Several years ago, someone advised me not to read the biographies of event participants until after I’d met them. That way, they reckoned, you avoid being intimidated. By the time you finally meet, so the theory goes, they will have become so familiar that their towering achievements will fall comfortingly into the background.
Sadly, reader, this was not an option for me on the Clean and Cool Mission. Omitting to do my homework would have been a dereliction of duty as co-host, and so it was with some intrepidation that I began reading about the 19 companies who join us here in San Francisco.
The very first delegate in my briefing pack has 20 years internet and software development experience and has, and I quote, a background in astrophysics. Another has undertaken extensive research in hybrid and electric vehicle systems and medical robotics. Business aside, and no less intimidating, I learn that one of our founders began his career as a commercial diver and is a former ice hockey coach. My head buzzing with backgrounds and current activities of my fellow travellers, the chance to meet face to face couldn’t come soon enough.
Sure enough, I should have followed the original advice. We have here with us the most fantastic group of founders and directors. Come with me on a quick run-through of just a handful;
If you need to power a mobile phone mast, and you’re not on the electricity grid, you’ve got a problem. That’s where Diverse Energy comes in, with its clever modular power systems. Basically a massive battery, out in the middle of nowhere. Can you tell that I like to simplify things?
Washing clothes uses a huge amount of water, detergent and energy. Imagine you could massively reduce that, partially through the use of some rather clever beads. No, this is not a fairy story involving Jack and a Beanstalk. It’s the plan of Bill Westwater and his team at Xeros.
At the moment, we usually find out how much energy we’ve been using at home when the bill slaps onto the doormat. Wouldn’t it be good if you could have a device, and a cracking-looking one at that, which showed you just how much you were consuming? Richard Woods and DIY Kyoto have something you may be seeing a great deal more of. With their Wattson device, the game is afoot.
Between them, the Clean and Cool Mission have most of the home and country covered. We can offer you straw bale and hemp cladding panels, courtesy of Modcell. If it’s LED lighting systems you’re after, then Ian Turner at Juice Technologies willl see you now. Finally, for the individual or company who wants to understand the Carbon Footprint of virtually everything, there’s AMEE.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s all very well picking a couple of consumer-friendly examples to show off to the folks at home. We want to get to the hardcore science. Reader, we will get there. Admittedly, it may be thanks to my erstwhile colleagues on the Clean and Cool Mission (Richard Miller are you reading this?). We need to know about gas exchange technologies (HydroVenturi founder Harvey West assures me it boils down to bubbles, and puddles.) What about Evince’s use of diamonds as semi-conductors? And I for one am not going to be happy until I have got my head around Evo Electric’s Axial Flux technology.
Stay tuned for more! Divers…drivers…McGuivers. Now where did I put my notes?