State Of CleanTech

State Of CleanTech

Since 2005 CleanStart has been working to build the Greater Sacramento region as a clean tech hub. Because of this work and the growing community Sacramento is well positioned to capitalize on the energy transition. Becoming a self sustaining beehive of activity cleantech hub with $5 billion in revenue and 10,000 jobs is just around the corner. With everyone from private industry to government to individuals our regional energy transition could mean an increased quality of life, equitable economic development and sustainable living for all.

Clean Tech has been hot. There have been high valuations and public successes. While the market may eb and flow, the demand for clean energy and innovative solutions will still grow with people seeking solutions to reduce the impact of climate change and demanding energy independence from authoritative regimes. With this demand, receptive policy makers, and innovation expect the growth and returns to continue. 

Recently our region has had some very positive trends with new companies launching regularly and investment coming to the region.  Regional investment in Clean Tech Companies that began as startups here hit a new record $1.95 Billion since 2019.  For the first time, 5 regional companies have attracted attention from national and international investors and corporate partners. This is a result of support provided to companies, getting their technologies investment ready.

Over the past year I’ve been documenting and cataloging and connecting with every company I could identify in the Sacramento region to find out what they are working on, how many are working on it, and how much revenue they are bringing to the region. This part of CleanStart’s progress report, we do these every couple years to gauge our progress towards turning the region into a clean tech hub. The result has been in over 9900 jobs in the Sacramento region and over 100 clean tech companies these clean tech companies are producing defendable IP in batteries, zero emissions fuels, home efficiency and more.

I previewed the Progress Report in my “State of Clean Tech” talk at the 2022 Clean Tech Showcase. We are nearly to our goal and the beehive of activity is activating the virtuous cycle supporting companies’ growth. Now we need to harvest the ecosystem to serve as a catalyst for the energy transition in the Greater Sacramento region.

Thomas Hall

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.

Sponsors

SMUD
CMC
RiverCity Bank

Weintraub | Tobin, Revrnt, Moss Adams, PowerSoft.biz, Greenberg Traurig

Happy Accident Could Lead to Cheap 2000-Mile EV Battery

Happy Accident Could Lead to Cheap 2000-Mile EV Battery

Battery scientists have always lusted for a way to use sulfur as the cathode in lithium-ion batteries because sulfur can donate up to 8 electrons per atom—and it is really cheap and abundant.  It is largely a waste by-product today.  To date, the use of sulfur has been limited because over time it forms crystals that degrade it quickly, resulting in a life of only 1000-cycles.  The only known way to avoid the crystallization has been to operate at high temperatures (>200F).  As a result, these long-life batteries with their heating systems are big, heavy, and suitable only for stationary sites.  

All of that may be about to change, according to a recent article.  Scientists at Drexel University discovered a new phase of sulfur by accident that prevents crystallization at room temperature.  That could be a game-changer in many ways.  Lithium-sulfur batteries do not need cobalt, or manganese, or titanium.  They would be lightweight, have long lives, and high energy density if they use this new phase material.  It would open the door to EV battery packs with thousands of miles of range that would recharge at rates comparable to today’s lithium-ion batteries.  They would enable long-distance electric airplanes and trucks, with little range worry.  Even cargo and passenger ships could go full-electric.

The Drexel team, however, have not yet figured out what is actually happening to create this new phase or how to make sure it stays that way.  But it is a very exciting prospect.  

It is doubly exciting because the same researchers were working on ways to make a sodium-sulfur battery, eliminating the need for expensive lithium altogether.  If that works, and it may take more than a decade to find out, then the whole landscape for electric vehicles of all types would change dramatically.  

There, of course, is no guarantee all this will come to pass.  But it is one of dozens of routes that lead to batteries with remarkably better performance and lower cost.  If you are looking at a product that would compete with batteries, you would be well-advised to consider where battery technology could be by the time your innovation could be ready to market.  It will be a rapidly changing target.  

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | TobinBlueTech Valley, Revrnt, 

Moss AdamsPowerSoft.biz, Greenberg Traurig