17 October 2009

First State Innovation Clean Tech Forum

First State Innovation (FSI), a non-profit whose mission is "to increase Delaware's entrepreneurial capacity by growing, attracting, retaining and connecting high growth technology-based businesses and supporting infrastructure in the state," held its first clean tech forum this past Thursday night, October 15th, at the Chase Center in Wilmington.

Ernest Dianastasis, Managing Director of CAI and Chairman of First State Innovation, shared his vision for how the region can further innovation and business growth in the emerging green economy, and announced the formation of an angel fund, which will be managed by First State Innovation.

Modular Carpet Recycling (MCR), Sanosil USA, White Optics, and Athena Biotechnologies were the featured companies presenting to a capacity crowd of investors, entrepreneurs, politicians, and service providers.

Despite bad weather and the 8PM start of game one of the Phillies-Dodgers National League Championship playoffs, most of the audience stayed through all four pitches and three speakers.

Eight other early stage companies in the clean tech and green space displayed their products and services at exhibit tables.

Keynote speaker, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, spoke about the importance of addressing climate change and building a new economy around being cleaner, greener, and more sustainable.

"To the 4Cs of Delaware: Chemicals, Cars, Chickens, and Credit Cards," quipped Governor Markell. "We need to add a fifth: Cleantech."

Brian Yerger, an alternative energy industry analyst from AERCA Advisors, presented a state of the state's alternative energy progress and the global opportunity presented by clean technologies and renewable energy development.

Yerger cited public support for government incentives, improvements in technologies, and competitiveness increasing scale as key drivers that may help the clean tech sector, which has been hindered by credit and economic conditions. Yerger sees hopeful signs that by Q4 2010, things will be back on track for what he views as "a secular energy transformation."

Of the companies, I found Sanosil and White Optics to have the most interesting propositions.

Sanosil, a Swiss-based company, produces a non-chlorine disinfectant from Hydrogen Peroxide and Silver. Two formulas, Sanosil Water Microbiocide, which is for use in cooling towers and industrial process water, and Sanosil Disinfectant, which has been proven effective against a range of viruses and infectious diseases, including MRSA, Swine flu (H1N1), and HIV and is for use in hospitals, offices, and childcare facilities.

White Optics manufactures a patent-pending reflector that improves the efficiency and reflectance of traditional fluorescent light fixtures, such as found in most offices and older buildings or with newer lighting systems like LED arrays.

First State Innovation plans to hold another Clean Tech Forum in Febraury 2010.

(Disclosure: The Renewable Energy Business Network Mid-Atlantic Chapter, of which I am a co-founder, was one of the sponsors of First State Innovation Clean Tech Forum.)

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