My CleanStart Experience

My CleanStart Experience

As an engineering student from California State University, Sacramento I can say that the skills, experiences, and enjoyment I received while working at CleanStart were beyond what I expected. While in school each engineering student is informed throughout their major curriculum to acquire tools to add to their tool belt so that they are better prepared when they eventually enter the job market upon graduation. We are told that every new formula and way to go about solving a problem is a tool that we may later have to call upon to help us in our future careers. It with the mindset of collecting tools that I decided to seek out an internship with CleanStart. While I feel that school has prepared me academically for my job search, I craved something else that would allow me to excel in all aspects of my future career. Working at CleanStart has allowed me to experience a dynamic work place where I would have to wear the hat of many different positions. I gained the opportunity to visit many different companies in the Sacramento area with the purpose of interviewing their leadership to gain as much knowledge as I could to better understand every aspect of their company I was interested in. This task alone was an experience that helped me to better understand the business aspects of some companies as well as the manufacturing and product development portions that intrigued my engineering mind.

        While the dynamic function of the job is was something of interest to me, it was the sustainability portion of the job description that caused me to want to be a part of CleanStart. Sustainability is lightly touched upon in undergraduate program for mechanical engineering students and unless actively sought out will not be something too many student are familiar with upon graduation. Working at CleanStart as an intern I feel that I learned more about sustainability than anywhere else. I had no idea that there were so many different companies in the Sacramento region that created companies that had sustainability and clean technologies as their driving force. By interacting with the many companies that I had the opportunity to meet with I felt that I was able to learn so much more about the practical applications of clean technologies and where exactly then fit in the open market. The knowledge I gain from working with Thomas Hall and Gary Simon will definitely be one of my most powerful and useful tools I expect to use in my tool belt

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CleanStart has a new face supporting the region’s Entrepreneurs.  Renonedo Williams is a CSU Sacramento Mechanical Engineering Student who is the newest intern at CleanStart.   He is entering his final semester at Sac State and is looking forward to connecting with as many clean tech startups as possible and understanding each of their value propositions, to connect his enthusiasm of building things to his goal of being his own boss. Renonedo has a background in design and material selection

Enerdapt and Lucent Optics Get Statewide Attention via CalSEED

Enerdapt and Lucent Optics Get Statewide Attention via CalSEED

On October 16, 23 teams were selected from around the state to compete for four $450,000 Phase 2 grants from CalSEED (the California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development initiative), funded by the Energy Commission.  All 23 had received a $150,000 Phase 1 grant, and Enerdapt (Zach Denning) and Lucent Optics (Sergey Vasylyev) were among them. It’s a real pat on the back even to have gotten this far, and we hope they will advance to the next round.  All 23 presented to teams of judges who ranked them and selected winners in four categories. Gary Simon of CleanStart was one of the judges in the Energy Storage & Grid Edge category. Enerdapt and Lucent were in other categories. Winners are to be announced before the end of the month.

This is a great path to raise the funds to advance a cleantech concept beyond the idea stage, getting closer to the point where venture capital would be interested.  Since they are grants, not investments, they do not dilute owners equity. There will be a new set of Phase 1 companies selected in 2019 with applications due around March, so consider applying if you are in this early stage.  CalSEED draws on a $24 million funding commitment over five years with a goal to advance 100 teams. In addition, CalSEED opens a door to the  California Clean Energy Fund that has invested in over 40 companies and leveraged $1.5 billion in investment, and to a robust network of venture investors interested in clean energy.

CalSEED also has good connections to the CleanTech Open, where substantial prize money is available to winners in multiple categories.  That process is just wrapping up for this year and winners will be announced soon as well. Local company CarbonBLU is in contention there.  New applications will be due in the Spring.

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStarts Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

New ARB rules to Promote Charging Infrastructure.

New ARB rules to Promote Charging Infrastructure.

The new proposed rules for AB 32 and carbon credits are being finalized for 2019 and there is a big change.  Currently, the carbon credits and trading apply to raw material and energy producers with high Greenhouse Gas Emissions.  The new rules allow for companies who are putting in ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) infrastructure to earn carbon credits they can then sell on the carbon market.  This will hopefully incentivize private investment in ZEV infrastructure.

The carbon credits are earned when either a hydrogen fuel cell filling station or a level 3 charging station is installed. Level 3 Chargers are also known as DC Fast chargers, can charge an EV at ten times the speed of Level 2 chargers, but they can cost up to $100,000 per charger.  Hydrogen Fuel Stations face similar problems with stations costing in over $2 Million. With more consumers demanding faster charging and more Hydrogen stations, the hope is the carbon credits will incentivize investment.

While those cost may seem high, they are still competitive to the cost to build a Gas Station. The stumbling block has been a chicken and egg problem. For mass adoption consumers demand more fueling and changing station and for mass investment in those stations, investors demand more ZEV adoption. With increasing numbers of ZEVs on the market, and exponential EV growth, stimulating investment in infrastructure seems like a smart choice.

To learn more about Charging and the future of fueling EVs come to our next meet up on the 30th.  We will have presenters form CARB (California Air Resources Board), SMUD and local success story Clipper Creek talking about what is happening in Charging.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, Moss Adams GreenbergTraurig

BlueTech Valley, PowerSoft.biz, Revrnt, Synbyo, Califronia Mobility Center

Sacramento’s Sustainability Beacon

Sacramento’s Sustainability Beacon

        Arch Nexus is a Sacramento architecture design firm, and is California’s only certified Living Building to date. It serves as a beacon of sustainability for other building owners in the community to follow suit and accept the living building challenge. While California may be late to the party with establishing the 19th living building in the world, Arch Nexus made up for it by becoming double LEED platinum and the first reused building in the world to become living building certified. Before Arch Nexus became what it is today it was a print shop.  There is a level of difficulty that goes into designing and establishing a living building, which deters many that consider pursuing certification. One of the extremely difficult standards to which one must adhere to, is that all design materials must be purchased locally and non-red listed items while also maintaining documentation of all used materials on the building. If purchasing sustainable materials and vast documentation isn’t difficult enough, the building must also be capable of producing 105% of the energy necessary to power its entire operation.

        With all the difficult designing and engineering that goes into gaining Living Building Certification,  Arch Nexus chose not to back down from the challenge and in turn created one of the most successful and award-winning living buildings in the United States. The building itself  produces 170% of the necessary energy needed to power the entire complex. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Arch Nexus also houses a rainwater collection system, along with a filtration system to irrigate the outside edible agriculture. With the amount of surplus energy that Arch Nexus produces, a saltwater battery storage system is utilized to retain the energy for later use or to feed the surplus energy back into the grid. A very advanced toilet composting system, an EV charging station, a smart HVAC system, along with a large solar panel array can all be found at Arch Nexus and showcases how much is needed to obtain living building certification. In the country’s most progressive state, Arch Nexus has set a very high standard for others looking to follow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CleanStart has a new face supporting the region’s Entrepreneurs.  Renonedo Williams is a CSU Sacramento Mechanical Engineering Student who is the newest intern at CleanStart.   He is entering his final semester at Sac State and is looking forward to connecting with as many clean tech startups as possible and understanding each of their value propositions, to connect his enthusiasm of building things to his goal of being his own boss. Renonedo has a background in design and material selection


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