Posted: April 17, 2013
Made in Colorado 2013: CleantechEric Peterson
Dynamic window replacements
“The beauty of our technology is that it has about a four-year return on investment,” touts Chris Ketchum, VP of sales for RavenBrick.
Ketchum explains that RavenBrick’s patent-pending technology can manipulate the electron structure of semiconductor materials, altering their properties in real time. What this means is that windows built with RavenBrick’s tools can darken themselves automatically on a hot day, reducing the amount of heat that builds up inside a home or office. The windows can also stay neutral on cold days, allowing sunlight to more easily pass to heat the space.
“The energy savings from this are potentially enormous,” Ketchum says.
Founded in 2006, RavenBrick expects to finish its factory in Stapleton soon and begin commercial production of its smart-window technology in the fourth quarter, Ketchum said. The company will sell the technology to window fabricators, and RavenBrick expects sales to be strong. “The smarter, dynamic window industry is going to be worth roughly $1 billion by 2017, globally,” he says.
Beetlekill wood pellets
Confluence Energy is clearly a story of making lemonade from lemons. The Kremmling-based company collects beetle-kill trees in Colorado and turns them into what the company terms “a usable, stable, sustainable, clean, domestic energy source.”
More specifically, the 32-person operation, started in 2008, turns dead trees into wood pellets for a variety of residential and industrial applications, ranging from heating to drilling to absorbing water contaminations.
Mark Mathis, the company’s CEO, says Confluence Energy recently inked an acquisition that will double the size of its manufacturing capacity, which will allow the company to both increase the output of its existing products and create new ones.
“We’re developing some incremental products that are pretty cool,” he says. The company is also planning a major expansion into retail, so stores like Home Depot will sell its products directly to consumers.
Mathis says Confluence Energy expects “a couple hundred percent growth rate” this year, which would top the 100 percent top-line growth rate the company scored last year when it pulled in $10 million in revenue.
Pueblo and other locations
Wind turbines and technology
Wind turbine producer Vestas expects its market in the United States to shrink this year compared to previous years.
The Denmark-based company employs around 1,100 people across Colorado at a number of manufacturing and office locations. During 2012, the company laid off around 20 percent of its Colorado work force due to slowing demand for wind energy, driven by concerns that the U.S. government’s wind energy tax credit would not be renewed in 2013.
Although Congress renewed the wind energy tax credit, it only provided a one-year extension, which Vestas spokeswoman Susan Innis says did little to rekindle the once-booming market.
Nonetheless, Innis says Vestas has adopted a flexible business model that allows the company to ramp its manufacturing up or down based on demand. “We’re optimistic that we’ll have orders for our Colorado factories in 2013,” she says, declining to provide more specifics.
Currently, Vestas wind turbines are used in a 30-megawatt wind farm in Walsenburg, launched in 2012, and a 250-megawatt farm in Limon launched in 2011.
The Air Pear thermal destratification system saves warehouses big bucks on their heating and cooling bills.
Now owned by GE, Albeo continues to manufacture commercial LED lighting in Boulder.
Ascent’s thin-film solar technology can often go where glass panels cannot.
Boulder Electric Vehicles
Boulder Electric Vehicles is home to Colorado’s first automotive tooling lines.
Coolerado touts its products as “the most efficient air conditioners made.”
Manufacturing substrate in Grand Junction and a number of other locations, CoorsTek incorporated as Herold China and Pottery in 1910.
Environmental monitoring equipment
Geotech has been a leader in its field since 1956 and is moving into new markets.
Infinite Power Solutions
IPS’s thin-film, micro-energy batteries are used in smartphones and other devices.
Hybrid technology and accumulators
Lightning Hybrid’s hydraulic hybrid systems make fleets of buses and trucks more efficient.
Silver Bullet’s filters use ultraviolet rays to
Sturman has manufactured precise,
efficient digital valves for a number of industries since 1989.
Sundolier’s technology tracks the sun to maximize its illuminative effect on both new construction and retrofits.
TerraLUX claims it has the “smartest” LED technology on the market.
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com