Launch Alaska Adds Four Startups to Clean Energy Portfolio
One Anchorage company is among four added to Launch Alaska’s portfolio of clean energy startups.
The nineteen companies that participated in the Tech Deployment Track came from Alaska and elsewhere in the United States, as well as entrants from Finland, Spain, and Nigeria. The program generated more than 300 customer leads.
The four advancing to Launch Alaska’s portfolio focus on decarbonization of the energy, transportation, and industry sectors:
Kartorium started in Anchorage in 2019 to develop a 3D training tool for non-technical workers in heavy industries. A “digital twin” models a physical asset, environment, or process, allowing for remote monitoring or training.
EcoSPEARS, based in Altamonte Springs, Florida, was founded in 2017 to develop inexpensive methods of eliminating environmental toxins like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other persistent organic pollutants. Although PCBs are being phased out worldwide, current methods of removing the chemicals from contaminated waterways are energy intensive and do not fully destroy the toxin.
CalWave of Oakland, California works on technologies to harness the energy of ocean waves with scalable power generation. (Not to be confused with Ocean Renewable Power Corporation of Maine, which is embarking on tidal energy projects in upper Cook Inlet.)
- Radiant of El Segundo, California has designed truck-sized nuclear reactors meant to replace diesel generators. One unit supplies 1 MW, or enough power for a thousand typical homes for eight years, after which the unit can be shipped out and refueled. (Not to be confused with Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation of Seattle, which is proposing 10 MW micro reactors for Copper Valley Electric Association in Glennallen loaded with a 20-year supply of uranium fuel.)
“We welcome these companies that are working hard to address some of the world’s biggest challenges,” says Launch Alaska CEO Isaac Vanderburg. “Bringing their solutions to Alaska improves the quality of life for Alaska communities and shows others that if these technologies can work here, they can work anywhere.”
Portfolio companies continue to work with Launch Alaska to develop projects and get technology into the Alaska communities that need it most. Currently, Launch Alaska has twenty-eight companies in its Portfolio. These include logistics coordinating app Remora; microgrid management firm 60Hertz; and packaged food maker Heather’s Choice. Other firms deal in cybersecurity, data management, marine engineering, renewable energy from wind, solar, and biomass. Another nuclear energy startup, Oklo, aims to fuel micro reactors with waste from conventional nuclear power plants.
In 2021, these companies invested almost $600,000 in Alaska projects and secured another $3 million in project commitments.
Founded in 2016 and based in Anchorage, Launch Alaska is a nonprofit accelerator focused on helping climate tech companies find customers, deploy projects, earn revenue, and make an impact in Alaska. Within the Tech Deployment Track, startup CEOs work from September through April with a panel of industry experts, mentors, decision-makers, and connectors to set ambitious goals and aggressively move toward securing and deploying projects in Alaska. The program helps startups prioritize and progress on customer discovery, market fit, and project plans. Companies remain in the Tech Deployment Track program as long as they demonstrate continued traction toward project deployment in Alaska.
Setting the Price at the Pump
Gasoline and diesel prices fluctuate with the crude oil market and refinery capacity, and not always to the advantage of gas stations. “Whether the price of oil is low or high, it’s not necessarily driving profit,” Vitus Energy Co-founder Mark Smith says. “In fact, high prices consume more working capital, so we’re not a big fan of high prices, either.”