Clean Power Blog

There are a lot of great ideas out there that could prove transformative. With over 150 universities and a strong culture of research and development in Massachusetts, our state already has the right conditions to develop breakthroughs in clean energy and water innovation technologies.

But getting these technologies out into the marketplace requires more than technical abilities; to form a successful company, you need to understand the best market for your product, gain skills to attract funding and customers and build the capacity for manufacturing.

This is where accelerator programs like MassChallenge and CleanTech Open Northeast come in. By providing early-stage companies training and access to mentors , they are able to help these companies address these areas, accelerating them along the pathway to commercialization.

This year, MassCEC joined Autodesk, Cydan, the John W. Henry Family Foundation and Microsoft to provide scholarships of $5,000 directly to companies accepted into the accelerator program. The MassCEC scholarship focused on startups in Massachusetts that are developing and commercializing technologies that contribute to the advancement of clean energy and water innovation.

Computer science and technology have the vast potential to modernize problem-solving processes in all sectors, and yet women are consistently underrepresented in both the developer and cleantech communities. The time has come to focus on women in cleanweb.

On June 25, MassCEC will host a “Women in Cleanweb” event as part of the Boston Cleanweb MeetUp group. Held at Posternak Blankstein & Lund in Boston, it will include a panel discussion about bridging the developer and cleantech communities, and highlight challenges and opportunities for women in this industry. The panel will feature three women: Erica Hines, Nancy Riley and Kathryn Wright, and will be moderated by Sam Hammar.

Nancy Riley is the Senior Director of Product Management at EnerNOC, leading a large team of product managers and user experience (UX) designers who synthesize customer needs, market knowledge, and the latest in technology to define and drive the company's software roadmap. Nancy is the current chair of Women@EnerNOC, an initiative to inspire, connect, and empower women to lead and impact company success.  

Donning hard hats and protective goggles, in a 4,000 square-foot research lab packed with steel and concrete, a team of Northeastern University researchers is preparing for failure.

You know, the structural kind.

At the Structural Testing of Resilient and Sustainable Systems (STReSS) Lab in Burlington, Mass., a team of engineers and PhD students has been collecting cutting-edge data about wind turbines; how to make them a better, stronger and less expensive part of the renewable energy landscape.

They’re working to solve a well-known problem: the kinds of turbines we need are too big for transport, making wind projects costlier and more difficult to carry out.  

Stronger winds blow at high altitudes, so the taller that turbines are built, the more energy they can access. But taller towers need to be proportionally wider in diameter, making them too large to fit under most highway overpasses. The current fix, making tower walls thicker while keeping the diameter narrow, dramatically increases weight and production cost.

Originally designed by Keystone Tower Systems – then a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers – the solution involves a modification of spiral welding, rolling steel sheets into a tapered, “conical tower.” The process is highly automated, using one-tenth of the labor needed to construct traditional towers.