When we were down at the Launch Party for Coalition: Loop, their PR reps were trying very hard to set up a series of interviews for us. However, once the party got started, it was a bit of a madhouse, so it was a bit hit-or-miss. Obviously, I got to talk to the guys who are involved in developing the space, as covered in the last post, but they also wanted us to meet some of the tenants. We ended up talking with two, plus had a chat with another fellow whose company was not currently there, but was attending the event to check it out.
First we met Priya Mazumdar of ANDalyz which makes a unit for quick analysis of water, using plug-in consumable modules featuring fluorescence-based sensors specific to individual pollutants. The technology behind this is pretty remarkable, using "catalytic DNA/RNA, (deoxy)ribozymes" which are designed to react in the presence of a particular substance, and produce a light signature.
Measuring the metal ions is done through a reaction that occurs when a water sample containing a target metal ion contaminant (such as lead) is introduced to a sensor unit specific for that contaminant. This produces fluorescence (light) in direct correlation to the amount of metal ion present. The amount of light is measured by a fluorimeter. The fluorimeter reading relates directly to the amount of metal contaminant in the water solution.
As Ms. Mazumdar notes in the following, this enables testing results in real-time, rather than the days or weeks that it would have previously taken to send water samples off to a lab:
We next spoke with Archie Gupta of Root3 Technolgies which produces a platform for managing energy usage and costs for large institutions such a hospitals, factories, college campuses, and even airports. According to their site:
Based upon a patented Stanford University algorithm, Root3’s Predictive Analytics Engine delivers powerful technologies for the optimum performance of your site.
Root3 evaluates variables such as thermal and electric loads, energy prices, equipment efficiencies, and energy storage capacity. Utilizing Root3 services of DIAGNOSE, BALANCE, and PLAN engineers understand site performance faster and at a deeper level than previously possible, and can better manage reliability and budget goals.
While this might not be in Green Tech Chicago's wheelhouse, it certainly is the type of organization that the Coalition space is set up to support. Here's what Mr. Gupta had to say:
While we were waiting in the small conference room for folks to show up, Stephen Ulman, from NLR (who was filling in on the interviewing for Ed, who was tied up with an event back at The Plant that evening) was chatting with folks in the hallway, and pulled in Len Bland, a fixture in the Chicago tech start-up arena, who was there checking out the new space. If Bland's name is familiar, it may because he was frequently featured in the late Ron May's reports ... or at least that's where I knew him from! He was there representing one of his latest projects, a company called Nano Gas Technologies that is marketing a process of "infusing oxygen and other gases into aqueous solutions with long-term gas retention", creating "bubbles" that are useful in a number of areas, including:
• Environmental remediation
o Municipal wastewater
o Industrial wastewater
o Hydrocarbon and petroleum contamination
o Farming and animal waste
• Agricultural and Aquaculture Enhancement
• Chemical Replacement
o Paper pulp mills bleaching processes
Unfortunately, there's not a lot of detail on the process involved over at their site, so for more info you'll have to get it from Bland's description:
Anyway, that gives you a pretty good idea of the sort of groups that Coalition is looking to pull in, and that Energy Foundry is looking to back in the Chicago market. Plus, maybe, by example, this lets you triangulate what that "CleanTech" thing is all about!
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