UNSW’s solar researchers have converted over 40% of the sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity, the highest efficiency ever reported. The world-beating efficiency was achieved in outdoor tests in Sydney, before being independently confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at their outdoor test facility in the United States.
That was the logic behind the company’s RE-C project, which aimed to produce one gigawatt of renewable electricity for less than the price of coal. The hope was to do this within years, not decades. Among other things, the company invested in new geothermal drilling R&D and put $168 million toward Brightsource’s Ivanpah solar tower in the Mojave Desert.
Each year, the Cleantech Group, the World Wildlife Foundation, and the The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (or Tillväxtverket) release their Global Cleantech Innovation Index, in which 40 countries are examined for their potential for entrepreneurial clean tech startups.
On the surface, the clean energy sector sounds like a promising place for startups. The reality is more complicated, with many clean tech startups burning through investment capital and struggling to identify marketable products. However, that isn’t stopping a number of organizations from awarding serious funding to highly innovative clean energy entrepreneurs.
Tucked away in the suburbs of Boston is Greentown Labs, a clean-tech incubator and shared work space that has grown from just three companies to nearly fifty promoting sustainable and clean energy solutions. Among these is a start-up called Altaeros Energies, which is pushing the boundaries of conventional wind power.