Looking for Innovative Cleantech Companies? Check Out These Lists

Innovative companies across the cleantech industry are the subject of two comprehensive rankings.

The lists are very different: the first, the 2012 Global Cleantech 100, covers a broad swath of green technology innovation; the second, the Artemis Project 50, focuses strictly on technologies for water infrastructure and management.

But there is a common theme underlying them both – a focus on companies that can get their products and services to scale quickly in a matter of months and years, rather than decades.

Energy efficiency is also a recurring mantra.

The 2012 Global Cleantech 100

Energy efficiency is the hottest sector on the 2012 Global Cleantech 100 list, representing 20% of the privately held, innovative companies (22 in all) on this year’s list, selected by The Cleantech Group.

The list recognizes the 100 most promising and innovative companies in areas such as energy efficiency, biofuels & biochemicals, smart grid, renewable energy, water and waste, and transportation.

Its aim is to identify businesses that can make a "significant market impact" in 5-10 years. Over the past three years, energy efficiency has been gaining steadily in importance, says Cleantech Group.

5,117 companies from 85 countries were nominated this year – the winners were chosen by a 75-member expert panel including leading global investors, as well as input from corporate executives from ABB, BP, Ecolab, GE, General Motors, IBM, Intel, Johnson Controls, Procter & Gamble, and Vestas.

“The list reveals an increasing maturity of the cleantech sector. In contrast to what the press and stock markets may have you believe, many private cleantech companies are gaining real market traction, generating significant revenues and profits and contributing materially to the challenges of resource efficiency and the climate crisis," says Colin le Duc, Partner, General Investment Management and member of the expert panel. "The best companies in this sector are demonstrating the value of focus and persistence and are emerging as stronger organizations for having thrived in a very challenging environment over recent years.”

Here are some quick facts about the ranking:

  • Although the majority of the companies are from the US (64), 13 countries are represented
  • There are far fewer solar companies than in the past – 40% less than in 2009
  • Corporations are more active as investors, with these companies leading the way: GE, Siemens, Google, IBM and Waste Management
  • The 100 companies on the list are backed by more than 400 investment firms from 28 countries. Kleiner Perkins is the most prolific shareholder in companies on the 2012 list, with a stake in 19 of them, representing 44% of its overall cleantech portfolio.

The Cleantech Group also recognizes the highest-ranked companies for each region:  

  • North America: OPower – its service analyzes customer engagement and billing trends for utilities 
  • Europe & Israel: NovaLED – makes energy-saving, long-life organic light emitting diodes
  • Asia Pacific: Miartech – designs integrated circuits for power line communication systems

There are three special awards:

  • Rising Star of the Year (for the highest-ranked new entrant on the list): Clean Power Finance– provides power purchase financing for solar PV installations and customer acquisition software for installers.
  • Continued Excellence (for making the list for at least three consecutive years): Harvest Power – maximizes the value of organic materials through the production of renewable energy and soils, mulches and natural fertilizers.
  • Early Stage Company of the Year (for the highest-ranked development stage company): Siluria Technologies –  develops methane conversion technology for creating fuels and chemicals from natural gas. 

The Artemis Project 50

The Artemis Project, a non-profit that helps young water technology companies gain traction on the world market, selected the top 50 most promising companies that are addressing the world’s water challenges.

Chosen from a pool of 125 nominees, the jury included both big companies (Intel, Archer Daniels Midland, IBM, Ecolab and Syngenta) and water experts working with the public sector (McKinsey, CH2M Hill, Carollo Engineers and Singapore’s Public Utilities Board).

Companies were chosen for their business model and their ability to scale the technology. 

"The Artemis Top 50 serves as a lightning rod for start-ups that will change water management," says Laura Shenkar, who chaired this year’s selection process. 

Here too, the majority are from the US (29). Some of the companies are: 

  • Marrone Bio Innovations: pest management for water systems (also made the 2012 Global Cleantech 100 list)
  • 212 Resources: recovery and treatment for water tainted by oil and hydrocarbons 
  • ENBALA Power Networks: energy management for treatment and wastewater plants
  • NanoH20: energy-efficient reverse osmosis technology for seawater desalination
  • New Sky Energy: green chemicals from wastewater
  • Saltworks Technologies: purification, desalination and brine treatement
  • Atlantis Technologies: chemical-free desalination
  • TaKaDu: water monitoring networks
  • Aqua-Pure Ventures: industrial wastewater recycling
  • HTI: wastewater filtration using forward osmosis technology

Read about the 2012 Artemis Project 50 companies.

Here’s the Global Cleantech 100 list:

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