Tag Archives: innovation

A Smart Solution for Truck Idling

Trucks at night at a truckstop

Photo: Todd Lappinvia Flickr

Like most good innovations, Idle Smart’s automated idling management solution for trucks began with someone thinking, there’s got to be a better way. In this case, that person was a truck mechanic in Kansas, who realized a lot of the problems he was fixing were caused by the amount of idling trucks were doing while on the job. Functions like keeping cabin temperatures comfortable for drivers overnight or engines from freezing in cold weather are necessary to keeping trucks on the road, but idling engines cause wear and tear — and costs money in fuel and maintenance. Learn more about this smart solutions to truck riding…

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Voyo Is Turning Older Cars Into Fuel-Efficient Smart Cars

Voyo Ecostart plug and play Start Stop technology

You’ve got a FitBit for your body. Soon, you can have something similar for your car. San Francisco startup Voyomotive has developed Voyo, a telematics system that can tap into your car’s diagnostics system and allow you do a whole host of things previously only available on tricked-out connected cars. We’re most excited about Voyo’s fuel-saving features, like a plug-and-play start/stop system, that can help drivers dramatically cut idling time and drive more efficiently.

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Building a Better Gas Tank

Infinite Composites Technologies high-pressure fuel tank

Introducing our latest investment: Infinite Composites Technologies. This Tulsa-based company has an innovative design to make higher capacity, lighter tanks for alternative fuels, helping to increase efficiency and solve range anxiety.

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Investing in a Sustainable Future

Sustainable America

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.

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Finalists Announced for Sustainable America/Greentown Labs Fellowship

Boston skyline

Photo Credit: Sunset Noir via Compfight cc

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.

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Ag Innovations: Robotic Bug Trackers

Spensa Technologies' Z-Trap in the field

Photo: Johnny Park

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.

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First Ag-Bioscience High School to Open This Fall

Global Impact STEM Academy logo

Global Impact STEM Academy, a new public high school in Springfield, Ohio — and the first in the nation to focus on agricultural biosciences — is now recruiting students. The concept for the school was developed to address the region’s widening gap between the skills of its workforce and the skills required for the agbioscience industry and give young people real-world experience in areas with strong job and economic growth — agriculture, energy and the environment.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.

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