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Three Cleantech Open Alumni Startups to Watch

Looking for the next hot ticket in cleantech? Try micro power generation, hydrokinetic turbines, and “algae cocktails” for cleaning contaminated water.

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Last week, Fast Company had the chance to sit in on a venture-capital pitch session featuring a number of startups that have in the past participated in the Cleantech Open, a series of competitions that provides funding and advice to cleantech startups. Below, we look at three of the companies with the most compelling pitches.

Fenix International

This startup designs distributed, small-scale micro power generation and storage solutions in a box. Fenix’s ReadySet, a durable box that can be charged with a bicycle generator, a solar panel, or from the grid, is designed for cell phone battery charging (and other small-scale electronic charging applications) in the developing world. The box will cost just under $100, but Fenix plans to sell it through mobile-phone operators who can potentially increase their revenue by distributing it to customers who might not otherwise have access to electricity (the more people who keep their phones charged, the more people using their phones in the first place).

Hydrovolts

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This startup sells hydrokinetic turbines that derive clean energy from water currents. The Hydrovolts turbine can be deployed into a canal in an hour, at which point it produces between one and 25 kW of power, or enough to power one to three average
American homes (or a village in a developing country.) The turbine is modular, scalable, and can fit inside a shipping container. A medium-sized turbine will go for $20,000 when Hydrovolts begins commercial sales in late 2011.

BioVantage Resources

BioVantage offers algae-based bioremediation systems in wastewater lagoons–essentially, the startup offers unique “algae cocktails” that clean contaminated water. The company has raised $1 million in 18 months, and estimates that there is a $6 billion market for its services in the U.S. alone. The company won its first three deals in the past two weeks–meaning its algae cocktails will go to market soon.

Follow Fast Company on Twitter. Ariel Schwartz can be reached by email.

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About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.

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