Local Co. Wins Cleantech Open National Grand Prize

Atmosphere Recovery, which makes a system to increase the energy output from gas- or liquid-based energy processes, was named the grand prize winner at the Cleantech Open 2011 Global Forum.

Eden Prairie-based Atmosphere Recovery, Inc., beat out start-ups from across the country to become the grand prize winner in the Cleantech Open 2011 Global Forum-a national business-plan competition and incubator-and brought home $250,000 in seed capital and services.

Founded in 1994, Atmosphere Recovery focuses on the recovery, reprocessing, and reuse of high-temperature, industrial furnace, and refining-process gases.

The start-up and four other Minnesota companies were among 20 semifinalists from the north-central region-which includes Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Atmosphere Recovery and two Wisconsin-based companies were then selected from the north-central regional pool to compete in the national competition, which was held in California this week.

At the national competition, Atmosphere Recovery-along with 20 other start-ups-presented in front of a live judging panel. It was awarded the national prize on Wednesday, and Portland, Oregon-based Indow Windows and Boston-based PK Clean were named runners-up.

In a statement, Rex Northen, executive director of the Cleantech Open, said that the 2011 winners and finalists represent “the best in early-stage clean-tech innovation and viable solutions to some of the world's toughest challenges.”

The Clentech Open, which awards start-ups in the cleantech industry with training, mentoring, investments, and professional services, attracted about 300 applicants this year.

The annual competition bills itself as “the world's largest cleantech accelerator.” Since 2006, the competition has awarded more than $5 million in cash and services to support cleantech companies across the United States. Its 473 past participants have together raised more than $300 million in external funding and created more than 2,500 new jobs.