Green Innovations

Developing renewable and clean technology companies in New York

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New "Green Confidence Index" created by Syracuse company, Earthsense, LLC

Syracuse-based market research company Earthsense LLC is launching a global Green Confidence Index (GCI) that is expected to become a barometer of consumer attitudes and behaviors related to green products.  The company launched the project with, a major on-line green business publication. Read that story here:

According to, this project takes the first "realistic, nuanced" look at how and what average Americans think about green.  The new GCI will be a monthly survey of 2,500 adults across the country that is intended to track change on a consistent basis through a statistically significant sample.  The index will track what U.S., state and local governments are doing to address environmental issues.

The Green Confidence Index will be a subscription service that will offer in-depth consumer information.  To download the first issue for free:

Earthsense LLC was founded in 2007 by Wendy Cobra and Amy Hebard.  To learn more about Earthsense LLC, which is located at The Tech Garden, a high tech business incubator in Syracuse, NY, visit:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Central Upstate makes global cleantech news: Bitzer Scroll cuts ribbon on new plant

Bannon Automotive made global cleantech news last week with an announcement that it plans to manufacture electric cars in Upstate New York.  That announcement came on the heels of a ribbon cutting by Bitzer Scroll.  Read both stories here: 

Bitzer Scroll, Inc. a German manufacturer of compressors for air conditioning and refrigeration systems, also just cut the ribbon on a new manufacturing plant in the Syracuse area that is expected to create close to 300 jobs.  The firm conducted a worldwide search of possible sites for the new plant. A combination of factors—including business development incentives, local workforce expertise in compressor design, and regional strengths in energy and environmental systems research and development—led the firm to locate its new plant in the region.  “Central New York has a wealth of resources that made it a great fit for our new Scroll compressor business,” said  Richard Kobor, President of Bitzer Scroll Inc.  

The effort to recruit BITZER Scroll to New York was led by the Central New York office of Empire State Development. The effort included key contributions by the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (Syracuse CoE) and National Grid.  

The company, a subsidiary of Bitzer SE of Sindelfingen, Germany, occupies 60,000 square feet of space in GM’s former Inland Fisher Guide plant, now called Salina Industrial Powerpark. Bitzer has invested $20 million in the plant, where it plans to make scroll compressors in 20- to 40-ton capacities. Its only other U.S. plant is outside of Atlanta.

Kobor noted that the company picked the region because of the amount of engineering talent in the area. “This is the place we could find the critical mass of engineers,” he said. “There is still a lot of manufacturing and design talent in this area.”

Sunoco moves ahead with ramping up largest ethanol facility in the northeast in Upstate NY

Sunoco announced this week in the Oswego Business Journal that it remains committed to scaling up the northeast's largest ethanol production plant by mid 2010.  The company acquired the facility at the former Miller Brewery property in Riverview Business Park and is planning approximately $20 million in capital improvements on top of the $200 million that was already invested in the site.  “This is a first step into an area of possible growth for the company that we continue to evaluate. We can use our considerable manufacturing and logistics experience to make it successful,” Sunoco spokeswoman Virginia Logan said.

Sunoco has retained its own engineering firm to complete work on design upgrades to the facility. “Sunoco is currently in the process of finalizing the scope of work necessary. We expect work to begin this fall and the plant ready to start in the second quarter of next year. Full production is targeted for second quarter 2010,” Logan said.  The plan was designed to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol a year.  Sunoco intends to use all of the ethanol produced there, which is expected to supply about 25 percent of Sunoco’s ethanol needs.  Sunoco is a leading manufacturer and marketer of petroleum and petrochemical products. It has a refining capacity of 825,000 barrels a day and 4,700 retail sites selling gasoline and convenience products.

“Sunoco has a long history of involvement in alternative fuels,” Logan said. “The facility is strategically located and its acquisition provides Sunoco with the opportunity to further several key objectives.” 

The company is making a “significant investment” and “recognizes the importance of bringing this plant into operation,” she added.

Monday, October 26, 2009

National Grid endows sustainable energy program at Clarkson University

National Grid US President Tom King visited Clarkson University today to announce the creation of the National Grid Endowed Fund for Student Research Opportunities in Sustainable Energy.  The program will annually fund up to five summer research opportunitis for Clarkson Honors Program students studying sustainable energy.  "National Grid's endowment at Clarkson is designed to provide educational and career pathways for bright young students and is an investment in the future of sustainable energy and engineering," said King.

Clarkson President Tony Collins added, "Partnerships like this one provide our students with access to state-of-the-art research technology, while simultaneously benefitting our nation's energy consumers."

Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university.  It has a number of programs related to sustainable energy:
  • Center for Advanced Materials Processing
  • Center for Sustainable Energy Systems
  • Center for the Environment
  • Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science
  • Turbulence and Multiphase Fluid Flow Laboratory
  • EQS Center
  • Shipley Center for Innovation
For more information:

Fuel cell cars -- Cornell is driving technology to the marketplace

GM Fuel Cell Car (top left) and Cornell Fuel Cell (bottom left)

 Cornell's Fuel Cell Institute brought advanced hydrogen fuel-cell cars to Ithaca for a preview of the technology, and to help encourage adoption.  The event featured Toyota, GM and Mercedes-Benz.  The fuel cell technology for GM's car was developed in Upstate New York.  Developers said that within five years the technology should be advanced to the stage that it will be commercially and financially viable.  For more info on Cornell's work in fuel cell technology:   

Reva Electric Cars to be made in Syracuse: Governor Paterson, Senators Smith and Valesky, Congressman Maffei and Senator Schumer make announcement with local officials

It's coming ...
Bannon Autmotive joined federal, state and local officials to announce that it has selected the Syracuse region as the place to manufacture its affordablbe plug-in electric vehicle that will be based on technology developed in the U.S. by Reva Electric Car Company, LTD in India.

The company accepted an offer from NYS, marking the next milestone in the process.  In addition, Reva granted exclusive rights for U.S. development and production to Bannon Automotive, pending finalization of its financing commitments.

"Central New York's position as a national leader in green technology, and the support we received from elected officials and economic development agencies were major factors in our decision," said Paul Wilmer, CEO of Bannon Automotive, Inc.  

"By locating in New York, Bannon Automotive is helping to establish our State as the global leader in the clean energy economy and builing on the state's initiative to accelerate innovation in the electric vehicle technology through the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium," said Governor David A. Paterson."

Bannon is planning to initially invest approximately $40 million, and up to $50 to $75 million over the next five years.  Production will start with 100 employees and is expected to reach several hundred by full capacity.

Watch the press conference:

Cornell's 100+ MPG team zooms to next level in $10 million X Prize competition

Cornell's student team that is building a car that gets more than 100 miles to the gallon has zoomed to the next level of the Automotive X Prize Competition -- making Cornell the only university team in the mainstream class of vehicles.  Cornell will be judged agains 27 other vehicles.

Redshift, the nickname for Cornell's car, is a plug-in hybrid vehicle with a diesel engine and an electrical drive train powered by a lithion-ion battery pack.  Winners will be announced in 2010.

Cornell is also one of the new national Energy Frontier Research Centers exploring advanced technologies related to battery development and energy storage, and is a member of BEST -- NYS's advanced battery consortium.  (See related stories on this web site using easy search function on top left.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

NYS announces $6.3 million in Green Innovation Grants for Central New York

NYS is awarding $6.3 million in Green Innovation Grants to innovative water quality projects in Central New York.  The funds come through the federal stimulus package, and are intended to support sustainalbe, environmentally sensitive water infrastructure and technologies.  Nearly 300 applications were creceived statewide.  Selected projects were reviewed by the NYS EFC, DEC, NYSERDA, and DOH, as well as EPA.  A full list of grant recipients was announced this week and is available at:

A Green Innovation Grant of $3.2 million will build a regional digester/bioenergy facility in Cayuga County to serve ag areas in Upstate New York.  The facility will produce more than five milllion killowatt-hours of electricity per year.

Among other projects:
  • Installation of wind turbines to power a water district system in Oswego County
  • Installation of solar power and micro-turbines to power the City of Syracuse's Westcott reservoir system
  • Installation of solar power to power a wastewater treatment facility in Cayuga County

More on New York State's new Green Jobs/Green New York program

The recently signed NYS Green Jobs/Green New York program is expected to creat 14,000 jobs and save New Yorkers $1 billion on their energy bills.  The legislation aims to help weatherize 1 million homes, businesses and non-profits in the next five years, reducing carbon emissions from outmoded construction.  The program includes the following features:

Funding will come through revenue raised by the auction of carbon-emission credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and will be used to leverage private and federal investments.  The bill allocates $112 million from those auctions to NYSERDA.  Auctions for the last two years raised $126 million, with an estimated $75 million expected in the next two auctions.

NYSERDA will establish a revolving loan program to provide up to $13,000 per residential customer to retrofit a home, and up to $26,000 to retrofit each qualifying business, along with a credit enhancement for critical private-sector capital investments.

NYSERDA and the NYS DOL will create additional workforce training programs to develop a pool of talent to handle mass-scale retrofitting.  Local contractions will be certified to perform the retrofits, creating new jobs in green construction.

The program will front the cost of the work, although property owners will repay the full cost over time.  It is expected that energy use will be reduced by 30 to 40 percent, so that loan payments will be less than savings -- yielding a net gain to property owners.  

Read more at:

SyracuseCoE headquarters building nears completion

U.S. Secretary of Energy and Nobel laureate Steven Chu recently visited the SyracuseCoE headquarters building which is nearing completion.  

The 55,000 sq. ft. unique new HQ will open in early Winter 2009 and will be a test bed for innovations in environmental and energy systems.  

The LEED Platinum building will have both laboratory and office space for research and business collaborations on innovative products and services in our core focus areas of: indoor environmental quality, water resources, and clean and renewable energy.  Companies and organizations with services, products, and research and demonstration investments in our core areas are welcome to license the use of the facilities which include:  
Total Indoor Environmental Quality [TIEQ] Lab; Green Roof; Geothermal System; Lighting and Control Systems; Natural Ventilation; Personal Ventilation Systems; Advanced Building Heat Recovery/Reuse Systems; Air Quality Monitoring of Outside Air and Integrated Controls for Improving/Protecting Indoor Air; Building Materials Testing; Rain Water Capture and Reuse.  

Read more about the building at: and watch a webcam of progress at:

Coming Up: SURE 2009 -- Sustainable Use of Renewable Energy; Putting Technologies to Work

Registration is still open for SURE 2009, to be held Thursday, November 5 at SUNY ESF.  The program is a collaborative effort of the Sustainable Enterprise Partnership, led by SUNY-ESF, the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University and the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems.  The program takes a transdisciplinary approach to world-class education and research on sustainable enterprise.  Discussion topics include an overview of renewable technologies by some of the leading academic researchers in Upstate New York, along with strategies for moving forward on a renewable energy path.  Speakers include Dr. Neil Murphy, President of SUNY ESF, as well as experts in wind and solar thermal, solar photovoltaic systems, biomass heating, conversion technologies, and building green supply chains.  A session by The Clean Tech Center focuses on Green Innovations, and sessions by NYSERDA and National Grid features an overview of incentives.

For more information, and to register:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

$5 Million NYSERDA PON announced for environmentally preferred power systems technologies

PON 1670 "Environmentally Preferred Power Systems Technologies" just released

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is seeking proposals to support the development, demonstration, and commercialization of environmentally preferred power systems and electric energy storage technologies. One round is scheduled under this PON and total available funding is $5,000,000.   Proposals are due December 10, 2009.

For more information:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy releases new report: NYS is ranked fifth

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy released a new report today that ranks states for energy policy and energy efficiency results.  The report appears in today's New York Times.  

NYS scored fifth, in the company of California, Oregon, Washington and Maine, as one of the best performing states in the nation.  Top performers demonstrated high efficiency standards, a rapid shift in utility sector energy efficiency spending, progressive building code policies, appliance standards, and clean transportation.

NYS earned high marks for:
  • Utility sector policies
  • Vehicle policies
  • Financial incentives
  • Building codes
  • Appliance and equipment standards
  • Clean, distributed generation
  • Smart growth and public transportation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Leading by example initiatives
Read the state scorecard rankings at:
Read what NYS is doing at:

Innovation Fuels to open second site Upstate

Innovation Fuels, located at The Clean Tech Center / Tech Garden incubator, has announced plans to open a new biofuel blending facility in Upstate, which will open the door to the residential heating market this season.  The company blends its own heating oil, and is looking to sites in the Syracuse-Rochester corridor to scale up a blending plant that will augment the company's current blending facility in Newark, NJ.  The company is also researching the highest-yield crops to produce the most efficient form of biofuels.

The company, which recently consolidated its operations into the Tech Garden, was one of the first companies funded through the State Comptroller’s Green Strategic Investment Program.  The company received a $6.1 million investment from the Common Retirement Fund to help with its strategy to develop a range of biofuel technologies using various feedstocks.  Innovation Fuels is conducting R&D in the Central Upstate area to assess the yield value of different fuel crops such as pennycress that can be grown on marginal land.  The outcome is two fold:  enhancing the viability of agricultural lands, and producing a new generation of fuel that can be used for both heating and transportation.  The company also has offices in Newark, NJ, and Milwaukee, and is planning to expand into new markets, including Europe. press conference.

The State Comptroller committed $500 million to a Green Strategic Investment Program to boost Common Retirement Fund commitments to green and clean technology.  The fund seeks promising green investments with private equity funds, real estate funds and public equity managers.  Targeted sectors for investment include renewable energy generation such as wind and solar, biofuels, biomaterials, water purification, green building materials and transportation technologies.

For more information about Innovation Fuels:
For more information about the State Comptroller’s Green Strategic Investment Fund:

CuseCar wins $1.8 million DoE grant to develop alternative fuels stations

The US Department of Energy has just awarded a $1.8 million grant to CuseCar to develop alternative fuels stations at a historic landmark in Syracuse and other sites around the region.  

A 60,000 sq. ft. former rail depot, an iconic site along I-690, is being redeveloped as part of a $3.7 million project by CuseCar, a non-profit car sharing organization that is utilizing alternative fuels.

There are only 26 car sharing programs in the country, and CuseCar is at the leading edge of a smart transportation movement.  The creation of Synapse Partners, an environmental risk management company, CuseCar was launched in 2008.

The grant to CuseCar comes through the federal stimulus package.  In addition to the federal grant, Synapse is utilizing a $825,000 state grant to help revitalize the historic structure, which is on the National Register.  National Grid and GM are working with Synapse Partners on the development of alternative fuel stations for electric hybrid and hydrogen vehicles.   Cuse Car is looking to install fueling stations throughout the county, powered by solar panels to be installed at the historic depot site.  Plans also call for the installation of a compressed natural gas station, as well as a hydrogen fueling station in partnership with GM.  

For more info:

Clean Cars in the 'cuse: manufacturer moves to next step in plan to make electric cars In Syracuse

A deal to manufacture Reva-technology electric cars in Syracuse moves to the next milestone.  

Read the NY Times story: 

Read the breaking Syracuse Post Standard news report at:

Monday, October 19, 2009

SyracuseCoE announces new round of CAP grants

The Syracuse CoE has announced the opening of the next round of CAP grants, which will be awarded to projects that commercialize new products and services in the fields of indoor environmental quality, water resources, and clean and renewable energy.  Up to $50,000 is available for individual projects, and there will be a maximum of five recipients.

The deadline for submission of proposals is Dec. 16, 2009. Projects are expected to start March 1, 2010 and be complete on or before Sept. 30, 2010.

For more information on CAP V and to review previous CAP awards, visit 

Technical Contact:  Lisa Cleckner
Phone: 315-480-3348; 

Electronic Submission:  Kathleen Forrest
Phone: 315-443-4445;

Friday, October 16, 2009

NYS SmartGrid Consortium draft plan just released

The blueprint for the future has arrived.  You can read it in the draft technical report just released by the NYS Smart Grid Consortium.  Read it here. 

The NYS Smart Grid Consortium was recently incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  It includes major electric energy research facilities (academic, industrial and government), along with utilities in New York who are providing the intellectual and financial capital to lead national development of the Smart Grid.

New York is the home of five DOE Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Columbia, Cornell, GE Global Research and SUNY Stony Brook.  Both GE and IBM have R&D facilities headquartered in the State and are currently working on intelligent systems research, including the Smart Grid.   NYS RGGI funding will be utilized for targeted R&D technology centers that will focus New York State’s research talent and resources on four areas:  power electronics, advanced materials, energy storage and systems integration, where New York is positioned to be a national R&D leader. 

The plan not only outlines the roadmap for the Smart Grid,  but contains a list of funded and planned Smart Grid implementation projects.

The NYS SmartGrid Consortium is the only organization of its scale in the country that includes all major contributors across the energy value chain from utilities, markets, operators, industry, academia, government and end-users.

The NYS SmartGrid Consortium also just announced its board of directors.  Read the release here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

NYS PSC approved more than $166 million in funding today for gas and electric efficiency programs

The New York State Public Service Commission today approved more than $166 million in funding for natural gas and electric energy efficiency programs for the commercial and industrial customer market segment -- the largest funding amount announced so far this year for energy efficiency efforts.

Most of the major electric and gas utilities in the state, including National Grid, along with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), had funding approved for energy efficiency programs.

The money being provided to commercial and industrial companies will be used to help offset the companies' costs of purchasing and installing high-efficiency electric and gas equipment, including HVAC equipment, lighting, boilers, furnaces, energy management systems, and motors, among many other types of eligible projects.

The approved electric programs include:  National Grid's energy initiative program, $33.33 million (202,166 MWh savings target) and NYSERDA's existing facilities program, $26.39 million (146,302 MWh savings target).

In addition, the Commission set aside $20.74 million for gas energy efficiency programs, designed to save an estimated 713,480 dekatherms, or enough natural gas to heat 71,800 average-sized homes annually.

The approved gas programs include: National Grid's energy initiative program, $2.79 million (81,752 dekatherms saving target) and NYSERDA's existing facilities and Flex Tech program, $5.18 million (383,282 dekatherms saving target). 

$200,000 Emerging Business Plan Competition announcement: The largest, privately funded competition in the country

The largest privately funded business plan competition in the country was announced today by Allen Naples (right), regional president of M&T Bank, along with title sponsors that include NYBDC and the Metropolitan Development Association - Central Upstate Regional Alliance.

The competition will feature a $200,000 cash prize to the most investable emerging business in the Central Upstate Region of NY -- a corridor that has achieved brand identity as "New York's Creative Core."  The announcement of the $200,000 grand prize marks the doubling of previous prizes.  

NYS Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch (left) was on hand for the announcement, and commended regional private sector leadership for raising such a significant prize round.  This brings the total of cash prizes -- all from the private sector -- to more than $500,000 over the three previous rounds.  

Previous winners were e2e materials, Mesmeriz and Widetronix -- all developers of emerging technologies.

To learn more about the application process, timeline and guidelines:

Governor Patterson comes to Syracuse to sign "Green Jobs" bill

Read the full story about the Governor's visit this week to Syracuse to sign the statewide "Green Jobs" bill, which will provide funding through the auction of carbon credits to help homeowners with the cost of energy-saving projects:  

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Clean Tech Center speaking at Bioneers Conference this week

Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director of The Clean Tech Center, will give a featured presentation:  "The Smart Grid and Smart Communities:  A Blueprint for Smart Jobs" on October 16 at The Finger Lakes Bioneers Conference at Ithaca College. The conference will link, via satellite, between national speakers on the Bioneers' main stage in San Rafael, California and speakers on the Ithaca College stage.  Bioneers is considered the leading edge venue for discussions between environmental, social, scientific and cultural thinkers related to sustainability.  Ithaca College is collaborating with Cornell and Sustainable Tompkins on this venue, which is the only NYS site to participate in the national event.

For more info:

New York Power Authority expected to make RFP for 100-Megawatt Solar Power Initiative

Two new announcements this past week will help stimulate the solar market in New York State:
  • $10 million in new stimulus funding through NYSERDA for solar projects 
  • NYPA expected to make formal RFP this year for 100-Megawatt Solar Power Initiative  
The two programs will contribute to the State's goal of meeting 45 percent of the State's electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2015.  It is estimated that the expanded use of clean energy technologies will create some 50,000 new jobs in New York

 $10 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding is now available through a competitive statewide solicitation for solar energy projects in New York State. The funding is available through NYSERDA's State Energy Program (SEP) to fund the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. 

Additionally, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) is expected to make a formal request for proposals later this year for a 100-megawatt solar initiative, which would increase the State's current installed solar capacity five-fold.  

The $10 million in ARRA funding is designed to help build a sustainable solar industry in New York State by promoting the installation of high quality solar power systems and deploying clean energy technology. The program will provide incentives for PV systems that are connected to New York's energy grid.

Separately, NYPA plans to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) sometime this winter for 100 MW of solar power development.  Systems would be owned and operated by developers and NYPA would purchase electricity on behalf of customers under a solar power purchase agreement.  The possible sites include public and private schools, municipal government buildings, state agencies, and community-owned municipal electric systems and rural cooperatives. In some instances, the solar power could also provide support for the local electric distribution grid.

For more information about NYSERDA.s Capacity-Based Incentive Program (PON 1686), visit

For more information on other NYSERDA administered ARRA funding opportunities, visit

For more information on the plans for the 100 MW of solar power development, the RFEI can be accessed on the NYPA Web site at

For the complete story:

$63 million in federal stimulus money for energy projects has been released to New York State

What's New York State's running total?  This past week, DoE Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei visited Syracuse to announce that $63 million in federal stimulus money for energy projects has already been released to New York State toward a total of $123 million committed.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu Visits SUNY ESF to announce $1.4 million in funding for Syracuse

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Congressman Daniel B. Maffei visited SUNY-ESF this past week for a tour of the College’s sustainable energy facilities and to meet with the Central Upstate New York “green team.” Chu, who is also a Nobel laureate, and Maffei met with ESF President Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., and other regional clean tech leaders to make a major funding announcement.   He also toured the new Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems headquarters building.

Congressman Maffei announced that the City of Syracuse will receive $1,444,500 in Recovery Act EECBG funds to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lowering the city’s energy costs, while creating local green jobs. EECBG funds will also enable Syracuse to establish an Office of Conservation, Sustainability, and Energy Initiatives.  Secretary Chu commended the group for the work they are doing to stimulate the development of new alternative energy sources against a “rapidly changing set of constraints — or a set of opportunities” and said the spirit and innovation can make the US and international leader. He cited Upstate New York’s rich agricultural resources which lend themselves to the development of bioproducts and new sources of energy.   

As co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997, Chu has devoted his recent scientific career to the search for new solutions to energy challenges and stopping global climate change.

Read "sound bites from the visit" and see more pictures at the Syracuse Post Standard's green blog:

 Read the news story on the visit at:

National Grid initiative will create 500 jobs in Syracuse with $1 billion project

National Grid, together with the NorthEast Power Alliance (NEPA), is undertaking a $1 billion project to upgrade Upstate New York's transmission lines from Albany to Buffalo.  To accelerate this project, NEPA has opened an office in downtown Syracuse that is expected to create more than 500 jobs throughout Upstate during the course of the construction.  Up to 140 engineers, project managers and support staff are already being brought on line by NEPA, which is a joint venture that includes AMEC, Michels Corporation R.G., and Vanderweil Engineers.  NEPA RDV Director William McElwain noted, "This is a fantastic opportunity to work with National Grid to safely deliver network reinforcement in Upstate New York.  We look forward to developing long lasting relationships, particularly through employment opportunities in our new office and field opperations, with the people and businesses of Syracuse."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Albany Law School Center for Law and Innovation to create clean tech legal network through grant from NYSERDA

The Albany Law School Center for Law and Innovation recently received a $250,000 four-year award from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to help create sustainable legal networks in New York State to support early-stage companies focused on renewable and clean energy product development.  The grant will enable the Center to provide resources and education to help cleantech entrepreneurs navigate complex legal issues facing start-up companies, helping to conserve capital for technology development and company growth.  The NYSERDA program was designed to reduce the barriers to entry for renewable and clean energy technology business start-ups, and to invest in technically talented people, enabling them to build entrepreneurial growth companies.  

Read more at the Center's website.

Capital is back: SBA loan volume hits highest level in two years, and NYS lenders are seeing uptick

Capital is back ...

One of the largest SBA lenders in the country is right here in NYS -- The New York Business Development Corporation and its 504 affiliate Empire State CDC.  NYBDC is making actively financing projects in conjunction with a broad network of NYS banks and lending partners. Read more about NYBDC at: 

The SBA announced this week that credit is once again flowing, capital markets are loosening, and lenders are looking for good projects.  Read the full announcement here.

The Clean Tech Center has an excellent relationship with NYBDC as well as a first-rate regional SBA lender, GSBDC, which is a program of the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce.  GSBDC also administers an unique quasi-equity program designed to jumpstart early stage companies.

Find information on local SBA resources at:

What's the status this week of DoE stimulus spending?

The U.S. Department of Energy stimulus funding should hit $30 billion this fall, the DoE said this week.  In all, the department has about $90 billion in stimulus funds to distribute.  If the $30 billion mark is reached this fall, it will constitute pretty rapid spending, according to a report this week by Clean Tech Brief who noted that nearly four years after Congress passed legislation authorizing the agency to guarantee loans for clean-energy projects, it has so far guaranteed very few.   Stimulus funds now being dispersed include renewable energy tax credits, grants, loan guarantees and cash payments to electric and plug-in hybrid car makers, battery makers, smart grid deployments and carbon capture projects.

Among the stimulus funding winners have been many research institutions in Upstate New York.  Read those New York State results, and notices on upcoming opportunities here:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Latest Clean Edge Trends Report just released. It’s been a year of tight credit, but the recession is over. What can we expect in NYS?

We know that tightened credit markets took their toll on clean tech this past year.  But it still proved to be a banner year for clean tech, with revenue growth up.  Read the new Clean Energy Trends report from Clean Edge: for the full picture.

Here in NYS, growth is expected in photovoltaics, wind and biofuels, with venture investment expected to pick up.  After many companies delayed plans over the past year because of constrained credit, projections are for modest growth due to government spending, enhanced renewable portfolio standards, new regulation and other policies that will continue to shape the marketplace. 

One of the hottest sectors is expected to be wind power, with new installations pushing the US ahead of Germany as the world’s leading generator of wind energy. 

Anyone traveling across Upstate can see that dramatic growth, with an increasing number of wind turbines being transported along major highways.  The Port of Oswego is a major handling site for those wind turbine towers, blades and components.  The Port, which handles more than a million tons of products annually, recently delivered more than one hundred 156-foot windmill blades, built in Brazil and destined for a windmill farm in Steuben County. The Port could greatly benefit from the Northeast's growing wind farm market if more blades and other parts are shipped to Oswego.

The Port of Oswego’s position as the first U.S. port of call on the Great Lakes has made it one of the leading, most productive ports in North America and abroad.  From its deep draft terminal to its access to the New York State Barge Canal, the Port of Oswego offers multi-modal connectivity that includes marine highway, on dock rail, and immediate efficient connections to the Interstate system.  International clients and cargoes span the globe from Brazil and the Netherlands to Russia and Indonesia

RGGI Carbon Market marks first anniversary; latest auction yields $27.4 million for NYS

New York State's share from last month’s participation in the most recent sale of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution allowances will help fund advancements in renewable and clean technologies.  The auction was the fifth held by the 10 states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and this event generated a total of more than $66.3 million to invest in the clean energy economy. New York's share in this auction was about $27.4 million.  For the full story:

Since September 2008, more than 100 bidders -- including electric utilities, manufacturers, financial institutions, environmental groups, and individuals -- have participated in the RGGI auctions for CO2 allowances. Trading volumes on national, regulated exchanges now match volumes in other established carbon markets, such as the Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism.  Overall, the 10 RGGI states have now auctioned more than 140 million allowances and raised a total of $432.8 million since the first RGGI auction in September 2008. New York's share is approximately $155.3 million.

The proceeds will go to energy efficiency, clean and renewable energy technologies, and strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and create green jobs.  New York has developed a plan to use RGGI proceeds to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.  Other components of the State's plan include a "45 x 15" energy policy and the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which give incentives to develop large-scale renewable generating sources (such as wind, hydro-electric and biomass) and to improve energy efficiency in residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

About the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
The 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states participating in RGGI (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) have designed the first market-based, mandatory cap-and-trade program in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For more information about RGGI:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cornell's NE Sun Grant Initiative to offer research grants for biofuels, biopower and bioproducts

Cornell's Northeast Sun Grant Initiative (NESGI) Competitive Grants Program has announced the availability of funds and is seeking proposals in areas such as BioFuels, BioPower and BioProducts.  Letters of intent are due November 13 for the 2010 round through which the Northeast Sun Grant Initiative expects to award $1,050,000.  Full proposals will be be due February 3, 2010.  Proposals are being sought that have an emphasis on northeast region biofuels systems modeling, industrial ecology and environmental impact, and distributed scalable technologies. 

The Sun Grant mission is to focus the intellectual capacity of the region's land grant universities in partnership with the private sector to enhance national energy security. For more information on the program, eligibility and matching requirments, and to review the NE-SGI Roadmap or to view previously selected projects, please go to:

NPR's Science Friday to broadcast live from Cornell October 9

NPR's Science Friday will broadcast this Friday, October 9 from Cornell University.  Host Ira Flatow will be leading a live national broadcast from Bailey Hall on campus from 2 to 4 pm. 

What's the hot topic?  Given Cornell's expertise in all all things sustainable, it promises to be an interesting and engaging conversation.  Jump in.  Call in live at 800-989-8255.

Clarkson wins NSF award for airfoil research with potential for wind turbines

Clarkson University is increasingly being recognized for its leadership in sustainability.  Research initiatives and project teams under the nexus of Clarkson University’s Center for the Environment include:
  • Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES) -- Integrated, multidisciplinary research applied to improve air quality management through better science and engineering.
  • Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSES) -- Fostering interdisciplinary research and education relating to energy systems for a sustainable future.
  • Clarkson BioMass Group (CBG) -- An interdisciplinary group of Clarkson faculty and graduate students formed to investigate and promote the conversion of dairy manure and other wastes into biogas in the North Country of New York State.  
  • Environmental Manufacturing Management -- A new paradigm of graduate education and research that explores innovative solutions to industrial problems involving systems analysis, product and process redesign, and the emerging concept of sustainability.
For more information:

Fall Events: Technology and Sustainability

Get connected at some of these upcoming events:  
International Biorefinery Conference
October 6 - 7 - SUNY ESF (see blog news post below) 

Tech Garden Fall Expo
October 15 - The Tech Garden, Syracuse
Upstate tech companies compete for cash prize for "most investable technology" ... Reception, networking, keynote presentation on social media and earned influence 

Finger Lakes Bioneers
October 16 - 18 - Ithaca College
Major Upstate conference on sustainability sponsored by Cornell, Ithaca College and a large coalition of partners, featuring national, state and regional speakers -- along with speakers "beamed in" from California via satellite feed.  The Clean Tech Center is giving a keynote on "Smart Jobs and the Smart Grid." 

Innovation Center for US Dairy:  Power Summit, "Creating a Greener, Cleaner Future"
October 29 - 30 - Syracuse
Central New York is a globally recognized biomass leader.  Producers, processors and manufacturers gather to discuss strategies to enhance anaerobic digester adoption so more farms can produce renewable energy.  Sponsored by GE Energy, the goal is to develop viable new technologies for rapid deployment and make NYS a leader in this sector.  NYS and the region were picked as the national pilot for this partnership program with the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council.

Sustainable Use of Renewable Energy (SURE):  Putting Renewable Technologies to Work
November 5 - SUNY ESF
An overview of renewable technologies being developed in Upstate, along with business applications.  The program is part of the Sustainable Enterprise Partnership, a collaborative effort between SU's Whitman School, Syracuse University, SUNY ESF, and the SyracuseCoE.  The Clean Tech Center will be presenting a program on "Green Innovations."    

November 11 - SUNY ESF
An overview of the green and clean tech landscape.  What's driving growth? The Clean Tech Center will be giving a presentation on market drivers.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Go to bootcamp at one of the best entrepreurship programs in the country. SU's 2009 "Start Up" program begins October 10

"Start Up" kicks into gear this October and November.  A bookcamp run by SU's famed Falcone Center, the program builds on key components of SU's nationally recognized entrepreneurship curriculm.  It's taught in half-day modules over six weeks, and puts aspiring entrepreneurs through the paces of taking a business concept through critical analysis to strategy.  Taught by entrepreneurship faculty and successful entrepreneurs, it's a unique opportunity to learn in a intense, focused way from the best in class.  Learn more and register at:

NY-BEST (New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology) funding availability announced by NYSERDA

Proposals are due by December 17, 2009 to NYSERDA PON No. 1704, a funding program designed to accelerate the commercial introduction of energy storage technology in NYS.  Eligible technologies include those that store electric energy directly such as batteries or ultra capacitors, components of those technologies, or systems or products that incorporate those technologies.  Funding is for two major project types.  More information on the PON, including the full solicitation for proposals, is available on the NYSERDA web-site:  

New York State is a leader in battery technologies. Cornell was recently selected as the recipient of $17.5 million from the Department of Energy to fund an Energy Research Frontier Center focused on Nanostructured Interfaces for Energy Generation, Conversion and Storage. The goal of the center is to discover and design materials that will dramatically enhance the performance of fuel cells, batteries, photovoltaics and photo-electrochemical cells. 

The Cornell research s include an expanded search for better catalysts for fuel cells, work already in progress at the Cornell Fuel Cell Institute, and the development of better materials for electrodes in lithium-ion batteries to increase the amount of energy the batteries can store per unit of weight, which is essential for viable electric cars and will enhance wind and solar electricity systems.

The new Cornell Energy Frontier Center will be one of 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) created by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Several of these new centers, including the one at Cornell, will be funded by President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package. Cornell also is collaborating with other institutions in two other EFRCs.

For more information on the Cornell Energy Research Frontier Center:

NGA Center for Best Practices releases state by state green economy report. How does NYS fare?

The National Governor's Association Center for Best Practices has just released its Green economy report which includes state by state comparisons of who is performing best in 15 industry segments that represent the core green economy.
How does New York State fare?  Here is a snapshot of results:
  • To varying degrees, every state is seeming some green growth, much of which is tied to existing state strengths.
  • State policy is clearly driving growth -- from incentives and regulations, to renewable portfolio standards, and building efficiency standards.
  • New York's economy also displays diversity, but compared to the national average it has much higher concentrations in transportation (including non-carbon fuels, vehicles and equipment) and business services (environmental legal services, green business portals, green marketing and public relations).
  • Other sectors where New York scored well were energy storage, advanced materials, and green manufacturing and industrial clusters.
  • Other promising areas noted in the report were university centers of excellence, and targeted investment in R & D and commercialization.
  • New York did not score as highly in areas such as energy generation, energy efficiency,  and other specialized sectors.
  • The west and southwest scored highly in solar, not because of location or incentives, but because of existing strengths in the semiconductor industry.
  • Venture capital investment in clean tech in NYS has fluctuated over the past decade.  Investment in NYS clean tech peaked in 2007, with $118 million, and dropped to $54 million in 2008 -- along with general market downturn and the recession.
  • There were 290 green technology patents issued in NYS between 2006 and 2008 -- representing a three-fold increase over the previous decade.  There were 2,391 green technology patents issued nationally in the same two year period, meaning that NYS produced more than 10% of the national total.
What does this mean?  Performance that is good, but not great.
The report also suggests good benchmarks to measure success:
  • Clean tech venture investment by segment
  • Patent registrations in green technology by technology area
  • Adoption of green technologies (the percentage of energy generation from renewable sources, and well as alternative fuel vehicle registration)
  • Energy efficiency and consumption patterns
Read the NYS report at: