The winner of the Innovation Competition, held as part of the GreenBeat 2009 conference in San Mateo, California, today, is actually a pair of winners.
The judges could not quite settle on one of the 11 entrants and so instead awarded both Locust Storage, a startup (just out of stealth mode today) and CPower , which provides businesses energy management services, as the co-winners.
Locust Storage founder Seth Georgian said that by mimicking the way a hybrid vehicle works, he has developed a data storage device that runs on just 10 to 5 percent of the amount of energy that traditional storage devices require. The device is so energy-efficient, in fact, it does not even use a dedicated power cord–instead, it uses a power-over-Ethernet protocol to supply all the power the device needs, through its Ethernet port. Plus, it’s cheap. If reality matches what Locust is promising, this will revolutionize the data storage device market and emerge as a game-changing solution for data centers looking to reduce power consumption.
Georgian explained that the key to the solution is the use of software to control the spinning disk inside the device and actually derive power from the disk, which is then stored on a battery inside the device and used as needed. The disks inside traditional storage devices spin constantly, which is a big reason they require so much energy.
Locust also won the popular vote, tabulated online with attendees voting.
In announcing the winners, VentureBeat’s Matt Marshall explained that the judges picked two winners in part because the Locust product is not yet available (it will be early next week, says Georgian). So CPower, which manages demand response programs for businesses, shares the top spot. Backed by more than $10 million in venture funding, CPower offers businesses financial incentives to encourage energy efficiency by participating in demand response programs. In doing so, the company is managing to get companies jump-started in making energy efficiency changes.