Entrepreneurship

November 28th, 2011

Reincarnating “Skunk Works” approach in Cleantech

London -

1943, is the year in which the antecedents of Lockheed Martin’s “Skunkworks” can be found. Since those early days the famous division has produced famous planes such as the U2 and the Blackbird. These tremendously innovative projects were all founded upon the idea of small, unconventional teams of engineers and innovators operating in a large corporation.

Greenbird

The ground breaking innovators in the “Skunkworks” were shielded as if working in start-up firm, isolating them from bureaucratic interference. Considering their main customer was the government, this was a huge and extremely effective achievement.

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May 10th, 2011

My Plan to Make A Building More Profitable and Use 75% Less Energy from Day 1

BOSTON -

Inspiration is funny sometimes. You never know when you’re going to take something you’ve glanced by in the past and combine it with an experience you’ve had in the present to form a new idea.

About two years ago, I watched this video.

I didn’t think much of it. I like how Tom framed the issue, his argument, the use of existing technologies and the tone of practicality he used when speaking. I always liked the idea of reducing a buildings energy use by 75%, the amount the world needs to reduce it’s carbon emissions to side step mass casualty, because it is more profitable for the building owner to do so.

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April 20th, 2011

NYC Bets Big on Cleantech: An Interview with the Director of NYC ACRE Incubator

NEW YORK -

New York City is so close to Boston yet I know relatively little about the energy industry there. So, the day before I flew over to Europe, I decided to check out NYC’s cleantech incubator called ACRE which stands for “Accelerator for Clean and Renewable Economy“. It was started by a $1.5million dollar grant from NYSERDA to NYC Poly . The grant was made in collaboration with NYCEDC, NYCIF, Columbia Univ., NYU, and Pratt Institute. They put on awesome events, so sign up for their newsletter if you want to keep in touch with them and utilize a great resource in the city. Lastly, if you’re an executive looking to transfer into cleantech, you should look into their Cleantech execs program.

nyu poly

NYC ACRE currently hosts 10 of NYCs best startup companies and I sat down with Micah Kotch, the managing director of ACRE, before we spoke with a a number of the companies involved.

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April 1st, 2011

GLD Set to Explore European Cleantech Clusters

BOSTON -

For the next few months, I will be working remotely and living in Europe. I’ll be starting my journey in Germany and will go from there. My goal is to visit family but also to explore and understand the current drivers, players, and state of the cleantech industry across Europe. For those interested, I’ll be keeping a (professional) log of my journey on Green Light Distrikt.

I know the Boston and industry in the U.S. very well but I want to understand the successes and challenges facing the European cleantech industry. Secondly, I’m looking to identifying opportunities for collaboration (insert business opportunities) between U.S and European cleantech firms that have not yet been addressed my large multinational corporations. I will accomplish this goal by meeting with local experts and doing short interviews that I will publish in various media outlets. Lastly, I hope to connect with some young professionals that can help set up GLD clusters in their cities. For specific details on the tour and my trip read more below.

As always I’m interested to know what you, the readers, want to know about the European industry or if you know of any organizations or companies I should reach out to.

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March 24th, 2011

Towards a Greener Britain: Is There a Winning Technology?

London -

A few weeks ago, I attended an Economist debate between a diverse spectrum of speakers including, Shell, Academics, and Greenpeace to name a few. Despite their differences there as one point that gathered a consensus. There is not going to be one winning technology, but instead a mosaic of technologies.

The general theme was that green technology divides into roughly two aspects, energy and transport. Arguments were made for and against all the usual suspects within these categories, and rather than try and make the case for and against the many different combinations of technologies – I am going to pick out a few questions that were answered and other points of interest.

Q. What contribution is wind energy going to make in the U.K.?

A. Although the wind sector has been widely heralded, the general consensus was that growth after 2030 might not keep pace. It was also advocated that wind must be pursued fully, changing strict U.K. planning laws to allow onshore to be developed faster.

How to encourage the right technologies – It was suggested that the best way is to let the market decide the clean technologies. It was also proposed that the fair market enabling carbon price won’t be seen until 2030, but it will be too late by this point. If the market theory that government cannot choose the right technologies to be supported then how can we expect the best technologies to appear? It made me think of a book I read 18 months ago Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution a must read for energy policy maker, while based on the US it is applicable and critical for that every country takes note.

Exportation of technologies – An example was made about a U.K. electric van maker that has just gone insolvent, and that government procurement policies should be more supportive to U.K. firms similar to other European countries. Another speaker replied that we should just buy them (the Vans) from Renault. The original speaker made a retort that resonates with me, if a country imports all its green technologies it is missing out on a huge opportunity to develop skills and be able to export technologies around the world.

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