The British are coming: UK prepares clean tech trade mission to US

Companies specialising in solar windows, advanced energy storage, and greenhouses that run using seawater are among the 16 firms selected to take part in a high profile clean tech trade mission to the US later this month.

The Clean and Cool Mission, which is backed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), last night announced the firms that will take part in the week-long trip to San Francisco, which starts March 24.

They include Seawater Greenhouse, a London-based firm that has developed an innovative, low energy desalination technology that allows farmers to operate greenhouses in arid conditions; a host of fuel cell and energy storage technology developers, such as Highview Power Storage, Moixa Technology, and RE Hydrogen; and renewable energy firms such as Oxford Photovoltaics and Naked Energy.

Announcing the selected companies, Guy Pattinson, a partner at consultancy The Long Run Venture, which orchestrated the mission, said the aim of the trip was to “help UK clean tech businesses accelerate their ability to succeed in the US” through new investment, partnerships, and markets.

The group will attend the Cleantech Group’s annual Cleantech Forum in San Francisco and also meet with leading venture capitalists and clean tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

David Bott of the Technology Strategy Board said that previous technology trade missions hosted by the organisation had proved highly successful.

“If you take one company to the US it’s a case of ‘there’s a UK company’, but if you take 20 it’s ‘the British are coming’,” he said. “The five missions we have hosted have seen companies involved raise over $180m of capital; of the 20 companies involved in the last Clean and Cool Mission six have made it onto the global Cleantech 100 list and nine have since opened US subsidiaries.”

The initiative was welcomed by Climate Minister Greg Barker, who told the companies involved that they were indicative of the UK’s role at the forefront of global clean tech innovation.

“In 2011 the UK came in third, behind the US and China, in a ranking of clean tech innovation,” he said, adding that the UK was well positioned to retain its position as a leading clean tech hub as a result of its strong renewable energy resources, world leading universities and research centres, and access to the City of London.

“It is fashionable for politicians to bash the City, but it is one of our greatest assets,” he said. “It gives us a huge advantage for clean tech industry and innovation.”

He also praised the entrepreneurial culture of the UK’s clean tech sector, which he argued was often underappreciated.

“We are an entrepreneurial society, we can do ourselves down, but we are the home of some great innovation,” he said. “Ultimately it’s the private sector that will drive the prosperity of the future and help bring back the good times.”

The full list of companies taking part in the mission is: Aeristech, Cella Energy, Energy Deck, Green Structures, G-Volution, Hihview Power Storage, Moixa Technology, Naked Energy, Oxford Photovoltaics, RE Hydrogen, SA Vortex, SEAB Energy, Seawater Greenhouse, VerdErg, Whitefox Technologies, Zeta Controls.

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