Lake Land College, our local community college, hosted their first annual Energy Innovation Conference last week and I was invited to open off the proceedings. The two day conference had a two prong focus of how to conserve energy and how to produce alternative forms of energy. There were many entrepreneurs there, some exhibiting some very innovative new products they’ve developed in the area.
One of Lake Land’s technology courses exhibited an electric car, nicknamed the Lightening Bug. The converted VW Bug has over a dozen batteries in it, the only downside of which was that the weight of those batteries appeared to be bowing the car a bit.
Since 2001, venture capitalists have increased their focus toward less capital intensive projects that are focused upon the development of cleantech technologies. Cleantech can further be subdivided into energy production (wind, solar and biofuel); energy storage; industrial processes (water purification, food safety); and energy services. Last year over $2 billion was invested in this new area, up from $205 million in 2001.
With that type of investment increase, the enthusiasm I witnessed at Lake Land and the number of people putting their brains toward discovering new products and processes, I’m convinced that our best days lie in the future.