Despite political silly season and various industry headwinds, the Boston cleantech community keeps on trucking. Companies are formed and grow, investments are made, and the community continues to expand and mature.

Last night I attended the Cleantech Open Northeast’s regional finals event, a chance for the accelerator to award prizes to the top several of the 31 semi-finalists. It was a great event, but before I share the winners, it’s worth noting the leadership of CTO Northeast’s Chairman, Rob Day of Black Coral – whose blog you should be reading – and even more so Ali Adler, its director, whose hard work culminated in last night’s event. (For anyone trying to break into cleantech in Boston, Adler is someone you should get to know.)

Cleantech Open Northeast Finalists

Top prizes went to Red Ox Systems, Coincident, Rentricity and Pika, each of which was awarded $20,000 in a mix of cash and in-kind services. And they move on to the finals, with a chance to win up to $250,000 in November. More on those companies, from a release:

  • Air, Water and Waste. This category covers technologies that focus on improving resource availability, conservation and pollution control. Red Ox Systems (New Haven, Connecticut) won with its innovative technologies that create valuable products from waste streams. Their first product, the Electrochemical Desalination Cell (EDC), desalinates wastewater, produces inorganic chemicals and generates electricity. www.oneredox.com 
  • Energy Efficiency. This category includes technologies that can significantly reduce wasted energy (including natural gas), driving toward the common goal of saving the equivalent of “a power plant a year” (or “NegaWatts”). Coincident (Boston, Mass.) won with its technology that optimizes HVAC performance in residential, multi-tenant, and small commercial facilities by replacing thermostats with a new type of sensor network that measures room-by-room performance and applies adaptive analytics to operate heating and cooling zones more comfortably and efficiently.www.coincident.com
  • Renewable Energy. This category includes innovations that use, enable and accelerate the migration to renewable energy. Renewables encompass technologies that use waste streams to directly produce energy. Pika Energy (Gorham, Maine) won with its personal wind energy systems that help homeowners produce their own electricity from clean renewable sourceswww.pika-energy.com Rentricity Inc. (New York, New York) also won. Rentricity is a leading developer of in-pipe hydropower systems that provide clean electricity and monitoring solutions for water infrastructure. www.rentricity.com.

Red Ox also won the award for sustainability. Save Energy Systems, which makes a product to lower energy use by HVAC systems, took home a prize for innovation in software or services. U-Launch, a program run by Fraunhofer and the New England Clean Energy Foundation, gave out additional awards to Coincident and to NBD Nano. The Foundation also made additional awards through its Cleantech Innovations New England program to Energy Intelligence and Pellet Co.

Consider this the first of several notable cleantech events in Boston this fall. The Global Cleantech Meetup kicks off October 15-18, and the New England Clean Energy Council (for which I previously worked) has its Green Tie Gala on November 15.

Photo credit: Lindsey Davis; Pictured: Alexandra (Ali) Adler, Keith Richards, Ben Polito, Rob Day