cleantech ecosystem including talent acquisition, deal flow, company formation, and future acquisition and licensing opportunity.
“We are grateful for all the friends, sponsors and partners that have gotten us this far. The Greentown Grows Campaign is one way you can help continue to build this community and give more entrepreneurs a chance to pursue their dreams," said Emily Reichert, CEO and executive director of Greentown Labs.
Greentown Labs is home to more than 25 start-up companies—ranging from those just beginning prototyping to those who have raised a Series A venture round, and span technologies ranging from energy efficiency to transportation to water technology—including:
Altaeros Energies: Developing a breakthrough airborne wind turbine that produces abundant, low-cost, renewable energy. Altaeros turbines are designed for easy mobility and deployment at remote locations.
AMPL Energy: Creating advanced modular power, lighting and energy solutions to help the move to alternative energy sources and micro-generation.
Cleantech Open Northeast Region: The world's oldest accelerator program specifically for cleantech companies, finding, funding and fostering entrepreneurs addressing today's most urgent energy and environmental challenges.
Coincident: Developed a solution to optimize the use of HVAC equipment in residential and commercial settings.
Dirt Power: Developing microbial fuel-cell powered devices (aka dirt batteries) for remote, off-the-grid locations.
Dynamo Micropower: Proprietary low cost, ultra-portable microturbines with applications including oil and gas, portable power generation, and distributed residential and commercial cogeneration.
Energy Compression: Developing safe, green and low-cost energy storage solutions to facilitate microgrid energy management and islanding. Patented technology based on the adsorption of compressed air by zeolite minerals.
Energy Intelligence: Developing the first economical road-based energy harvesting system for use at commercial sites with regular, heavy-load vehicular traffic using an array of proprietary electro-mechanical devices.
Enmojo: An online marketplace that allows homeowners to shop competitively for home energy solutions. With Enmojo, customers receive multiple quotes from qualified local installers and get the best option.
Global Catalysts: A unique project facilitator that unites large clean energy project opportunities in Latin American emerging markets with the cutting edge commercial-ready technologies from the world's innovation hubs.
Helmet Hub: Making helmets more available lowering the barrier to entry for bikeshare users and minimizing need-to-drive vehicles.
Hydrorecovery: Scalable hydrosystem technology transforming waste energy in water pipelines into clean and useful electricity with a payback time of four years or less.
Keystone Tower Systems: Developing a new manufacturing process for wind turbine towers that enables taller, more structurally efficient towers.
NBD Nano: NBD's nano-structured surface treatments result in improved energy efficiency for various applications such as HVAC, desalination, and atmospheric water generation.
Nordic Scientific: Environmentally friendly, highly efficient and stable oxidizing solution for the bleaching, disinfectant, antiseptic and therapeutic markets.
OsComp Systems: Developing a game-changing compression technology capable of efficiently compressing wet gas and multi-phase streams to a magnitude higher compression ratios than existing technologies.
R3 Energy: An energy management consulting firm that brings energy cost saving solutions to building portfolios.
Rise Robotics: Bringing robots to life by making their building blocks better, including FiberBlocks, a new type of spring and power module that stores five times more energy than steel coils or pneumatics.
Save Energy Systems: Provides small to medium sized facilities with a simple, cost effective solution for the intelligent control of multiple HVAC systems, resulting in overall energy savings up to 25 percent without compromising comfort.
Sol Power: Designing and manufacturing solar powered charging stations to provide mobile electronic device users with a free and convenient outdoor charging option while on the go.
SolSolution: Making it extremely easy and financially attractive for schools to adopt solar power, reinvesting funds into low-income schools and educational programming focused on solar energy and STEM education.
Sustainable America: Aiming to reduce U.S. oil consumption while increasing U.S. food production. By raising awareness and supporting innovation, we can effect sustainable change.
Vecarius: Developing an exhaust heat recovery system that generates electricity and reduces fuel consumption and emissions of vehicles by five and 10 percent, achieving hybrid-like benefits at far lower cost.
Visit EcoWatch's RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
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"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
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"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
- Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change ›
- How working less could solve all our problems. Really. | ›
- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›