State of Green Business

Winners Named in California Competition of Cleantech Open

Winners Named in California Competition of Cleantech Open

A firm that converts raw sewage into biodegradable plastic and another that turns recycled PET plastic into roof tiles are among the six early stage startups that have won the California competition of the Cleantech Open.

Each of the six winners in the regional competition receives a prize package worth $100,000 in cash and services that are intended to help build the business.

They also go on to compete with the winners of two other regional divisions in the contest:

The Pacific Northwest Cleantech Open honors its winners on Thursday in Seattle. The Rocky Mountain Cleantech Open holds its award ceremony November 2 in Denver. The grand prize winner of the competition will be announced November 17 in San Francisco.

California winners and runners-up were named in six categories. They are:

Air, Water and Waste

Winner Micromidas converts raw sewage into biodegradable plastic.

Runner-up Solum works to prevent or reduce fertilizer runoff through agricultural sensing.

Energy Efficiency

Winner Alphabet Energy intends to commercialize a disruptive, low-cost thermoelectric technology (developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) that captures wasted energy and converts it into electricity. The producers of waste heat can use the electricity to power their facilities, or sell it back to the grid. "

Runner-up PowerZoa has developed a smart plug for residential use that fits between wall outlets and appliances in order to monitor and control energy usage.

Green Building

Winner tru2earth makes tru2earth Life Cycle Roof Tile -- roofing materials the startup says are rated at 50-plus years --  that are produced from recycled PET plastic water and soda bottles.

Runner-up GreenPyro produces enriched biochar, a replacement for compost to grow healthier plants, save on fertilizer and water and mitigate climate change.


Winner Armageddon Energy sells a packaged retail residential rooftop solar energy system that is attractive, affordable and easy to install.

Runner-up ZERE, which stands for Zero Emission Renewable Energy, wants to establish energy plants powered by biomass fuel.

Smart Power

Winner EcoFactor has devised a personalized residential energy management solution for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Runner-up Velkess focuses on grid-scale energy storage technology.


Winner FuelSaver Technologies proposes to increase fuel efficiency in long-haul tractor-trailer trucks and buses through full-body streamlining of the vehicle's aerodynamic profile to minimize drag at the back of the trailer, underbelly of the trailer and the gap between the tractor and trailer.  

Runner-up itMoves intends to create the cleanest vehicles on the market.