Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Santa Cruz: An Emerging Green Tech Hub

Redwood grove

By Adrian Dolatschko
Santa Cruz Works

February 11, 2020 — Santa Cruz, CA

On February 6, 2020, temperatures in Antarctica exceeded those in Santa Cruz: 64.9 °F vs 63 °F. Is there cause for alarm?

Santa Cruz is a vibrant community with a strong appreciation of our environment. We are a little-big town of innovators. We are a community where the favorite pastimes are surfing and mountain biking. In classic Santa Cruz style, once a problem and industry are defined, a community is set into motion. These are some of the companies and organizations leading the charge to fight global warming:

MBEP Announces Climate Change Initiative

When the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) recently reviewed its targeted climate change initiative, the regional non-profit committed to streamlining their complete agenda. Housing, transportation, technology, and workforce development will all be oriented with respect to climate action. By creating an environment where all areas of the community can work toward a common purpose, MBEP is laying the foundation for a true green tech community.

Greenpower, an MBEP and Romero Institute backed initiative, has focused explicitly on public education and community organizing to usher in an emerging grassroots green tech movement on a regional level.

Ambient Photonics Light harvesting solar cells for connected devices

Imagine being able to power IoT devices using ambient light within your offices, stores, and perhaps your house. The team formed at MIT. The founder – Bates Marshall – is a Santa Cruz native with purpose. Ambient is not able to attend Green Tech, but has committed to present at one of the upcoming New Tech events.

CruzFoam Rethinks Packaging

Surfers with a science background couldn’t sit still while styrofoam polluted the oceans. CruzFoam, a startup providing a biodegradable alternative for styrofoam emerged. Featuring a proprietary process to transform chitin, a biopolymer found in shrimp shells, into environmentally friendly structural foams CruzFoam is the future of packaging.

Blume Distillation – Advanced Biorefinery Systems

Blume Distillation designs and sells advanced, appropriate scale biorefinery systems. Using a proprietary method to up-cycle organic waste into Ethanol, Blume is setting a new standard for renewable alcohol-based fuels. Find out why Toby Corey calls Blume the perfect combination of Elon Musk and Willie Wonka.

Gringgo – Trash Tech

Traveling all the way from Bali, Indonesia, Gringgo developed a unique image recognition tool to accelerate plastic management systems, improve plastic recycling rates, and reduce the amount of plastic dumped in our oceans.

Prometheus Fuels – Making Gasoline Out of Thin Air

The engineers at Prometheus built a solution to pull carbon dioxide out of the air, and combine it with molecules to create gasoline. It is a net neutral process because it uses solar panels for energy to pull the carbon dioxide out of the air created by our gas-powered vehicles.

Pleasant Robotics – Micro Plastics Eating Robotic Turtle

PETER empowers the individual to fight plastic pollution of our oceans. You adopt an individual PETER, track her in the ocean, watch her eat, break down micro plastics before disintegrating into organic matter. It is the consumer focused solution to cleaning up the oceans – simple, yet powerful.

Zero Motorcycles – Electrifying the Motorcycle Experience

Zero focuses on quality, exceptional value, performance, and fun in a more sustainable form. Zero Motorcycles’ 100% electric powertrain significantly reduces CO2 and noxious fumes emissions while also saving oil reserves. As the electrical grid gets cleaner – so do Zero Motorcycles.

Toby Corey – Zentrepreneur Life

Toby has been a mainstay of green tech innovation in Santa Cruz for years. He has a successful career in entrepreneurship, investment, including strategic roles at Solar City and Tesla. Toby embodies the spirit of social-consciousness and awareness in entrepreneurial ventures. Zentrepreneurship is the newest evolution of Toby’s impact.

2NDNATURE – Disrupting the Rain-to-Pollution Cycle

2NDNATURE uses map-based technology to help cities and counties use science to make better decisions and communicate clean water progress to the public. By digitizing stormwater data, 2NDNATURE helps municipalities prioritize where investments and opportunities exist, by getting the information required by the regulators in less time and by uniting their green infrastructure assets and their waterways – into a system.

Sellhound – Change Your Buying Habits, Make Money, and Save the Planet with Sellhound

By breaking down the barriers to selling our stuff, Sellhound can help to reduce waste and create a culture that supports reuse. Supporting a circular economy and addressing issues related to the over-consumption, Sellhound is changing the paradigm of secondhand resale.

Crimson Goods – Compassionate and Responsible Lifestyle Goods

Crimson Goods is in business because of a fundamental belief that there is a need for more responsible options in our markets. While Crimson Products make a positive impact, our profits should also give back to the communities that supports us.

Ventana Surfboards and Supplies – Eco Surf Supplies

Ventana Surfboards & Supplies has the highest bars for artisanship and environmental responsibility. The Ventana team lives and works in Santa Cruz and creates hollow-framed, reclaimed wooden surfboards; bodysurfing handplanes; eco surf apparel, and sustainable surf supplies that are loved by adventurers everywhere.

O’Neill Sea Odyssey – From Wetsuits to Coastal Education

Jack O’Neill began his career with a surf shop and wetsuits. After spending much of his life on the ocean, he wanted kids to understand and appreciate the importance of the sea and the life it holds. Jack’s vision for this coastal environmental adventure continues today.

Santa Cruz on Green Tech

Santa Cruz has a strong connection with the environment. Nestled between land and sea, Santa Cruz is the conscious alternative. With countless organizations united by a purpose for green innovation, the Santa Cruz community is thriving.

See Gringgo, Prometheus Fuels, Cruz Foam, Microsoft + Ventana Surfboards & Supplies, O’Neill Sea Odyssey, Blume, 2ndNATURE, and more. Don’t miss Santa Cruz Works’ February 19, 2020 Green Tech event.


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