Cleantech Open Announces North-Central Region Semi-Finalist Companies

Midwest clean and green entrepreneurs participate in a regional program and move on to compete for over $1 million in prizes and national acclaim

MINNEAPOLIS--()--The North-Central region of Cleantech Open ( has named the top 20 start-up companies to represent the region in the world’s largest cleantech business competition and entrepreneur incubator. These semifinalist teams were selected from a talented pool of cleantech entrepreneurs from more than 10 Midwest states.

The 20 semifinalists will now compete for regional prizes including cash and in-kind services. The top companies advance to represent the region and compete at the national level for a grand prize of up to $250,000 in investment and services, and an opportunity to present in front of 2,000 attendees at The Cleantech Open’s Global Forum in November 2011.

Over the next few months, semifinalists will receive advice from the national network of Cleantech Open expert mentors, an opportunity to participate in entrepreneurial “boot camp” academies in Silicon Valley and Boston, and will have access to investors from across the country. This unique platform helps each start-up accelerate the commercialization of technologies and offers important opportunities for raising the capital necessary for scaling a business.

“We are exceptionally proud that the North-Central region is showcasing an excellent group of entrepreneurs again this year. These start-ups are working to solve some of today’s most significant environmental and energy challenges through innovation,” said Justin Kaster, regional director of the Cleantech Open and an investment banker with Cherry Tree Companies, LLC. “Our local leadership team is excited to see how this year’s incubator builds upon the inaugural 2010 program, which led to several of our alumni companies landing customers and funding.”

The semifinalists for the 2011 North-Central Cleantech Open are:



Madison, WI

Revolutionary water purification technology.


Atmosphere Recovery

Eden Prairie, MN

Dramatic energy output increases from gas or liquid-based renewable energy processes.

C56 Technologies

Middleton, WI

Enzymes for converting biomass to sugars for biofuels and other applications.


Plymouth, MN

Fleet fuel consumption and hydrocarbon emissions reduction system.

Dakota EcoGlass

New England, ND

Environmentally-friendly commercial products made from recycled glass.

Dason Technology

Chicago, IL

Innovative natural gas-to-liquid fuels conversion.

Direct Drive Energy

Lowden, IA

Technology that eliminates up to 90 percent of the diesel required to power refrigerated trailer units.

Effimax Solar

Champaign, IL

Revolutionary nanotechnology to make solar power financially realistic.

ENRG Power Systems

Grand Rapids, MI

Improved ignition systems for greater fuel economy and easy retro-fitting.


Hartland, WI

Innovative, versatile & sustainable composite framing materials for commercial building.


Saint Peters, MO

Comprehensive high efficiency distributed wind energy systems for powering the future.

Grail Engine Technologies

Chapman, KS

A revolutionary combustion engine with high fuel economy & low emissions.


Chaska, MN

Technology for safe, silent, low-cost and high-efficiency wind power generation.

NextGen Solar

Chicago, IL

High efficiency solar panels made with low-cost, conductive liquid nano-particles.

Rapid Electric Vehicle Battery Charging

Homewood, IL

Technology to charge electric vehicle batteries in minutes, not hours.

Route Perfect

Minneapolis, MN

A new fuel optimization technology for the transportation industry.

Senderos Recovery Technologies

Streetsboro, OH

Transforming e-waste from problem to profit.

Supreme Energy Products

Lakeville, MN

Seamless building envelope systems to enable 50-70 percent greater energy savings.

Thermal Conservation Technologies

Skokie, IL

Vacuum insulation panels equivalent to 10 inches of Styrofoam.

Whole Trees Structures

Stoddard, WI

Innovative construction options attuned to upcoming regulations, price pressures, and consumer awareness.

Cleantech Open Sponsors Support
The Cleantech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by our Global Partner, Chevron; Global Foundation Partner, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; National Sponsors, Autodesk and Wells Fargo; and National Premier Sponsor, University of Phoenix. The North-Central program is also supported by the following corporate partners: Deloitte, Jones Lang La Salle, Faegre & Benson, Padilla Speer Beardsley, and HER Communications.

About The Cleantech Open
The Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest cleantech business competition and entrepreneur incubator. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual business and mentorship program, the Cleantech Open has enabled hundreds of clean-technology start-ups to bring their breakthrough ideas to fruition and helped alumni contestants raise over $300M. Fueled by a global network of more than 1,000 volunteers, partners and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s cleantech sector a thriving economic engine in the future. For more information, visit, or contact the North-Central leadership team at


For Cleantech Open:
Amy Fisher, Padilla Speer Beardsley

Release Summary

The North-Central region of Cleantech Open ( has named the top 20 start-up companies to represent the region in the world’s largest cleantech business competition.


For Cleantech Open:
Amy Fisher, Padilla Speer Beardsley