Green Light Distrikt is about entrepreneurship focused on the cleantech sector. GLD U provides cleantech courses . Edited by Chris Williams with frequent guest posts from friends, experts and industry insiders from clusters across the globe. Our goal is to provide a place where cleantech entrepreneurs in various clusters across the globe can learn from one another. Green Light Distrikt is creating the "Hitchikers Guide to Clentech" to provide a resource for cleantech entrepreneurs. Read more
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August 3rd, 2010NEW YORK -
Last week, I went down to NYC to get my feet wet and explore the green scene in the big, hopefully green, apple. So, I figured the Green Entrepreneurship Summit would be a good place to start. A huge shout out to Erica Grigg who told me about the event and invited me to come down.
There were two awesome panels, one on marketing and the other on financing. My buddy Kosta Stavreas did an awesome compilation of thoughts from the finance panel and I’m going to share what I learned from the marketing panel. + Continue Reading
July 22nd, 2010NEW YORK -
Right now, I’m sitting in a room at the Hope Lodge at 132 W 32nd Street in NYC waiting for the Green Entrepreneurship Summit to start.
If you’re interested in learning about the green scene in NYC, here’s your chance.
If you want to see what’s happening, follow the #greenENT tag on twitter
The event is sold out, but if you want to watch it we’ll be streaming live via ustream. Here is the agenda to event, there are going to be some great speakers. Finally, here is the Green Entrepreneurship Summit Ustream
I have my video camera so I’m planning on getting some more in depth videos that I’ll follow up with.
July 7th, 2010NEW YORK -
I love the Boston cleantech scene, but I’m getting a little bored with it. There’s tons of events, business plan competitions and business developments constantly happening but I’m starting to feel like I’m just going through the motions.
Now, I’m really interested in seeing what’s happening in other US cities in cleantech.
I’m going to start with exploring the industry in NYC. I’ve started talking with pros in other cities and two weeks ago I had a great conversation with Erica Grigg who is helping to organize a great event in NYC on July 22nd called the Green Entrepreneurship Summit. The angle is very cool, ‘Scaling Up Without Selling Out’ the goal is to help green business owners who are looking to grow do so, without compromising their ideals. There are some great panelists speaking and I’m looking forward to going to the event. Personally, I’m very interested to see Michael Margolis speak as I’m realizing more and more business is about trust, relationships, and storytelling more then anything else. I’m planning on getting some great content at the event and doing a follow post. If you’re in NYC on July 22nd you should go, if you are fire me a tweet and I’ll be looking forward to seeing you there.
I’m very excited to go to the event and meet some amazing people and learn about what they’re working on in NYC. There are two other items I’m doing to explore the industry in other cities.
First, I’m in the process of recruiting more young industry insiders, working in cleantech in New York City and Boulder. We have one writer in each city right now, and our goal is ten. If you fit this profile, and are interested in joining our community, please contact me.
Second, The Green Light Distrikt is starting its yearly report on the Top 10 US Cleantech Cities. The goal is to crowd-source the research on the state of the cleantech industry and resources in US cities, compile the research, then make it free to the community. If you have any information that may be useful, think you might, or know someone who does, it would be awesome to get feedback. They survey is located on the post Top 10 US Cleantech Cities. Thanks for your help
May 24th, 2010BOSTON -
Last Month the IERG (International Executive Resources Group) held a panel on International Clean Tech. This was the follow up to their, equally good, presentation on Sustainable Operations practices in an International Business. Normally, I don’t write about panels, but several of the panelists brought up new issues that I wanted to share.
First off, Francesco Fragasso the CFO of Nuvera Fuel Cells, located in Billerica, Mass and Milan, Italy made the business case for sustainability. When asked if there was a market capable of sustaining investment in clean tech (haha, pun totally intended), he responded by saying that there is a “real market because there is a real need.”
He then went on to say that loving mother earth is not the only or predominant reason for making these investments.
He listed three main points:
1. CO2 reduction/operational savings
2. Source Securitization (the big motivator)
3. Competitive advantage held by technology leaders.
So yeah, preaching to the choir, duh, not telling you anything new. Still, it always makes me smile when I hear a seasoned business person talk about sustainability and clean tech, from an ‘it just makes business sense on every level, get with the program perspective,’ as opposed to the sustainability=hippie-tree hugger talk that generally gets thrown around.
Next up was Eva Thorne a professor at Brandeis University. She brought up Brazil as an international super power when it comes to clean tech, a fact of which I had little knowledge. Brazil produces 89% of the world’s ethanol. What’s more, Brazil produces sugar cane ethanol as opposed to the questionable corn variety. Sugar Ethanol is the most advanced biofuel to date (claims the EPA) with a 61% reduction in total life cycle green house gas emissions. One of the cool attributes is that leftover cane waste can be used to power the plant that is creating the ethanol. Woohoo! Brazil is also a leading user of hydro power and has great potential for wind energy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazil
The gist of it was, that Brazil has become a global power because of their energy self sufficiency and effective government policy. Their place in the export market has catapulted the country forward. Much of this technology development was due to their Military government seeking fuel sufficiency, ordering the research and allocating the funds accordingly. Dictators don’t have red tape. So there is the silver lining of the military dictatorship—They get shit done. (please hold the hate mail. Yay Democrocy! Happy?)
Finally, there was a lively discussion between the panelists and the audience surrounding hybrid vehicles. The question posed was, if hybrids are so great, then why are they not sweeping the EU market. The panelists focused mostly on the fact that they use Diesel, which can be a very clean fuel. They also brought up that the efficiency of our hybrids is comparable to the efficiency of their diesel vehicles and mentioned that due to government policy their price per gallon has been around $9.00 for years now. The audience seemed to walk away unsatisfied with the general consensus being, ‘why should we bother with a hybrid if the Europeans haven’t gone crazy over them?’
The panel didn’t connect the dots really. The point is that hybrids seem amazing here, but they are still incredibly inefficient. We could do so much better. Most of our hybrids are less efficient on a life cycle basis than a really compact diesel vehicle. Yes, Europe has been living with high taxes, equaling high gas prices for years. As a result, everything including their SUVs and tractor trailers are tiny in comparison to ours. We just can’t beat the efficiency they have had established for years. It is always a little culture shock when I visit France. I feel like a giant for the first few days.
So, that’s all for now. It was really a good conversation and I was happy to have attended. Gotta love it when international executives are having constructive conversations about what they can be doing to develop more clean tech!
May 11th, 2010BOSTON -
Last month on April 20th, we hosted our first Clean Tech Kingpins events at the NEXUS Green Building Resource Center in downtown Boston.
It was a huge success! We had about 40 people, I met with some amazing people working on really innovative project. We saw 4 presentations from true leaders in the industry and a great question and answer sessions after the presentation.
Two pieces of good news. First, we caught it all on tape and I’ll be releasing each presentation with an overview of what was discussed starting today. Second, we’re going to make Clean Tech Kingpins a regular bi-monthly event that will serve as a place for young clean tech pros to recharge, find inspiration, connect with and becomes friends with their peers, and learn from current industry experts. So stay tuned!
Here’s who we had speak, and the order I’ll be writing about each discussion:
- Les Fritzemeir CEO and Founder Wakonda Technologies
- Paul Sellew CEO and Founder Harvest Power
- Chuck Lewin President New Generation Energy
- Jon Abe VP of Business Development Nexamp
Without further adieu, here is Les’s discussion on the current solar PV market, their opportunity, business model, and the future of building integrated solar PV. Enjoy!