Showing great promise in moving us toward a more sustainable world, these energy breakthroughs are attracting investment from major companies (Goldman Sachs and the NFL) and celebrities (Leo DiCaprio).
For engineering an electric plane that can fly up to 100 miles
Electric flight could help reduce the carbon emissions of the air travel industry, which contributes more than 2% of the annual global total. MagniX is building the engines that power those flights. It’s 750-horsepower, all-electric motor is designed for ‘Middle-Mile’ aircraft traveling distances of 100 miles or less, one of the fastest growing flight legs, and the company just signed a landmark deal with Pacific Northwest airline Harbour Air.
2. GE Renewable Energy
For manufacturing the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine
This year, the company installed the first of its largest current onshore turbines, the 5MW Cypress platform, which is producing power in the Netherlands (three more are coming online in Germany shortly). It’s also begun manufacturing the Haliade-X 12MW, which will be the world’s most powerful—and largest—offshore wind turbine when completed.
3. Green Mountain Power
For helping Vermont homeowners buy batteries
The Vermont utility is pushing hard to create a more distributed energy grid in the state by offering incentives to its customers to buy batteries, helping its customers add more than 1,000 new home energy storage systems last year. Using its battery network and utility to scale the batteries already installed, Green Mountain Power was able to drastically reduce energy costs during a summer heatwave, taking the equivalent of 8,000 homes off the grid.
For inventing a more efficient air-conditioner refrigerant
As the world gets hotter, air-conditioner use goes up, which then increases emissions. Bluon—which has attracted investment from Leonardo Dicaprio—has invented a new refrigerant that makes AC units run more efficiently. Adding TdX 20 to an HVAC system in a 100,000-square-foot office building is the equivalent of taking 40 cars off the road.
For achieving a year early its 26-year goal to be a carbon-neutral company
Carpets and flooring may not be the first thing you think about when it comes to CO2 emissions, but they are often made from petroleum-based products. Interface is a global manufacturer of commercial flooring as well as a longtime leader in sustainability efforts. This past year, the company achieved carbon neutrality in all its flooring manufacturing, while also generating $1.2 billion in revenue.
6. Powerhome Solar
For installing solar panels on NFL stadiums
By bringing solar to big public installations associated with major sports teams, Powerhome is helping to popularize the technology and give it more visibility. This year, the company installed a solar panel system for the Panthers (it already had done several other NFL teams). It has deals lined up for the Colts and the Steelers at team facilities, as well as Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians. The company’s revenue was up 190% year over year.
7. GreenMantra Technologies
For recycling ordinary plastic into an industrial material
Plastic tends to deteriorate during recycling, but GreenMantra Technologies is finding novel ways to enable the reuse of polystyrene in industrial applications. The company recently received an investment from the Canadian government and established partnerships with several chemical companies.
8. Carbon Lighthouse
For enabling companies to optimize their energy use
Energy efficiency gains are key to hitting carbon goals, but many real estate owners are hesitant because they can often mean high upfront costs or major renovations. Carbon Lighthouse, which deploys software that can save up to 30% energy savings in existing systems, has signed deals with Goldman Sachs, Intercontinental, Madison International, and others.
9. Oxford Properties
For building the largest net-zero and timber skyscrapers
The company is erecting both the largest net-zero carbon skyscraper and the largest timber skyscraper in two different cities, and both represent potentially major solutions to building emissions.
For designing an apartment complex that acts like a solar power plant
The battery company’s latest project, Soleil Lofts in Salt Lake city, is an apartment complex that is essentially its own powerplant. Each unit comes with a battery. The batteries charge from solar on the roof and can be discharged by the local utility in times of high-energy use instead of turning on a dirty “peaker” plant. It’s a vision for the all-electric future.
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