Sustainable and Economical – The Magic Equation.


Sustainable and Economical – The Magic Equation.

September 16, 2013

Environmental sustainability not only helps companies feel they are doing their part, it can also make good economic sense. At Intellectual Ventures, we agree with this analysis and have already made a variety of investments in inventions and technologies, while collaborating with companies that have environmentally friendly solutions for a range of existing problems. 

That’s why today we are proud to announce our new collaboration with Smart Planet Technologies, a company in southern California that invents high quality, ecologically responsible alternatives to a wide variety of the packaging used today. Smart Planet's technology has already been recognized by some of the largest paper and packaging companies in the world, including International Paper. They also work with some of the leading consumer brands that have stringent paper packaging requirements, including Whole Foods. We are excited to work with Smart Planet to provide a pipeline of additional innovation and to help them expand their revolutionary packaging technology into overseas markets.  

Smart Planet is the latest of a number of collaborations Intellectual Ventures has with companies that are tackling the problem of sustainability. Our project with one of Europe’s leading food and agribusiness companies Raisio, has created a new product called Benemilk. Among many other significant sustainability related benefits (like increased milk and milk-fat yields from happier, lower stress, and longer living cows), Benemilk also helps lower the amount of methane released into the atmosphere by roughly 10% per cow. 

Recently, we announced our new collaboration with Nest Labs Inc. Nest provides a new way to think about home energy, and has released the Nest Learning Thermostat to much fanfare and several important accolades. As Nest says, helping consumers save energy also helps energy companies because a more predictable and steady demand helps them manage their overall energy provision in a more sustainable way. Over time, Nest's products and energy management services have been shown to help its customers use 5-10% less heating and air conditioning. 

The TerraPower project that came out of our labs is another project motivated by environmental sustainability. The traveling wave reactor (TWR) they have designed will be capable of using existing depleted uranium, helping to reduce the stockpiles of such waste that are growing around the world. Just in the United States, more than 750,000 metric tons of depleted uranium sits useless in huge nuclear waste storage facilities like those in Paducah, Kentucky or Portsmouth, Ohio. TWRs could convert this material into enough electricity to power all U.S. households for more than 700 years.

Intellectual Ventures believes in environmental sustainability. But we also believe it makes business sense to make investments in environmentally responsible inventions. Today's announcement with Smart Planet is just the latest collaboration for us with an inventive company. Stay tuned for more news from us about our work with companies that are using invention to change the world. 

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