13 CleanTech Companies to Watch Right Now (2022)
Electric vehicles are no longer a distant aspiration. Sustainable infrastructure has made its way to the top of the government policy priorities list. The International Panel on Climate Change AR6 report nudged climate conversations further into the mainstream, and COP26 illuminated ideas about what must be done to solve the climate crisis. Yes, the pandemic was and remains a challenge. But out of the discomfort, innovation has continued, and public and corporate awareness is shifting to support a clean new world.
It’s an exciting time to be a cleantech company. It’s also an exciting time to be a cleantech spectator. Here are 13 cleantech companies that are making headlines with their groundbreaking green solutions.
Up to 30% of solar and wind farm capacity is wasted, and Soluna Computing has set out to save every megawatt. Soluna is working to achieve this by buying up what would be lost energy and using it to power small-footprint data centers that focus on batchable processes such as cryptocurrency mining and machine learning. This is a boon to not only the climate but to asset owners who gain revenue by selling their power plant’s excess energy.
Soluna’s sustainable computing approach is especially timely for cryptocurrency mining, which has come under scrutiny for its environmental impacts. As the company makes its green solution the standard for renewable power plants, which it expects to do over the next three years, it will inevitably reduce the negative climate effects of multiple industries.
Listen: Bigger Than Us #184 with John Belizaire, CEO of Soluna Computing
Developing and implementing low-carbon solutions is no simple task. Instead of leaving cities, corporations, and utility companies to reinvent the wheel, Dynamhex uses AI to make the road to carbon reduction clear and accessible. By using localized data, their API platform skyrockets stakeholder engagement and significantly reduces the time it takes to develop, implement, and monitor climate strategies and identify ways to improve services. The platform’s climate-tech marketplace also makes it easy to locate collaborators.
In 2021, Dynamhex closed a $1.5 million seed round. Dynamhex is currently being leveraged by several municipality governments and utilities. The company continues to develop its technology.
Listen: Bigger Than Us #175 with Sunny Sanwar, Founder and CEO of Dynamhex.
Insects probably don’t come to mind when you think of technology, but Chapul Farms is proving they can be with their modular insect farms that close agricultural production loops. The farms house black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) and can be built on-site where organics waste streams need to be managed, eliminating carbon emissions from relocating the waste. BSFL can consume feedstocks other waste-to-value technologies can’t, such as wet organics waste. Their excrement can then be used to amend soil with nutrients, and the insects themselves are a superior feed for fish and some animals.
Listen: Bigger Than Us #183 with Pat Crowley, Founder and CEO of Chapul Farms
For the past 40 years, the experts at Earth Knowledge have been gathering hundreds of petabytes of data related to the natural world and society. If petabytes are new to you, one petabyte equals a million gigabytes. Imagine the possibilities.
Earth Knowledge works with a global network to leverage this data to provide world-class insights on environmental risk through their Integrated Planetary Intelligence platform. To date, they have been a partner and influencer for President Obama’s Climate Data Initiative and partnered with Google, BBC, The Guardian, and NASA to create a sustainability business intelligence hub used by 80% of the world’s countries. Today their focus is on building resilient, sustainable, and profitable futures by opening their data to the corporate and financial services sectors.
Listen: Bigger Than Us #178 with Julia Armstrong D’Agnese, Co-founder and CEO of Earth Knowledge
ClearFlame Engine Technologies
Clean diesel? It’s possible with ClearFlame engine technology, which uses entirely renewable plant-based fuels. Internal combustion engines maintain the same torque and efficiency when using ClearFlame, preventing these widely used engines from becoming obsolete. As a Black and woman-founded business, ClearFlame recognizes the inequities caused by pollution and climate change, inspiring them to develop their clean fuel solution with health, the environment, and cost competitiveness in mind.
After a successful on-road demonstration of their technology in a heavy-duty truck and securing $17 million in series A financing led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, ClearFlame is on track to clean up the heavy-duty industry.
Listen: Bigger Than Us #181 with Dr. BJ Johnson, Co-founder and CEO of ClearFlame Engine Technologies
Traditional solar has its advantages, but it also has its downsides, like taking up valuable space and not being aesthetically pleasing. Ubiquitous Energy eliminates these disadvantages with their UE Power™ technology, a photovoltaic window coating, which uses solar energy from glass surfaces to generate power. The company has also solved the low production issue associated with the transparent solar cells their technology uses, achieving a world record of up to 10% efficiency.
Ubiquitous Energy successfully closed a $30 million series B funding round in 2022. The company is now seeking a location for its first high-volume manufacturing line and plans to continue research and development to integrate UE Power™ technology into the window industry.
Listen: Bigger Than Us #170 with Veeral Hardev, VP of Strategy at Ubiquitous Energy
SimpliPhi Power built better, safer batteries without cobalt, which is toxic and has a problematic supply chain with ties to child labor. Then they used those batteries to create scalable energy storage systems for residential, commercial, and portable applications. Their batteries have longer lifespans, too.
Their innovation did not go unnoticed. In 2021, SimpliPhi was acquired by power equipment manufacturer Briggs & Stratton. Their products will continue to be available through SimpliPhi while extending availability through the new owner.
“This acquisition quickly establishes a strong position for Briggs & Stratton in the high-growth energy storage system market,” says Steve Andrews, President and CEO of Briggs & Stratton in a press release. “The SimpliPhi Power team brings deep application expertise, strong technical support and proven, successful products to the Briggs & Stratton portfolio of power-agnostic products and technology solutions.”
Listen: Bigger Than Us #140 with Catherine Von Burg, CEO of SimpliPhi Power
Have you heard of chitosan? You have now, and you won’t forget it after hearing the story of how Craig Kasberg saw a mountain of crab shells as potential for a sustainability startup.
Kasberg may not have had a science background, but he knew the fishing industry well—including waste streams. Today Tidal Vision helps divert the billions of pounds of crustacean shells that go to waste annually and transforms them into chitosan.
Historically, chitosan was made in China with a process that produced Toxic waste. Tidal Vision is the leading domestic producer of Chitosan, and they use a safer “green chemistry” process.
Chitosan has several uses across verticals including textiles, agriculture, water treatment, and food preservation.
Listen: Bigger Than Us #157 with Craig Kasberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Tidal Vision.
Dandelion Energy transitions homeowners from fossil-fueled to geothermal heating and cooling using their custom geothermal drilling suite and Dandelion Air heat pump. It relies on the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home. Switching to geothermal from oil, propane, and natural gas has several advantages including lower cost, improved indoor air quality, and reduced risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It also allows homeowners to go off-grid.
Dandelion is the largest geothermal company in the nation. They announced the expansion of their service to Western New York in August of 2021.
Listen: Bigger Than Us #150 with Kathy Hannun, co-founder and President of Dandelion Energy
30% of crop production goes to feed livestock. Feed makes up 50% of the cost of meat. Beta Hatch sees these problems as an opportunity to industrialize insect agriculture, and they’re well on their way. Beta Hatch recently announced they raised $10 million in a funding round led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood.
The Beta Hatch approach to “insect entrepreneurship” goes beyond raising mealworms. Their facility in Cashmere, WA is powered by renewable energy sources, and the mealworms provide a waste-to-value service. “We believe co-locating with waste sources of all types makes for not just more sustainable production, but also lower costs and shorter transportation distances,” CEO Virginia Emery told GeekWire.
Listen: Bigger Than Us #69 with Virginia Emery, CEO of Beta Hatch.
If you’re going to drive an EV, you probably assume that comes with a limitation: You can only drive so far before you need to charge the battery. But what if that charging station came to you? Or, what if you owned your own portable charging station?
SparkCharge created both of these solutions, plus the ChargeUp app to put on-demand charging at your fingertips. SparkCharge is making on-demand charging affordable with monthly rates as low as $25. CEO Josh Aviv told EVANNEX the app makes charging easy, “like UberEats or GrubHub for hungry EVs.” They also partner with roadside assistance providers such as Allstate and Urgently. Does SparkCharge sound familiar? You may have seen them on SharkTank.
Listen: Bigger than Us #135 with Joshua Aviv, Co-Founder and CEO of SparkCharge.
80 Acres Farms
Food supply chain flaws were highlighted in 2020, bringing food security top-of-mind for individuals and businesses. 80 Acres Farms brings a solution to the table with their vertical farming systems powered by renewable energy. Their growing method uses 97% less water than traditional farming, and strategic vertical farm locations mean it has a smaller transportation footprint.
Since the end of 2020, 80 Acres Farms has achieved 450% revenue growth. The company services more than 600 foodservice and retail stores including 316 Kroger locations. In August of 2021, 80 Acres Farms secured $160 million in series B funding led by General Atlantic.
Listen: Bigger Than Us #64 with Mike Zelkind, co-founder and CEO of 80 Acres Farms.
Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC)
In the remote community of Igiugig, Alaska, Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) is pioneering renewable power generated by free-flowing rivers and tidal currents. Their RivGen Power System solves energy access issues that more than two billion people in remote communities experience around the world.
ORPC recently secured $25 million in growth capital. They have several projects in the pipeline in North America, South America, Africa, and Europe.
“With over two years of operating history in the harsh river environment in Igiugig, Alaska, ORPC’s RivGen Power System has generated growing interest by remote communities globally to replace their diesel generation systems with our highly predictable, baseload renewable energy system,” ORPC CEO Stuart Davies said in a press release.
Listen: Bigger Than Us #130 with Stuart Davies, CEO of the ORPC
Hear interviews with leaders in the cleantech, green tech, and sustainability sectors every week on the Bigger Than Us podcast.