During the second day of the LAUNCH: Energy Forum, the mood was a bit lighter, as the group had bonded the previous night over an informal dinner. Throughout the day, the following technologies were presented and discussed:
Hydrovolts: Burt Hamner discussed his team's floating hydrokinetic turbine that could open a new pathway to sustainable and clean energy distribution, both domestically and internationally.
Turbococina: Rene Nunez Suarez gave a brilliant presentation on his revolutionary cookstove. Having been selected from over 200 cookstove-specific proposals, Turbococina was a clear crowd favorite.
Solanterns: Nina Marsalek, COO of the Solanterns Initiative, discussed her company's product and market challenges. Through the combination of a high-quality product and a micro-entrepreneur model, this initiative aims to replace one million kerosene lamps with solar lanterns.
NanoTune Technologies: Dr. Frank Wang gave an energetic presentation of his revolutionary technology -- an ultracapacitor that is cheaper and more efficient than a traditional battery.
Promethean Power Systems: Sorin Grama, CEO of Promethean Power Systems, discussed his team's thermal energy battery that enables refrigeration systems to be economically viable in parts of the world where the power grid is unreliable.
Once again, not only was I was amazed by the innovations that were presented, but by the process of "open innovation" that LAUNCH has created.
Most of these technologies already have an existing prototype, and some are already being marketed. Thus, the power of LAUNCH is two-fold: it gives innovators a voice and a forum to present their technologies and it has established a network of well-connected and intelligent individuals that help to propel these innovations forward.
As the Forum came to a close, I was struck by how important organizations, such as LAUNCH, are. Moving forward, we will no longer be able to solve our world's problems by thinking in silos -- we must all work together. I was also struck by how similar our work at the Global Partnership Initiative is -- as a convener, we bring together diverse groups to form a global network of problem solvers.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself at LAUNCH over the past few days, and feel lucky to have been a part of this innovative conference. I look forward to seeing some these amazing technologies on the market in the near future.
From November 11-13, the U.S. Department of State partnered with USAID, NASA, and NIKE, Inc. to host the LAUNCH: Energy Forum at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The LAUNCH program identifies innovations poised to create transformational change in critical sustainability issues, connects innovators to thought leaders, investors and advisors, and then provides strategic guidance post Forum in order to accelerate the implementation of the technologies and projects into the global market. Previous LAUNCH modules in 2010 focused on Water and Health.