University of Michigan students and faculty have just launched a student-run investment fund focused on supporting early-stage climate tech companies.
In June, Aeroseal, LLC, a climate tech company shrinking carbon emissions from residential and commercial buildings, announced it raised $22 million in funding. The Series A round was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) with participation from Energy Impact Partners and Building Ventures.
Combining a shift to electric vehicles over the next decades and paying to offset emissions, General Motors announced yesterday a plan to finally put internal combustion engines and their climate-altering pollution in the rearview within 2 decades. Historically, GM is not known for quick corporate change or for prioritizing the planet over shareholder value, but the writing has been on the wall now for over a decade between government regulations and urgent climate change priorities shifting how consumers aim to purchase next vehicles. GM has worked for a number of years to retrofit older vehicle designs with hybrid and electric options, and recently put nearly all of its R&D budget into designing electric vehicles from the ground up, signaling a serious commitment to EVs. Currently, electric vehicle sales are in the single digits percentage-wise of vehicles sold, but rising quickly as more practical options become available and rapid charging becomes viable for the average consumer.
“We recently closed on $17 million in funding, reinforcing our commitment to the wind industry,” says Danny Ellis, CEO of SkySpecs, a sustainable energy company in Ann Arbor that uses drones to inspect wind turbines. “We’ve doubled down our focus on the wind industry.”
From Water Pollution to Cannabis Testing: Traverse City’s SampleServe Automates Environmental Survey Data
Russell Schindler is the head of TCNewTech in Traverse City, which at 1600 members averages 200 people per meeting. He’s also the CEO and founder of a company called SampleServe that uses technology to update the antiquated process of environmental sampling, from municipal water supply testing to cannabis. It sounds simple, and some of the technology is, but, Schindler tells us, the state of Michigan updated the standards for environmental sampling of soil, water, and the like, a number of years ago, and all of a sudden, it became much harder for companies to not only purchase specialized equipment required to conduct their sampling, but also to process all the data.
Ten years ago, this editor was writing about climate change and green technology that could make a difference through Inhabitat, the web’s largest green design blog. It did help get the word out with millions of monthly subscribers. We Cronicle founders even got to drive Elon Musk’s personal first-gen all-electric Tesla Roadster for a test drive before the company had a test fleet. Seems like ages ago now that you could walk into Tesla’s old Los Altos headquarters and get thrown the keys to Elon Musk’s personal vehicle. It kind of was. Burnout is common among people working on climate change or other urgent global issues, and it wasn’t easy watching one deadline after another to stop climate change pass while the world was actually accelerating in the wrong direction.
Beach cleanups with OSHKI are listed on the company’s social media. This summer, they started sending plastic waste collected from these cleanups directly to their new manufacturer in North Carolina. “It’s a hands-on opportunity for customers to see what we’re doing,” Riegler says. “We might do another cleanup in September, definitely another one next summer (when he’s out of school for the summer!) and maybe expand to other towns.” Meanwhile, if you’d like to support efforts to clean up the Great Lakes, Riegler recommends donating to the Alliance for the Great Lakes and getting involved with Adopt a Beach programs. Most trash in Muskegon builds up in areas that trap debris like piers or the large metal structures off the beach in Muskegon Riegler says used to be used for large-scale boating. He times cleanups after festivals to catch more waste, which often is as small as plastic pieces the size of a dime and hard to catch. This, of course, gets into fish and pollutes the $13 billion fishing industry. “I could go on,” Riegler says. For now, he finds e-commerce not only convenient as a retail channel but the best way to use technology because “it tells our whole story with video integration,” he says. “The full experience is on the site.”
You might have seen them at SEMA, Tech Trek, or around their Ann Arbor Spark offices they are about to grow out of. Nostrum Energy is a team of engineers dedicated to improving efficiencies in internal combustion engines and energy grids in the United States and around the world. Founded by an expert in thermodynamics…
In the office suites below the Washington Street parking garage near State, student entrepreneurs from the University of Michigan and their mentors have gathered for a meeting, where they present business ideas in a setup similar to an art gallery. The atmosphere is hushed, thoughtful. The ubiquitous Zingerman’s catering elves have come and gone, leaving pound cake and coffee. Attendees mill around examining the structure for each business on the walls. At the end of the meeting, the posters and papers are covered in little stickers and notes of feedback.