Category Archives: Clean Energy

Cleaner, quieter, faster air travel coming to an airport near you.

Zunum Aero hybrid electric airplaneHybrid electric cars are changing the auto industry and by 2020 Kirkland-based Zunum Aero plans to have hybrid electric airplanes taking off for regional air service. Utilizing the existing network of smaller community airports could reduce travel time and shift short-haul travel from metro airports, along with the environmental gains of  lower emissions and noise. Improvements in battery storage and software that calculates the needs for engine power has allowed for a revolutionary approach to powering aircraft. Anticipated benefits include lower operating costs and lower fares, cutting carbon emissions by 80%, reducing noise in the surrounding communities by 75% and returning cost-effective regional air travel to smaller communities. Partnering with Boeing and JetBlue Technology Ventures, Zunum expects to be manufacturing their first planes by 2020. Read more in the Puget Sound Business Journal and Geekwire.

Washington State has been a leader in aerospace technology for more than a century. Blend that expertise with the advances that Washington companies are making in clean technology, battery storage, advanced manufacturing and new materials, and software development across industry sectors, and you have the potential for making huge changes in the economics of air travel.

To learn more about aerospace, technology, clean tech and software development industries in Washington contact

New batteries offer clean energy storage.

A row of Uni-Energy Technologies flow-battery storage systems provide storage for clean energy sourcesClean energy sources such as wind and solar have long offered a clear path to less pollution and greener energy.

However, storing it has been next to impossible, until now.

UniEnergy Technologies, based in Mukilteo, Washington, thinks it has found the answer: vanadium-flow batteries which store energy generated by solar arrays or wind turbines in a fluid that can then be discharged using an electro-chemical reaction. The vanadium molecule which makes this all work was developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington.

The company is currently building a storage system for the U.S. Navy in Port Hueneme, California and has installed a vanadium-flow battery for the Snohomish PUD in Everett.

“Washington is leading not just the country, but the world” in revolutionizing the power industry, said Gov. Jay Inslee. “We love clean energy not just because it’s clean, but because it is jobs,” too.

Learn more about this cutting-edge method for storing energy and Washington’s clean technology sector.

Washington companies increase manufacturing efficiencies.

gaming controllerSometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest impacts. Washington technology companies are helping to improve the efficiency and production in a variety of advanced manufacturing and clean energy applications. For instance, BluHaptics, has developed software that helps control underwater robots. These days robotic operators have often spent their young adult years playing gaming consoles and transferring that skill set to real world applications is a natural. Using laser data and video-game technology, BluHaptics is making it easier and more effective for oil and gas companies and other marine industries to operate robots to clean and fix things underwater. Read more in The Seattle Times.

BluHaptics is one of eight Washington companies that will be attending Hannover Messe, the world’s leading industrial show, as part of the Washington State Department of Commerce delegation. Other Washington State innovators in the delegation include a fiberglass recycler, a producer of biomass energy systems, a developer of imaging technology for monitoring power plants, a producer of clean melting iron and coke free fuels, and a protective coatings company for wind turbines. The work of these Washington State companies increases industry productivity and capabilities, and reduces risk in a variety of industrial and energy production environments.

To learn more about Washington State’s participation in Hannover Messe click here.





Human waste to biocrude oil in 45 minutes.

Biocrude oil produced from wastewater treatment sludge

Society produces a lot of waste and finding ways to manage and reuse it has been a robust industry for decades. Now Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, WA has developed a new process called hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) that breaks down the sewer sludge into chemical compounds with similar properties as crude oil.  The biocrude can then be refined just like the oil we pump out of the ground. The HTL process eliminates the need for drying the sewage before processing which has not proven to be cost effective.  Even the liquids and small amount of solids left after the HTL process have been found to have uses in fertilization and other chemical products. Read more about PNNL’s biocrude technology at

Washington State research institutions are in the forefront of sustainable and green energy technologies. Washington State University, PNNL and the University of Washington, along with many green tech private companies are finding ways to use alternate materials and methods to create cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. You can also read a recent post about WSU’s current effort to analyze the market potential for biowaste fuels.

To learn more about green energy technology initiatives in Washington State contact

Photos courtesy of PNNL and WE&RF.

WSU wins grant to research commercial biofuels market.

flasks of biofuels for research

Washington State has a serious commitment to clean energy and reducing emissions across industries. As an aerospace leader, Washington  researchers are focused on revolutionary biofuels that will reduce emissions from commercial aircraft and maintain fuel efficiency.

A Washington State University research team in Tri-Cities has won a grant from the National Science Foundation to research the market potential for their biofuel that converts biomass into hydrocarbons of jet fuel quality.  See article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.  The University of Washington’s Foster Business School is also providing expertise to the WSU team as they plan for bringing the biofuel to market.

Airlines are facing a demand for emissions reduction and have been testing alternative fuels. See earlier post.  And, Sea-Tac International Airport is building the infrastructure to handle these eco-friendly fuels. See 2015 post. Recently, Washington State based Alaska Air was the first to use alternative fuels on a commercial flight.

Washington State has been at the forefront of developing clean energy. Smart grids for cities, alternative fuels and high-performance power storage systems are a few of the innovations coming from Washington companies.

If you would like to learn more about clean energy, biofuels and aerospace initiatives in Washington contact


Washington State lab wins R&D innovation awards.

pacific-northwest-national-labThe R&D 100 Conference brings together the top innovators in the research world to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration, provide insight into future forecasting and to recognize innovative achievements. The 2016 Awards Ceremony, called the ‘Oscars of Innovation’, recognized two innovative achievements by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), located in Richland, Washington.

A four-dimensional imaging system was developed to scan contaminates underground which allows real-time monitoring of the effectiveness of soil remediation treatment. For practical application, PNNL  developed the E4D-RT to aide the cleanup of uranium contaminates at the Hanford Nuclear site. The subsurface imaging system has broader applications such as monitoring volcanic regions and hydraulic fracturing operations.

PNNL’s second award was for computational and modeling software that aides the development of technology to capture carbon emissions at power plants. The Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative tool gives a complete understanding of how scaled up commercial processes will operate. Read more in the Tri-City Herald.

Washington State research institutions and clean tech companies are pioneering a wide range of  innovations that help to clean up existing environmental problems and build a sustainable future that protects our natural world.

For more information about environmental innovation in Washington State contact

Sea-Tac Airport moves toward using biofuels.

fuelingjetWashington State’s international commercial airport is ahead of the curve on curbing carbon emissions. Research has been ongoing to develop jet biofuels that reduce the amount of carbon emissions and yet maintain the fuel efficiency that airlines want.  Commercial jets are a major contributor to carbon pollution. The airline industry and the federal government are aiming to cut commercial aviation carbon emissions to 50 percent of 2012 levels by 2050. Sea-Tac Airport will work in conjunction with Richard Branson’s nonprofit Carbon War Room to study the economic feasiblity of using biofuels in commercial jets. Read more in Geekwire.

Robust research efforts into a variety of alternative biofuels are based in Washington State.  In 2013, the FAA announced creation of a research hub to develop alternative aviation fuels in Richland, Washington.  Collaboration between  Washington State University and 16 other university partners is pioneering plant-based alternative fuels. Read more in our post from September 2013.

Washington State is a leader in clean energy research. The state legislature has mandated that 15% of Washington’s electricity come from new energy sources, including wind, tidal, biomass, biofuel and solar. Washington-based Alaska Airlines, the Boeing Company and Sea-Tac Airport are developing the infrastructure needed to delivery biofuels to commercial aircraft at Sea-Tac. Read more in our post from December 2015.

To learn more about the pioneering research and development of clean energy  sources in Washington State contact


The test tube: yet another alternative to data storage.

DNA -datastorageAs the world’s accumulation of data archives increase exponentially the major cloud service providers are looking for alternatives to the high cost of data storage. Massive server farms are expensive to build, have a finite capacity and useful life, and consume a lot of energy to stay online. Researchers at Microsoft and the University of Washington are pursuing the translation of the digital language of ones and zeroes into the ‘4 letter’ language of DNA.  The collaboration of software scientists and molecular biologists have made this breakthrough possible.  Read more in The Seattle Times and Geekwire.

Major players in cloud storage services like Microsoft and Amazon Web Services have been researching a variety of alternatives to the high cost, high energy consumption of server farms. Microsoft has also been testing underwater servers that are cooled by the sea. And, Amazon has been tapping the wind to power their servers. Read our post about these sustainable efforts to power the cloud.

Washington State’s culture of creativity and collaboration has fostered partnerships in research and innovation across industry sectors and with our top-tier research institutions to build a more sustainable future for technology and industry.

To learn more about business opportunities in Washington State contact

Cloud computing meets clean energy.

computers-cleanenergyCloud computing is made possible by installations of huge servers processing the big data that allows us all to stay connected. These server farms demand enormous amounts of energy.

Two Washington State companies,  Microsoft and Amazon,  are world leaders in cloud computing capacity.  So it makes sense that they are turning to more cost effective clean energy sources to power the cloud.

Microsoft is testing an underwater data center that will allow seawater to both cool the servers and potentially tap into tidal energy to provide power. Read more in Geekwire. Additional information can be found in The Seattle Times.

Amazon Web Services is pioneering the use of renewable energy for it’s power needs. Amazon has partnered with a wind farm in the midwest to help them move towards a 100% use of clean energy to power their cloud servers. Read more in Geekwire.

Washington State has been a leader in expanding uses of clean energy. The state legislature has mandated that future power must come from new energy sources – wind, tidal, biomass, biofuel and solar.  Washington State’s clean energy companies are developing cutting edge energy solutions such as:  jet biofuels from wood waste, new energy storage systems and software to efficiently manage large scale energy use.

If your company would benefit from being part of the clean tech revolution in Washington State contact us at

Washington State testing sustainable jet fuels.

Refuelling787It’s one thing to reinvent jet fuel from biowaste, wood waste or cooking oil. And, there are Washington State scientists and aerospace companies researching and testing these alternative fuels.

The next challenge is to determine if the infrastructure of tanks, pipes and systems can adapt to the requirements of the new fuels. Sea-Tac Airport, Alaska Airlines and Boeing Aerospace are working together to determine if the delivery system will be in place once the fuels are tested, certified and available. Washington State is committed to developing and using cleaner energy and reducing the effects of climate change. The aerospace industry has set targets of reducing CO2 emissions by 25%. Read more in The Seattle Times.

To that end, Washington State companies are pioneering development of sustainable jet fuels from a variety of sources including cooking oil, animal waste fats, alcohol and wood waste.  Read more about jet fuel from wood waste.

Washington State companies are revolutionizing clean energy with developments in more efficient power storage, sustainable fuels, solar and wind power production and smart grid technology for cities to efficiently manage power usage.

To learn more about Washington State’s clean energy industry contact