Three Connecticut Companies Announced as Semifinalists in 2011 Cleantech Open Business Competition

Three Connecticut companies were announced as semifinalists for the 2011 Cleantech Open Business Competition. The Cleantech Open is a national business competition for technology startups. Its mission is to find, fund and foster big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges. Since its inception in 2006, nearly 400 promising teams have availed themselves of the Cleantech Open’s mentoring and funding programs, with impressive results. Cleantech Open alumni have raised over $280M in private capital and 80% of participating companies remain economically viable today.

The Cleantech Open recently announced semifinalist winners selected from a talented pool of more than 285 cleantech entrepreneurs from across the country that competed in one of seven regional competitions. The regional competitions took place in California as well as the North-Central, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain and South-Central regions.

CEFIA is very excited about the three Northeast semifinalists from Connecticut:

  • Encendia Biochar (New Haven, CT) – Applies an innovative technology to produce biochar using pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is a process for decomposing organic material at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. The biochar is a natural fertilizer and acts as a sponge for water and beneficial microbes. It also sequesters carbon. (
  • Concentrators (Woodbury, CT) – Applies an innovative system design that integrates solar PV technology to produce electricity and solar thermal technology used to pre-heat domestic hot water.
  • Green Waste Energy Inc. (GWE) (Greenwich, CT) – Applies a thermal conversion technology that converts municipal solid waste into useful energy. (

The Northeast semifinalists will receive cash and in-kind awards valued at $40,000 each. In addition, a U-Launch prize valued at $20,000 and a Regional Sustainability Prize will also be awarded.

Northeast semifinalists were required to attend the East Coast Academy, a business boot camp, held on June 28 and 29. During the Academy, semifinalists received coaching and mentoring from the Cleantech Open’s network of talented business mentors, as well as one-on-one consulting with specialists. After an additional round of regional judging to be held in October, finalists will be selected to advance and represent their region, competing at the national level for a grand prize of up to $250,000 in cash and in-kind services, and an overall prize chest of nearly $1 million.

The Connecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority strongly encourages entrepreneurs applying to CEFIA’s New Technologies programs to participate in the Cleantech Open and U-Launch programs. Further details on each of these programs are available at:,, and

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