Entrepreneurship and Energy
Part 1: Approach to Research
Our goal was to find companies or organizations that focused on renewable energy, discover social organizations that promoted change, and seek out ambitious energy projects. Due to the fact that human beings are largely dependent on energy for almost every modern activity of life, we wanted to find companies that had the liberty to develop new and innovative energy projects with limited obstacles. We wanted to gather a wide variety of companies to see the if there was a growing trend of interest that is encouraging all businesses in the United States and other parts of the world to come up with innovative energy projects. We found that people have put more emphasis on building energy companies that will distribute and invent new energy plans, ensuring that no single energy company can control the direction of the market. We decided to focus on the many energy projects and innovative solutions that came about due to this changing trend; projects that are cheaper for consumers and help conserve the environment.
We found many projects that received funding from government agencies, wealthy individuals, or the average person with limited investment power. We decided to choose the companies that showed the most impact and potential for both developed countries as well as underdeveloped countries. Our research started with http://www.entrepreneur.com/ to find companies which focused on interesting and innovative energy projects. To research social organizations that promote change, we looked for nonprofit organizations that had an impact on not just the United States, but also on the billions of people facing difficulty in finding the basic necessity of a steady supply of electricity. We picked our organizations/initiatives based on the portability of the energy project, the impact that the organization or initiatives would have on the individual, things that improved the basic standard of living for humans, and those that involved social funding, not just corporate or government funding and contracts.
We felt all of the following projects were worthy of highlighting because of the use of renewable energy sources, such as biofuels, kinetic energy provided by humans, and solar energy, while not discounting the cost to the consumers, and the social activism and involvement in the initiatives.
Part 2: Entrepreneurial – Energy Efforts
- The Green Energy Machine (GEM) project
The GEM project was initiated by IST Energy Company located in Massachusetts. IST Energy Company is led by Stuart S. Haber, who is the C.E.O of the company. The vision and mission governing the organization is to provide waste to energy conversion solutions to the citizens of United States. The GEM machine is designed to mash trash into pellets that are later converted into gas electricity. It is a machine big enough that can carry a large amount of waste for big companies, institutions and industries. Thus, this machine was designed to perform two functions, ‘mashing trash’ and ‘producing gases’. The machines make-up is dependent on the size that is appealing to the customer.
This project is an ideal entrepreneurial effort because it will reduce waste disposal by about 95%. That keeps the environment clean and safe. Also, the project will save customers tons of money that they would use to pay for other sources of energy such as electricity.
- Biodiesel made from Camelina project
The project was initiated by the Great Plains Company, located in Oklahoma. The company has been under the leadership of its founder and president Sam Huttenbauer. The company performs functions such as tillage, seeding, and planting in the United States and other places all over the world. Camelina is one of the plants that Great Plain Company grows.
Recent research by the company has shown that the camelina seeds can be used to produce fuel. The founder says that this fuel is a source of affordable and sustainable jet fuel. This project has opened new horizons for new research on crops that can be used to produce fuel. Also, it will lead to the planting of higher yielding crops that will yield more effective sources of fuel.
- Algae fuel project
There has been a growing energy and food crisis across the world. The energy crisis has ignited research on seeking out alternative sources of energy. For instance, it has been found that alga-culture, which is the growth of algae by humans, can be used as an alternative source of energy. A series of studies have showed that algae can be used for making biodiesel and other biofuels, commonly known as algae fuel.
In this spirit of research, Virgin Airlines initiated the above Algae Fuel project in partnership with the US Department of Defense research wing DARPA. The two have conducted research on algae as a source of fuel. They have hope that by 2030, algae-born biofuels will be a source of fuel that can be used in jets. According to studies, algae can produce the equivalent amount of up to 60% of the oil that can be used to generate fuel. The project will save the cost of fuel production, because the CO2 waste will be used to grow more algae plants. Unlike other fossil fuel, algae fuel Carbon IV Oxide (CO2) is not released to the environment where it is harmful. In addition, algae plants are easy to grow and maintain. The project conserves energy because all the waste is recycled, which reduces environmental pollution.
- Kinetic energy adapters for gym equipment project
The project was initiated by Energy Solutions International and Green Revolution Companies found in the United States. These adapters are installed in gyms, and are meant to convert all the sweat and energy produced during a workout into recycled energy. Chris Maddern of Energy Solutions International says that the machine will help people to keep track of energy they have produced during their workout. The absorbed energy in the kinetic equipment will be converted to renewable energy.
- Energy production through waste heat project
Little Foot Energy Company, located in the United States, has a central vision of producing renewable sources of energy for Americans. This project is meant to recycle the heat energy wasted during activities such as taking a hot shower, blow-drying your hair, and, in cases of industrial applications, can be used to redistribute heat energy back into the system. The CEO of Little Foot Energy Company says that this project is a thermal initiative that is meant to convert wasted heat into energy. This innovative technology drastically reduces the amount that consumers pay and reuses energy that would otherwise go to waste.
The cost of recycling heat energy is cheaper than producing more energy from traditional electrical sources such as coal and natural gas. According to the CEO of Little Foot Energy Company, it takes less than a dollar to produce one unit of thermal energy. On the other hand, it takes between $1.50 and $2.00 to produce the same amount of energy using natural gas. This shows that there is an opportunity to cut the cost of energy production by reusing thermal energy, rather than producing that same amount of energy from traditional sources, as well as an opportunity to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels that cause harm to our environment.
- Music for Relief – Power the World
Music for Relief is a nonprofit organization founded by the musical band Linkin Park in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Together, they have hosted benefit concerts, online auctions, and events with multi-platinum musicians and celebrities to help rebuild and donate supplies to people in need. Music for Relief is comprised of musicians, music industry professionals, and fans. This organization is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing aid to natural disaster survivors, and protecting the environment by mitigating damage caused by natural disasters by reducing greenhouse gasses and educating the public about climate change. Both Music for Relief and Linkin Park have pledged to support the UN Secretary-General to help achieve Sustainable Energy for All through Power the World. Currently, Music for Relief’s program, Power the World, has 5 active campaigns: Solar Lights in West Africa, solar light distribution for families impacted by the Ebola outbreak; Clean Cookstoves in Nepal; Solar Suitcase in Uganda; Solar Light in Haiti, which has distributed solar lights to 50,750 people, and SOCKET in South America, where 3,600 soccer balls have been distributed and function as a portable power generator by taking the kinetic energy generated from being played with, and stores electrical energy which can then be used after the game to provide hours of light from a few minutes of kicking the ball around. Music for Relief’s Board of Directors consists of Chester Bennington, Founder, Rob Bourdon, Chief Financial Officer and Founder, Brad Delson, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Dave Farrell, Founder, Joe Hahn, Founder, Mike Shinoda, Founder, Whitney Showler, Chief Operating Officer and Secretary of the Board, and Kimberly Hurtarte, Advancement Associate.
- Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Music for Relief – Power the World partnered with the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to provide people with biogas cook stoves in Nepal in order to reduce the amount of indoor wood burning as a fuel source for cooking food. Cooking indoors with wood causes various health problems, and can lead to premature death, especially in children. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership hosted by the UN Foundation to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. Their mission is a 10-year goal to foster the adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels in 100 million households by 2020. This organization has partnered with over 1,300 stakeholders who want to make these more affordable to consumers, the base of the pyramid, by facilitating guarantees, strengthening last-mile distribution channels by funding pilots, building capital for funding other enterprises, and empowering women by encouraging them to become entrepreneurs. The Alliance hosted more than 400 world leaders and global influencers for the inaugural Cookstoves Future Summit in November 2014. During this event, donor and implementing governments, multinational corporations, foundations, investors, NGOs and other actors made over $400 million in commitments to financial, policy and programmatic actions to advance the market for cleaner and more efficient cookstoves and fuels. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is run by Radha Muthiah, Chief Executive Officer, Donee Alexander, Program Manager: Environment & Health, and Amit Antony, Enterprise Development Manager.
- WE CARE Solar
Music for Relief – Power the World partnered with WE CARE Solar, a nonprofit organization, with the goal of having a portable, solar powered suitcase that provides doctors with reliable lighting, mobile communications, and other medical devices vital for healthcare providers. They targeted the specific problem of maternal mortality, which, worldwide, accounts for 300,000 deaths per year. This device allows mothers in underdeveloped countries the ability to safely give birth at night, when sporadic electricity impairs healthcare workers. These devices allows workers to confidently perform the skilled care required, and, because of these, they no longer fear the night shift. The basic We Care Solar Suitcase is a complete system that includes two 20 watt solar panels, a 14 amp-hour sealed lead acid battery, a 15A charge controller, two headlamps, a phone charger, a AA/AAA battery charger, and a fetal Doppler. We Care Solar also has an educational program, We Share Solar, which allows American children to see the link of science and technology with international philanthropy. The program aims at improving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills, knowledge about solar energy, and awareness about sustainable development, the lack of energy, and the poverty it causes in the developing world. Laura E. Stachel, M.D., M.P.H. is the Executive Director and co-founder along with Hal Aronson, Ph.D Director of Technology and Education of WE CARE Solar.
Part Three: White Paper for the Sustainable Power Procurement Corporation
The name of our company is Sustainable Power Procurement Corporation (SPPC) and we see green when it comes to energy. Our company’s main vision is to encourage users of energy to turn to renewable energy as a strategy towards the reduction of greenhouse gases, improving air quality, energy security, positively impacting local economies, and paving the way for the future of sustainable energy. The goal of our company is to help local governments’ ensure their investments in renewable energy gain more efficiency in energy production while curbing the issue of pollution. Sustainable Power Procurement Corporation will focus on green energy procurement, which produces no greenhouse gases, and trapping methane using landfill gas energy technologies. SPPC, once fully funded, will be able to impact local governments across the United States, and eventually reach communities across the entire globe.
Vision of SPPC
Sustainable Power Procurement Corporation: The Energy Company with a Green Focus. The company’s main vision will be to encourage users of energy to turn to renewable energy as a strategy towards the reduction of greenhouse gases, improving air quality, energy security, positively impacting local economies, and paving the way for the future of sustainable energy (Green Energy Procurement, 2014). The main project of the company focuses on the generation of onsite renewable energy. The energy sources that will be concentrated on by SPPC are Green Power and Landfill Gas Energy. SPPC will follow a conservationist policy: the reduction of emissions of all air pollutants common to the combustion of fossil fuels, such as sulfur, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, lead, and particulate matter, which is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the atmosphere (Aitken, 2010). It is within our vision at Sustainable Power Procurement Corporation that this move will create jobs in the future, develop new markets for the local economies, and be useful in protecting against market manipulation and hedging price fluctuations in fossil fuel markets. Additionally, the use of renewable energy will demonstrate vision and leadership of the energy framework, and will help in stimulating investments in renewable energy throughout the regions of the world. Governments can then use the strategy and incentives outlined by SPPC to help meet their energy needs in municipal operations, thereby encouraging its use by businesses and residents.
What SPPC Will Do, Our Clients, & Our Created Value
SPPC, as outlined above, will mainly address the production of renewable energy through Green Power Procurement and Landfill Gas Energy production. Green power is renewable energy that produces zero greenhouse gas emissions and their energy sources include wind, solar, biogas, biomass, geothermal, and small, low-impact hydroelectric energy sources.
(On-Site Renewable Energy Generation, 2014)
Once SPPC has become fully established, we will offer local governments the chance to purchase our services to offer green power for various energy needs not covered by large-scale electricity generation, thereby reducing the emissions from large power plants. Our approach as a sustainable, renewable, and green energy provider is to initiate onsite electricity generation, where raw materials are not transported to large production centers; rather, the process of production is initiated and runs within the sites. To highlight our green power approach, the company will set up green communities, which will serve the local area with energy solutions, all while underlining the vision of the company of environmentally friendly onsite electricity generation.
(Environmental Protection Agency, 2014)
The second renewable source of energy to be involved in the onsite energy production strategy by SPPC is landfill gas energy. Landfill gas technologies will be used to capture methane produced in landfills during natural decomposition in an environment without oxygen. This prevents excess methane from being emitted to the atmosphere, thus reducing the emissions from landfills anywhere from 60% to 90%. Our company will set up onsite emission monitors that will ensure methane emissions are captured with this high efficiency. One goal will be to help nearby local governments complement their waste management programs with an onsite procurement of electricity that will be able to maximize energy needs not met by locally available sources of energy.
The value of being able to produce renewable energy close to individual communities will be sensible to both local governments and residents. Our vision is to help local governments’ ensure their investments in renewable energy gain more efficiency in energy production while curbing the issue of pollution. Sustainable Power Procurement Corporation, once fully funded, will be able to impact local governments across the country, and eventually our reach will span the entire globe.
Aitken, D. W. (2010). Transitioning to a Renewable Energy Future. (I. S. Society, Editor) Retrieved November 23, 2015, from Renewable Energy Focus: http://csmres.co.uk/cs.public.upd/article-downloads/ISES-WP-ESEnglish.pdf
Environmental Protection Agency. (2014). On-Site Renewable Energy Generation. Governmental, United States Government, Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://www3.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/documents/pdf/greenpowerprocurement508final.pdf
Environmental Protection Agency. (2014). On-Site Renewable Energy Generation: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs. Governmental, United States Government, Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://www3.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/documents/pdf/OnSiteRenewables508.pdf