7 CleanTech Companies to Watch in 2021

Electric vehicles are no longer a distant aspiration. Sustainable infrastructure had 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. 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 green 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 seven cleantech companies that are making headlines with their innovative ideas and impactful initiatives. 

1. 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.

2. Beta Hatch

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.

3. Tidal Vision

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.

4. Dandelion Energy

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

5. Simpliphi Power

Simpliphi Power built better, safer batteries. Then they used those batteries to create scalable energy storage systems for residential, commercial, and portable applications. Their batteries have longer lifespans, too. But their mission doesn’t end there.

Through The IDEA, Simpliphi Power partners with other companies to provide critical renewable energy resources to empower communities globally to make a positive impact on social, economic, and ecological living standards consistent with the UN SDG’s. Most recently, Simpliphi and IDEA donors, and Empowered by Light donated solar panels and energy storage to the International Anti-Poaching Foundation’s (IAPF) all-women Akashinga Ranger Program. 

“That is one of the fundamental precepts, I think in terms of founding this company in this belief in access to resources and creating an environment where everybody can reach their potential,” Simpliphi Power President and CEO Catherine Von Burg said on the Bigger Than Us podcast.

Listen: Bigger Than Us #140 with Catherine Von Burg, CEO of SimpliPhi Power

6. SparkCharge

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.

7. 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

Raj Daniels

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