Electric Motorcycles and Green Elephants

Green PowerBusiness leaders and innovators had some inspiring words for Vancouver’s clean-tech community at a networking gathering downtown organized by VEF Momentum and Chrysalix on Friday.

A looming energy crisis and increasing environmental challenges are creating huge opportunities for green companies. There’s a lot of capital looking for the right investment, says Wal van Lierop, President & CEO of Chrysalix and director with New Ventures BC.

Investors are turning away from the “black swans” of traditional energy companies to greener alternatives. “You want to find the really exceptional things,” van Lierop says. “We are trying to do a magic trick, turning these black swans into green elephants – Fortune 500 companies and leaders in the decades to come.”

As a venture capitalist, van Lierop says he’s looking for something that could change everything. A few examples of companies his firm believes have very bright futures provided their technology can be used together:

Brammo. They’ve designed, engineered, produced and shipped the first street legal mass-market electric “powercycle”. The company has established a powerful global sales channel through Best Buy.

But how do you deal with the issue of range for an electric vehicle? That’s where their next investment comes in…

Epyon. They’ve developed a suite of ultra fast charging technologies capable of reducing charge times for electric vehicles from hours to minutes while maintaining the cycle lifetime and performance of the battery.

But if you suddenly have a new fleet of electric vehicles drawing power from the grid, couldn’t that cause a local blackout from a usage surge? So they had to find another partner…

Primus Power. This battery company helps power infrastructure cope through low cost energy storage.

Other green companies that Chrysalix has invested in that fall into the green elephant category:

BridgeLux. Their technology will enable the transition from traditional lighting to Solid State Lighting (SSL). That will cut out 70% of the energy we use for lighting. The value proposition is obvious. “Imagine for instance that you replace all of the streetlights in BC. You wouldn’t need to build an extra power plant!”

Light-Based Technologies. Customers leverage Bridgelux’s technology to replace traditional lamp and luminaire technologies (such as incandescent, halogen and fluorescent lighting solutions) with solid-state products that provide high performance.

General Fusion. Cheap and abundant energy is the goal. This company is working on a way to get their with nuclear fusion. They aim to demonstrate this new clean, safe and economical concept by 2013.

After van Lierop’s presentation, attendees had the chance to check out the Racing Green Endurance team and its electric supercar, who stopped by the venue. Their electric car is showcasing what green technology can really make possible for big industries on a 26000 km trip down the Pan-American Highway, crossing 14 countries. The car may look like it belongs on a racing track, but don’t worry – it’s street legal.