NYC ACRE Opens New York Energy Week

On June 18th, clean energy enthusiasts and professionals reached the 43rd floor of the New York Academy of Sciences where they were welcomed to the New York Energy Week 2014: Cleantech Startups Showcase, and confronted by a maze of rooms, brimming with start-up companies eager to share their energy initiatives in the midst of a view of glittering New York City skyscrapers.

Emily Bjorklund from EnerKnol, an energy policy research and data company based in the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Resilient Economy (NYC ACRE) incubator at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, provided opening remarks followed by Julie Binder, Vice President of ADT Corporation.

Emily Wheeler, the Deputy Director of NYC ACRE, discussed the underrepresentation of women in the energy sector and announced the launching of their new spring program, ACRE Clean Start. “We will work with NYSERDA (New York State Research and Development Authority) and the Center of Global Affairs at NYU to design a professional transition program to enable both women and military veterans to move into full time positions in the energy industry.” 

The main event consisted of 9 companies participating in a pitching session, which included Embue, Bandwagon, MICROrganic Technologies, Smarter grid Solutions, CoolChip Technologies, ClearGrid Innovations, EnergySage, ThermoLift, and Radiator Labs. From reducing consumption to increasing efficiency, companies addressed a range of energy concerns and pitched their ideas to a panel of judges consisting of Joseph Daniels (Partner at Loeb & Loeb), Erika Diamond (Senior Vice President of Community Solutions at Recyclebank), Jeanne J. Dworetzky (Assistant General Counsel at Exelon Corporation), and Tom Ryan (Chief Operating Officer at Archer Gray LLC).

The excitement of confronting energy concerns was palpable. Sarah Scott, receiving her BS for Electrical Engineering at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, described how interning at Enertiv (an energy monitoring company) has made her more energy-conscious. “I see a lot of energy waste in general on campus,” and Enertiv can help by, “enabling you to know where your energy is being spent so that you can turn lights off, you can turn equipment off, instead of constantly wasting energy.”  Sarah emphasizes that, “part of the solution to over-consumption of energy is just reducing consumption itself.”

Many Polytechnic School of Engineering alumni were in attendance to present their share of research and ideas. Mariusz Bojarski, a postdoc who studied electrical engineering and R&D lead of the project Multiphase Resonant Inverters, discussed his team’s discoveries on wireless power transfer.  “We found out it has several advantages like scalability and flexibility.” As for an application to electric vehicles, Bojarski explained, “we are partnering with companies like HEVO Power (a start-up company marketing an innovative way to wirelessly charge electric vehicles) because their technology would be perfectly fitting, and we are already working on that so that they can implement our technology.” 

Toward the end of the event, two prizes were awarded. The judge prize went to Bandwagon and the audience prize went to Radiator Labs.  In addition, the NY GreenTech 40 were announced by John Rhodes, the President and Chief Executive Officer of NYSERDA. Enertiv, Bandwagon, HEVO Power, Keen Home, and Radiator Labs were all named this honor, as some of the most promising privately-held green tech companies in New York.   

With needs for improvement and desire to expand, many representatives such as Mark Harrison, the new Chief Business Development Officer at Bandwagon, mentioned that, “Being part of NYC ACRE has been very helpful because we have resources, we have a sense of community, and it’s really big for a start-up space.” In the near future, each company looks to accomplish bigger and better things thanks to the resources provided by incubators such as NYC ACRE and associations with universities, particularly NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.