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updated 6:45 AM BST, Sep 18, 2014
Technology and life sciences news from the Cambridge cluster

Is Cambridge the UK's fastest growing cleantech cluster?

Enecsys interfaceIf there was one thing that this week's technology rankings, the Deloitte Fast 50 and the Global Cleantech 100, confirm, it's that right now Cambridge is hottest place for cleantech in the UK.

With Cambridge Cleantech set to launch this Friday and a new angel network for the sector coming together the cluster seems to be moving at such a pace right now that Hugh Parnell's wish for it to be the city's 'third wave' cluster together with biotech and high tech, could be coming true.

First the Deloitte Fast 50, which only had three 'greentech' companies in total, two of them from Cambridge including Nujira, the highest placed of the three and sixth overall.

Nujira's mobile signal amplification technology (both for base stations and handsets), not only improves the signal, but lowers power consumption. According to the list its revenues have grown 4487 per cent over the last five years. In 43rd place overall, Breathing Buildings, whose innovative low energy natural ventilation systems actually really do keep you warm in the winter (and cool in summer) managed 749 per cent growth.

Only one other Cambridge company made the list (well done biotech's BlueGnome in 39th place with 808 per cent growth).

Then the Guardian announced the Global Cleantech 100, the 100 'most likely to make the most significant market impact over the next five to 10 years.'

The USA was dominant, of the 100 companies it had 58, but the UK came in second with nine and Cambrdge topped that mini-list with three companies. London only had two, the others one.

Again Nujira made the list, but this time it was joined by two different companies, Enecsys, whose microinverters lower the cost and increase the efficiency of solar, and Arm-backed Amantys, an innovator in power conversion.

Like with all these kinds of lists there's contention about their make up. Both overcome the logistical challenges of actually scouting the UK and the globe for the fastest growing companies and the most promising cleantechs by using a nomination process, so if you didn't know it was happening, chances are you're not in it.

This may explain why Breathing Buildings is the 43rd fastest growing company in the UK according to Deloitte, the third fastest in the cleantech sector, but doesn't register on the Global Cleantech 100. It may also be that the judiging panel was almost exclusively made up of members of the VC and private equity world and Encsys recently raised £25m in Series B, Nujira £10m (total £40m) and Amantys $7m led by chip giant Arm.

But of course they're not the only ones making great strides. Browse Cabume's cleantech stories alone and you can pick out some of the region's most promising companies, not just the Deloitte 50 and Cleantech 100 entries (though they're all there too). For instance:

AlertMe, which started life as a home security system is making major strides in home monitoring of heating and power having recently acquired the innovative Wattbox.

Cambridge Carbon Capture has technology that could one day provide an answer to the fiasco that currently masquerades as government policy on carbon sequestration In the time being it is working on low scale projects and any day now will announce a partnership with a marine surveyor who wants to use CCC technology to completely eliminate CO2 emissions from its entire fleet.

The Brazilian government is so impressed by the tidal and run-of-river turbine technology devised by Michael Evans at Green-Tide Turbines that hugely resourced state backed banks and power companies are offering multi-million pound contracts to develop its technology to roll out in Brazil.

Performing healthily on the stock market, Pursuit Dynamics' atomisation technology is helping the advance of biofuels from 'low grade' crops - its technology will help the production of 1 billion gallons of biofuels in the US alone and it has also set up its own venturing division.

Even Neul, one of the most exciting companies to come out of Cambridge in recent years from any sector has a part to play. Its white space technology could be an instrumental player in fully exploiting the advantages of smart meters.

Looks like Parnell's third wave could be tidal after all.