Aug 6, 2011

Top Ten: Energy Startups

4 min


10. AltaRock Energy

Seattle, Washington

AltaRock Energy claims it can tap geothermal energy anywhere in the U.S., not just in geologically active hotspots.  The company’s wells are as deep as four miles, and AltaRock is in the process of proving its worth with projects in Oregon and Nevada.  One of its key hurdles is proving that the technology won’t trigger earthquakes. 

9. Solena Fuels

Washington, D.C.

Solena Fuels made headlines in 2011 when a group of major airlines led by American and United Continental entered into negotiations for the company’s proprietary jet biofuel.  The company’s plasma generated biofuel is a drop-in alternative to oil-derived jet fuels, offering a new form of energy security to the air travel industry.

8. Defkalion Green Technologies

Glifada, Greece

Early 2011 saw the rise of the Energy Catalyzer, a revolutionary cold fusion heat energy generator developed by inventors Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi.  The machine generates more energy than is put into it in a hydrogen and nickel powder reaction.  Defkalion Green Technologies is the first company granted rights to develop an Energy Catalyzer power plant. 

7.  SolarCity

San Mateo, California

SolarCity is a leading full-service solar provider for homeowners, businesses and government organizations—the first company to provide solar power system design, financing, installation and monitoring services from a single source.

Google recently created a $280 million fund—its largest renewable energy investment to-date—to help SolarCity install rooftop systems across America.

6. Laricina Energy

Calgary, Alberta

Laricina Energy is an oil sands development company with estimated 4.6 billion barrels of bitumen in proven reserves. Once under full production, Laricina could catapult Canada into the position of number one oil producer in the world, surpassing Saudi Arabia.  The company is currently testing pilot wells with its Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage technology and expects production of 40,000 barrels per day by 2014.

5. Solazyme

San Francisco, California

Solazyme Inc. has been working closely with the United States military to create biofuels to power fighter jets, naval ships and ground vehicles.  The company recently powered the first military helicopter flight to run on algal biofuel.  The company’s proprietary algae biofuel process makes it one of the world leaders in the up-and-coming sector.

4.  PowerbyProxi

Auckland, New Zealand

PowerbyProxi is breaking ground on wireless electricity transfer technology.  Its unique process converts electricity into a magnetic field that can travel through the air, then regenerate electricity when it reaches its destination.  The company is applying the technology to battery charging, control systems and sensors.

3.  Transphorm

Goleta, California

Backed by Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, Transphorm has been grabbing headlines with its new energy conversion technology.  Using a revolutionary material known as Gallium Nitride, Transphorm believes it can recover billions of dollars worth of energy lost in the electricity conversion process.

2.  BrightSource Energy

Oakland, California

Backed by Google, BrightSource Energy is developing the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, which will be the world’s largest solar thermal pant.  The company has also partnered with BP Alternative Energy, Morgan Stanley, Chevron and Statoil in its pursuit of utilities-scale solar projects.

1.  Sapphire Energy

San Diego, California

Sapphire Energy has successfully created a drop-in gasoline alternative that is directly compatible with existing petroleum infrastructure.  The company’s “Green Crude” product is a direct replacement for crude oil made from algae that can be used in existing refineries, pipelines and pump stations.

Sapphire Energy’s algae biofuel production takes place in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where CEO Jason Pyle has stated "Sapphire hopes to produce 1 million gallons of algae diesel and jet fuel each year in the next two years" and "1 billion gallons of fuel a year by 2025."

In September 2009, Sapphire Energy partnered with Syntroleum Inc. to provide 50 gallons of its fuel to drive a plugin-hybrid Toyota Prius across the United States to prove the efficacy of the “Green Crude” technology.

The company’s “Green Crude” meets fuel quality standards and has achieved a 91 octane rating.  If there’s one company to bet on, it would be the one that can directly replace declining oil reserves; and that’s exactly what Sapphire Energy is doing.

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Mar 20, 2020

Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s To...

Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management. 

As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient. 

In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared. 

“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner. 

Establish a preparedness framework

Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.

Monitor the situation

It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.

Revise finance

Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out. 

Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.

Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols

It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.

Review HR 

Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.

In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences. 


Establish a communication programme

People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.

Review the impact on the operation

Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.

Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?

Review IT 

IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.

In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications. 

Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response

Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.

Review after-action

Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.

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