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An OR Startup Competes in National "Cleantech Open"

PHOTO: A made-in-Oregon startup company competes this week in a national competition for clean technology ideas and inventions.
PHOTO: A made-in-Oregon startup company competes this week in a national competition for clean technology ideas and inventions.
November 6, 2012

HILLSBORO, Ore. - A made-in-Oregon start-up company competes this week in a national contest for clean-technology ideas and inventions. The Cleantech Open started with 1400 applicants, and it's down to 21 finalists for the judging.

The company, Regenergy365, is the brainchild of the Gilbert family of Hillsboro. They've got a patent on their technology, which uses very small wind turbines to capture the exhaust from the heating and cooling or HVAC systems of large buildings and convert it into electricity. Founder and CEO Jeff Gilbert says there's a big potential market for their idea.

"Big, giant manufacturing facilities, data centers, hospitals, high-rise buildings: all of those places I just mentioned do not turn off these HVAC systems, because they're part of the living building. So, there's a vast amount of different sources for us out there."

Gilbert's dad and brother are among the partners in Regenergy-365. He says they have their first system ready to install at Columbia Steel in Portland. If they win the Cleantech Open, he says they'd use the $250,000 grand prize to start manufacturing.

The Cleantech Open is a business accelerator for start-ups that offers mentoring and access to funding opportunities. Gilbert did this interview from Austin, Texas, where he was meeting with potential investors. He says it's been a good experience, no matter what the outcome of the competition.

"That's the way we look at it: we've already won. We have a one in 21 chance; somebody's got to win, but we feel like the connections we've made, the validation of our technology, acceptance by the clean-tech community - that's what I mean by 'we already won.'"

The Cleantech Open Global Forum, where the finalists will be judged and the winner announced, takes place this Thursday, November 8, in San Jose, California.

The company's website is at www.regenergy365.com.

More about the competition is at www.cleantechopen.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR