When it came time to design permanent office space for Sustainable America in Stamford, Conn., our dream was for it to be more than just a collection of desks and conference rooms. We wanted to showcase the innovations that will help us build more sustainable food and fuel systems. Here’s a first look at our plans: compost bins, growing walls, EVs and more!
If you’ve been following Sustainable America’s evolution over the last two years, you know that part of our philosophy is that investing in entrepreneurs and startups is an effective way to help increase the sustainability of our food and fuel systems. What you might not know is how we do it, and what some of our criteria are for making these investments.
Freight is an essential part of the world economy, and goods are largely moved with fossil fuels. But wait times, congestion, idling, and other factors all lead to wasted fuel and air pollution. With U.S. domestic freight expected to double and international freight to triple by the year 2035, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) is spurring development of information systems to improve the efficiency of moving goods. Here’s how they hope to do it…
With the global demand for calories expected to grow by almost 50% over the next 40 years, the question on many minds is how to produce enough food to feed the world population. Though crop yields in the United States have grown in the last decade, they must continue to grow — and some farms are starting to use precision agriculture to do just that.
Our global oil system is operating at near capacity—97 percent—which just isn’t sustainable. Because 70% of oil consumption in the U.S. is used for ground transportation, reducing the amount of gas used by vehicles is key to heading off an impending crisis. Boston-based Vecarius, which recently won the 2013 Sustainable America/Greentown Labs Fellowship, is working to tackle this problem by turning vehicles’ exhaust waste heat into energy, technology that can reduce fuel usage in vehicles by 5 to 10 percent. We talked to CEO Steven Casey to learn more about his innovative product.
We’re thrilled to announce the winner of the 2013 Sustainable America/Greentown Labs Fellowship. Vecarius, a vehicle waste-heat recovery company based in Boston, was chosen from a field of nine finalists who pitched their business ideas to a room of 60 entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, and students at a networking event Thursday at Greentown Labs in Somerville, Mass.
As more and more Americans realize the truth about idling their cars, we can’t forget about the millions of truckers transporting products for us across the nation’s highways. You might not realize how much time those trucks spend idling to power their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems inside the cabs of the trucks in which they basically live while on the road. Regulations require them to take at least an eight to 10 hour break every day—and for much of that time, their trucks are idling or using diesel-powered auxiliary units for power.
The applications are in for our new fellowship program, and we’re excited by all the innovative startups that applied. We’ve narrowed the applicant pool down to nine exciting ventures engaged in trying to solve a number of problems in agriculture and transportation via sustainable solutions.
Here’s a head-scratching statistic: In 2010, crop growers in the United States lost $20 billion a year due to insect damage despite spending $4.5 billion on pesticide applications. It turns out that agricultural pest management is a surprisingly inefficient system that involves sticky traps, updating spreadsheets, and a lot of legwork.
An Indiana-based startup, has come up with a way to save growers legwork, hassle, and money—and reduce the amount of pesticides sprayed on crops—by automating the insect-tracking process. We spoke with Kim Nicholson, Spensa Technologies’ vice president of business development, to learn more about the product and the company.
Northeast-based cleantech startups have a little more time to enter the fellowship program Sustainable America is producing with Greentown Labs. The competition is open to start-ups engaged in sustainable solutions focused on transportation or agriculture.