Clean tech showcase paves green path

Colin McAteer

The possibility of a greener and more environmental friendly planet through technology was showcased at the University Union on Monday hosted by the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance.

“SARTA has been in existence for nine years now,” said Gary Simon, CleanStart chairman. “Its whole mission is to promote young companies and help them succeed.”

Simon wants to help these new companies through this Clean Tech showcase with coaching, networking and exposure to other established companies.

To show what these new companies can potentially become, SARTA invited some large Sacramento companies to explain what has made them successful for so long.

Successful clean technology companies like the Beutler Corporation. a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning company that began in founder Del Beutler’s garage in 1947.

Or Blue Oak Energy, which has specialized in solar energy systems for nearly 75 years. 

The showcase invited speakers to discuss driving growth and making markets relevant to clean technology.

Biofuels is one of the leading new markets for Sacramento in which the Sacramento region has set a new goal to switch from oil to biofuels through a Sacramento regional plan called “Greenwise.”

Through this plan, the region plans to buy large amounts of biofuels to get them into commercial use to construct a biofuels industry in Sacramento, starting with the goal of a million gallons per year progressing to a million gallons a month.

“The big thing is that we can turn the stuff we throw away back into materials and make jobs out of it,” said Alexander Mitchel, an Air Resource board member.

This was the fifth Clean Tech event in which Sac State has been their host site four out of the five years since 2007.

Simon said that Sac State complements this event with a clean energy and smart grid center.

Pairing with the speakers was the exhibition that was also part of the showcase in which SARTA invited various companies who are taking part in clean technology to present there company.

There were established companies as well as companies that fell under the radar in the exhibition.

SMUD was at the exhibition to discuss their smart grids.

“Smarts grids are taking the 100-year-old analog systems and bringing it up to the digital age,” said Kevin Husdon, SMUD representative. With this digitization of the grid, we can respond quicker to various signals.”

Commerce Printing represented the small companies that are taking part of the exhibition.

“We do menus for Jack’s Urban Eats and a bunch of publications for Sac State,'” said Sam Cohee, driver for Commerce Printing. “We are doing 100 percent wind power now and we have all green vehicles.”

The electric car exhibit located in Serna Plaza let students feel and see first-hand what electric cars can do with the test drives they were able to take part in on Monday.

Not just companies with technology were represented at the exhibition, health awareness companies were involved with the exhibit as well.

“This is where we are going technology wise,” said Kristain Aratoli, volunteer for the American Lung Association.  “Clean emissions, new ideas, environmental friendly ideas is definitely going to be the future.”

There was an American Idol for new clean technology entrepreneurs where three judges weighed the pros and cons of each five-minute presentation.

The Glide Cruisers presentation by its founder, Chris Wiggins, is a cruiser aimed at short-range personal transportation coined as electric-drive stand up cycles.

Wiggins rode up to the center of the stage on his glide cruiser to do his presentation.

“It was very nice because I got a lot of good feedback,” Wiggins said. “It is a fun product to go and talk about.”

The event cost $80 to attend and $15 for students.

“We are graduating this semester and this is chance for us to see all of the different technologies and systems that are out there we have not even been exposed to our whole college career,” said David Zegarski, mechanical engineer major. “Today was an eye opening experience.”

The first time Simon tried to invite clean technology companies in 2007 there were 29 Clean Tech companies in which 300 people showed up. On Monday, there were 100 companies present in which 800 people were in attendance.

“I think we are all here today to get some exposure to what is really out there,” said Dylan Bosworth, mechanical engineer major. “I think we have a vision of what clean energy is but this really exposes the potential.”

Colin McAteer can be reached at [email protected]