Green

Space and green technology converge at the Cleantech Open

The Cleantech Open, a competition that helps launch new green tech companies, held its launch event Friday night at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. The event brought together nine clean tech companies to exhibit their products or clean tech services.

Vice president of Chevron Technology Ventures, Jeffrey Jacobs, gave a speech at the event (where Chevron was also a sponsor). In 30 years, our energy demand will increase by 30 to 40 percent, he told the crowd. In order to deal with the increasing demand, Chevron is investing in new energy technology. In the next few decades, renewable forms of energy will play an “extremely important role,” Jacobs said. This is the fourth year Chevron has sponsored the event.

“We need energy of all forms and we want people who have the core capabilities beyond our own to develop new energy solutions,” Jacobs told VentureBeat in an interview after his presentation, “We believe in all forms of energy, no matter where they come from.”

Chevron’s approach is unique for an oil company. While most of its competitors, such as Shell, are focused on oil and natural gas, Chevron is investing money in renewable energy technology. The company is also partnering with NASA to develop energy solutions that can be used on Earth and in space.

Since the Cleantech Open was hosted by NASA, there was a distinctive space theme. One company, called BioFiltro, developed a system that uses worms and microorganisms to turn raw sewage and waste into clean drinking water, technology it feels we’d need if we ever colonized Mars.

NASA also launched its Night Rover competition, asking entrepreneurs to develop technology to keep a lunar rover charged and running during the 14-day pitch black lunar night, when it can’t use solar energy.

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