Waste-to-ethanol company Enerkem, organic electronics firm Cambrios Technologies and biopesticides producer Vestaron are the top three innovating companies with the most promising growth areas, according to Lux Reasearch.
Analysts selected 10 firms from the 415 they profiled in the third quarter of 2013 whose performance points to a near-term growth opportunity. Each firm gets a “Lux Take” that ranges from “strong caution” to “strong positive,” to provide a bottom-line assessment of its prospects, with a “wait and see” rating for companies that still face too much uncertainty for a definitive call.
The No. 1 firm, according to Lux Research, is Enerkem, which began converting municipal waste to ethanol at its pilot plant in June 2012. The company gets a “positive” rating and expects to begin producing ethanol at its 10 million gallon commercial facility in 2014. In an alternative fuels domain struggling to find cheap feedstocks, Enerkem is getting paid $45 for every ton it converts into ethanol, turning the economics of fuel production on its head, Lux Research says.
No. 2 Cambrios also receives a “positive” rating. Its silver nanowire transparent conductive films entered commercial use in 2011 in the Huawei Ascend smartphone. Since then, Lux Research says it has expanded into production devices from Huawei, LG Electronics and NEC, since its films offer higher performance at 10 percent to 30 percent lower cost than the incumbent material, indium tin oxide (ITO).
Vestaron, the No. 3 firms on the list, gets a “wait-and-see” rating from Lux Research. The European Commission’s impending two-year ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides is stimulating interest in biopesticides as an alternative approach to pest control for crops. With a 25 percent share of the $16 billion global insecticide market, neonicotinoids will leave a gaping hole in their wake. Lux Resarch says Vestaron is well-positioned to fill the gap, and its spider venom peptides are set for EPA approval by year’s end.
Vestaron is also among the 57 companies at the leading edge of agricultural cleantech, according a Kachan & Co. report published last year.
Other firms on the Lux Research list include: energy and infrastructure companies SolarCity, Corvus Energy and Ice Energy; materials companies Hanita Coatings, Meta Downhole and Myriant; and health company Aerogen.