Blenheim company aims for Clinton prize

MICHAEL BERRY
Last updated 14:57 19/09/2012

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A South Island cleantech company is one of three finalists vying for a $788,700 grant co-sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative.

Blenheim-based Carbonscape has patented a way to use microwave technology to turn wood and other biowaste into graphite and ''green coke'' which can replace coking coal to reduce carbon emissions.

Carbonscape director Nick Gerritsen presented the company's technology and business case in The Netherlands this week as one of six finalists for the international Dutch Postcode Lottery Green Challenge.

The company was one of three chosen to move on to the challenge's final showdown which will be held at the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York on September 23.

The Clinton Global Intiative was founded in 2005 by former US President Bill Clinton to solve the world's pressing challenges by bringing together leading statespeople, scientists and businessleaders.

It has made 2100 ''commitments to action'', pledging a total of US$69 billion.

Gerritsen said just being a finalist had given the company massive exposure to potential customers and investors.

''These awards have a big following internationally and the dinner in New York is very much a top drawer affair.

''This is a real breakthrough for CarbonScape''

The company was courting international investment fund managers since it started being shortlisted in the competition, he said.

About 500 companies from around the world entered the competition, and Carbonscape is the only company from the Southern Hemisphere in the final three.

It is up against Mango Materials, of the United States, which uses bacteria to convert methane into biodegradable plastic; and Peerby BV, of The Netherlands, which has created a digital program that links neighbours with surplus goods to those who wish to borrow them to reduce the need to make new products.

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- The Press

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