Different Sorts of Energy Companies

There are many types of “green” companies or companies that help save energy. I have two contrasting companies in my portfolio that illustrate this well.

The first is Virticus (www.virticus.com), whose products and services allow owners of lighting solutions to reduce energy and maintenance costs by 30-50%. They sell to parking lot owners (e.g. shopping centers) and cities (for street lights). The Virticus communication and control system enables the management of lights individually and collectively. It is a really cool solution that has begun to get traction in the marketplace. This kind of combined software, hardware, and service solution can make a rapid and substantial difference in energy consumption.

The second is Modumetal (www.modumetal.com). I have written about Modumetal’s technology and potential before. One of the founders of Modumetal, John Whitaker, gave a recent interview (http://www.pfonline.com/columns/0210end.html) about their novel, nanolaminated Thick Thermal Barrier Coating (T-TBC) technology and its application for higher operating temperatures to improve diesel engine performance, give better fuel efficiency and lower emissions and noise. The Modumetal T-TBC will insulate critical engine components such as piston crowns, valve faces, and cylinder heads. This is expected to enable higher operating temperatures and protect against abrasion and temperature-accelerated degradation in diesel engines. It is innovation like this that is likely to have huge impact on energy consumption.

While neither of these are the kind of companies that one typically thinks of when you hear about energy or green companies. But these two companies point out that we should change our thinking.