Items tagged with 'Green Island'

Ecovative in Wired

ecovative wired grew this headlineThere's a profile of Green Island startup Ecovative in the February issue of Wired -- the article is now online via Wired UK (which explains the Britishisms in the linked story above).

You've read some of it before, but there are some interesting new (to us) bits that touch on how good ideas come about, and what it takes to foster them. Also: Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre may be the first Wired profile subjects who grew their own headline.

We've posted a bunch about Ecovative, in part because it's an interesting local story with a fun angle (Packaging! Made from mushroom roots! By two good-looking nerdy guys!). But the company also has big potential. The polystyrene packaging business is a $20 billion a year industry (according to the Wired article) -- and Ecovative is looking to disrupt it with a product it says costs the same and doesn't harm the environment. That's an enormous opportunity. And it's growing from the ground up here.

Sure, it's not a multi-billion dollar chip fab or sprawling nanotech campus. But maybe it could be, someday. Upstate New York benefited greatly over the last century thanks to companies that created new industries -- names such as Kodak, Xerox and GE (many of which are now faded). If this part of the country ever finds that sort of prosperity again, it most likely will involve people and companies that have disruptive, industry-creating or shifting ideas.

Is it likely that Ecovative ever becomes as big as Kodak (once was) or GE? The odds are extraordinarily long. But all those companies started somewhere. Why not a warehouse in Green Island?

thumbnail: Chris Crisman / Wired

Winners in Capital Region's non-win: lofts, mushroom packaging, Troy riverfront

andrew cuomo REDC grantsThe Cuomo administration announced the winners of the Regional Economic Development Council competition today -- and the Capital Region did not win. The "best plan" awards went to Western New York, Central New York, the North Country, and Long Island -- they all got about $100 million in funding.

But the Capital Region wasn't exactly a loser, either. The region scored $62.7 million in grants. So, call it a non-winner.

A total of 88 projects in this region are getting funding. Some of it looks pork-ish (of course, all in the eye of the beholder). There are handful of grants that caught our eye. The full list, with highlights, after the jump.

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Big new customer for Ecovative Design

ecovative design ecocradle

Dude, you're getting a Dell.

Dell, the giant computer company, announced today that it is running a pilot program that will use the mushroom-based packaging made by Ecovative Design, the Green Island based startup.

Ecovative has developed a styrofoam replacement material called EcoCradle -- or, as the company points out, it's grown EcoCradle. The packaging material is composed of agricultural byproducts and the thread-like roots of mushrooms called mycelia. And, unlike styrofoam, it's compostable and biodegradable.

Dell says it will be testing EcoCradle in shipments for one of its servers. In 2009, the company started using packaging made from bamboo.

Ecovative already had a deal with office furniture company Steelcase to supply to packaging material. And it's also developed an insulation material based on the same technology.

Ecovative was founded by Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, both RPI grads. The company's gotten a lot of attention -- it was even name-checked on CSI:NY. Last year it was named a "technology pioneer" by the World Economic Forum.

Earlier on AOA:
+ A (very cool) fungus grows in Troy
+ and a whole bunch of other items about Ecovative

photo: Ecovative Design

Video of the Green Island fire

Thursday's fire at the R.K. Freedman scrap yard in Green Island sent a huge cloud of smoke billowing high into the sky -- it reportedly could be seen for miles.

A few people have uploaded video of the fire to YouTube. The clip above really gives you a sense of how much smoke the fire generated. Yep, the video is oriented the wrong way. (You may want to turn down the sound -- the soundtrack might not exactly be office appropriate.)

A few more clips from the fire are embedded after the jump.

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Inside Ecovative

A recent story on the public television show Nightly Business Report included an interesting extended peek inside Ecovative's packing-material-from-mushrooms factory in Green Island:

And, please, don't harm the fungus.

A bowl (made) of mushrooms

ecovative myco bowlEcovative, the Green Island-based startup that's developing a styrofoam replacement material made from mycelia (fungus roots), introduced its first consumer product today: the Myco-Bowl.

It sounds like the uses for the Myco-Bowl might be a bit limited:

Keep in mind that these bowls are made of natural materials. Appearance may vary slightly from bowl to bowl. You can fill them with water or plant things in them, but this will cause them to biodegrade. We don't recommend eating out of these.

If that doesn't float your boat, there are also Myco-Ducks.

OK, so consumer products might be the killer app here. Ecovative has developed packaging material for an office furniture company. And it's also developed an insulation material.

Ecovative was founded by Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, both RPI grads. The company's gotten a lot of attention -- it was even name-checked on CSI:NY. Earlier this year it was named a "technology pioneer" by the World Economic Forum.

Earlier on AOA: a whole bunch of stuff about Ecovative

photo via Ecovative

Ecovative's Eben Bayer at TED Global

Check it out: Eben Bayer's TED Global talk is online.

Bayer is one of the co-founders of Ecovative Design, a Green Island-based startup that uses fungi to produce eco-friendly replacements for styrofoam. His talk -- which he gave this past summer in Oxford, England -- covers the problem with styrofoam packaging and how mushrooms can be used to grow replacement material. There's video of Ecovative's manufacturing process.

Chitinous polymers. Hot.

Ecovative was recently named a "technology pioneer" by the World Economic Forum.

Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, both RPI grads, started Ecovative in 2007.

(Thanks, Jessica R!)

Earlier on AOA: a whole bunch of stuff about Ecovative

Ecovative called a "technology pioneer"

ecovative design ecocradle

Ecovative's environmentally-friendly packaging material.

Ecovate Design, the Green Island-based startup, has been named a "Technology Pioneer" for 2011 by the World Economic Forum (you know, the Davos people). From the WEF brochure:

Over US$ 100 billion dollars of environmentally harmful foams are used each year, depleting finite fossil fuel reserves and causing serious environmental impact during production and disposal. Ecovative's technology has the potential to eliminate a significant amount of environmentally harmful foams, including the expanded polystyrene used worldwide in packaging, automobiles, building construction and consumer goods.

Ecovative has developed packaging and insulation that made with seed husks and mushroom roots. The two founders, Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, are RPI grads. The company's gotten a lot of attention -- it was even name-checked on CSI:NY.

From 2008 on AOA: A (very cool) fungus grows in Troy

photo: Ecovative Design

"The Death of Styrofoam?"

Eben Bayer GreensulateThere's an interesting profile of Green Island startup Ecovative Design and its founders Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre in The L Magazine. From the article by Robert Tumas:

As the van corners sharply onto the interstate, a 10-inch piece of what looks like molded off-white Styrofoam, with curious pieces of brown bark and particulates laced throughout, slides across the dashboard and comes to a rest on the beat-up glove box in front of me. I pick it up and turn it around in my hands; it's a little rough, but otherwise feels exactly like Styrofoam. "Sorry," Eben says, taking it off my hands and tossing it in the back of the car, "It's everywhere." The material in question is called Ecocradle, an invention of Eben and Gavin's, and it just might save the world. This may sound like a big claim for something that looks like a dirty piece of old Styrofoam, but that's the point; Ecocradle could very well spell the end of old-fashioned Styrofoam, and all its attendant environmental evils.

The piece includes a bunch of details about Bayer and McIntyre, the founding of the company, the non-response from the Styrofoam industry and Ecovative's plans for the future.

Definitely worth reading through.

Earlier on AOA: a whole bunch of items about Ecovative

Paterson says he never promised to not lay off state workers, Paladino into the pool for governor, police officers suspended, local family going to White House for Easter egg roll

David Paterson on the deal he struck with the state worker unions last year to trade the new, cheaper pension tier for a no-layoffs pledge: "I never promised I would not lay anyone off." Appearing at an Easter egg hunt in Albany Sunday, the governor said: "it's time for everyone to make a sacrifice." [TU] [WNYT]

Buffalo-area real estate developer Carl Paladino is scheduled to announce this afternoon that he's running for governor as a Republican. He says he's willing to spend $10 million of his own money on the campaign. If he elected, he said: "I will chop and I will chop their budget until they stop their nonsense." The Buffalo news describes Paladino as "outspoken" and "a man of contradictions." [YNN] [AP/Troy Record] [AP/Troy Record] [Buffalo News]

An employee of the state Department of Labor has apparently been assigned to sit at home and call into the office twice a day -- at a salary of $115k/year. [TU]

A Rotterdam family has reached a $5.2 million settlement with two obstetricians and Albany Med over a mother's death following a Caesarean section. The family's attorney said the death was caused by a "cascade of errors." As part of the settlement, Albany Med is funding a 20-year lecture series on patient safety and is investing in equipment for additional training. More than a third of births in New York State are via C-section. [Daily Gazette $] [WTEN] [TU] [TU]

The 12-year-old girl authorities said was forced by her mother to climb through pet doors to assist in robberies, in her victim impact statement: "Tell my mom that I will never forgive her." [TU]

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Paterson says he's cutting local aid to keep state solvent, downtown Albany Y could close, yet another bank robbery, sinkhole swallows car, more quakes in Berne

David Paterson announced yesterday that he's unilaterally withholding $750 million in aid to local governments and schools in order to keep the state solvent. Said Paterson at the announcement, "I can't say this enough: The state has run out of money. We are $1 billion short." He also blamed the legislature, again, for not addressing the state's budget gap. A spokesman for the state Senate majority called Paterson's action "self-indulgent theatrics." [TU] [NYDN] [NYO] [NYT]

A state panel's draft report, obtained by NYT, says that New York State's juvenile prisons are in such bad shape that family court judges should stop sending all but the most dangerous offenders to them. [NYT]

The lawyer for De Von Callicut, the teen accused of firing the shot that killed Richard Bailey, is trying to get Callicut's statement to police tossed because he didn't have an attorney present. [TU]

A state lawyer told a state Supreme Court judge that the planned expansion of the Albany landfill would be its last -- probably. [TU]

Saratoga Springs are investigating an early Friday morning shooting. [Saratogian]

Albany police are investigating a car-to-car shooting around noon on Saturday near Hoffman Park (map). [WNYT] [Fox23]

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City, town or village?

colonie town hall

Colonie Town Hall

After we posted Monday about Colonie being named the "safest" city in the country in an annual crime ranking, Jackers pointed out in the comments:

Colonie is not a city. There's a town, and a village, but no city.

He is, of course, correct. We would argue it doesn't make much difference in this context. The list ranks areas of local jurisdiction with populations larger than 75,000 -- it doesn't really matter what you call them (whether it makes sense to rank municipalities in this way is a whole other, worthwhile discussion). But substituting "municipality" for "city" would make the sentence more accurate.

This got us wondering about what exactly differentiates a city from a town in New York State. So we looked it up.

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CSI:Green Island

ecovative CSI

Can mushroom insulation help catch the Compass Killer? (cue ominous music)

This is funny/cool/awesome: Ecovative's Greensulate material (you know, the insulation made from mushrooms) showed up as evidence on CSI:NY last night. Here's the episode -- the segment name-checking Ecovative and Greensulate is at 25:20.

It's a pretty great spot for the product. The characters talk about how it's fire-resistant and eco-friendly. But there's a mystery -- how did "cutting-edge insulation get on our vic?" Hmm.

Ecovative, which was started by two RPI grads and is now based in Green Island, has been been getting all sorts of attention recently. Founders Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre were on CNN in September. Bayer spoke at spoke at the nerd-chic PopTech conference in October (here's video). And now they're helping Gary Sinise catch bad guys.

Earlier on AOA: A (very cool) fungus grows in Troy

[via @katerbirch]

screen grab: CBS

More attention for Ecovative

eben bayer poptechEben Bayer -- one of the founders of the Green Island-based startup Ecovative -- spoke yesterday at the PopTech conference in Maine. (PopTech, in its own words: "a global community of cutting-edge leaders, thinkers, and doers from many different disciplines, who come together to explore the social impact of new technologies.")

Bayer is one of PopTech's "social innovation" fellows this year. He talked yesterday about the environmental impact of polystyrene -- Ecovative makes an eco-friendly polystyrene replacement using mushrooms.

As part of an awareness/marketing campaign, Ecovative is asking people to send in pictures of expanded polystyrene.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Fungus is the new punk rock
+ Award-winning fungus
+ A (very cool) fungus grows in Troy

photo: PopTech

Nurses say they're suing over flu shot requirement, couple accused of abandoning dogs, car registration stickers not sticking, cities try to solve crow problem, fish pedicure ban proposed

Four Albany Med nurses are filing a lawsuit against the state health commissioner over the state's flu shot requirement for health care workers. The nurses say the requirement is a violation of their civil liberties. One of them says they "don't believe in" the vaccine. The nurses could be suspended -- and later fired -- if they don't get the shot. Their attorney says they'll quit if the state doesn't drop the requirement. [TU] [CapNews9] [WNYT] [WTEN] [Troy Record]

An East Greenbush woman says the incident in which a teenager was allegedly thrown onto a bonfire last week is just part of a string of ongoing violence between two rival groups in the town. The mother of the burned teen says the alleged attack was racially motivated. [WTEN] [WTEN]

State police have arrested two people in Rensselaer County for allegedly abandoning their dogs with no food or water in a house. Police accuse the couple of moving to a new house -- and leaving the dogs behind. The dogs were found -- hungry and thirsty -- last week after a neighbor noticed them. Police say the couple had moved out weeks before. Shelter workers say it looks like the dogs will be OK. [Fox23] [CapNews9] [CBS6] [Troy Record] [WNYT]

Two Delmar women are pushing for a Bethlehem town law that would require cat owners to keep their pets in doors. The women say their neighborhood as become overrun with cat poop -- "You can't even walk around the circle without the scent of cat urine and feces knocking you down," says one of them. [TU] [Spotlight]

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Friend says man killed by police suffered from mental illness, unease over state worker buyouts, judge pleads guilty to DWAI, big year for apples

A family friend says the man shot and killed by Schenectady police this past weekend suffered from mental illness. The man's brother says the SPD should have used non-lethal force. [Daily Gazette $] [CapNews9]

Workers at GE Energy in Schenectady approved a new contract with the company that includes no layoffs for two years -- and clears the way for a new battery factory that could add 350 jobs. In return, the union is forgoing cost of living raises for the next two years. [WNYT] [CapNews9] [TU]

The Hudson River dredging project has started up again after tests indicated that PCB levels in the water had dropped below the set limit. The EPA is blaming fast-moving currents for the spike. Officials from some downstream communities say the EPA was slow to notify them of the test results. [Troy Record] [TU] [Post-Star]

New York State has finally paid the property taxes it owed on The Track -- almost $478k. The payment was six months late. Apparently the state is exempt from having to pay late fees. The state started paying property taxes on The Track after it took ownership of the property from NYRA. [Daily Gazette $] [Saratogian] [TU] [Post-Star]

Lack of information about the $20k retirement buyout is upsetting state workers. [TU]

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Senate is still stuck, big drug bust in Wilton, Alive at Five DWI crackdown planned, man accused of impersonating a cop, another local moose sighting

The state Senate is still borked. Local elected leaders are getting nervous because the Senate hasn't passed bills that would extend special sales taxes (this group includes Rensselaer and Columbia counties). Also held up: the new pension tier that was part of David Paterson's deal with the state worker unions. And the lid on the pork barrel is also shut. [TU] [CapNews9] [Buffalo News]

Republicans and Democrats are apparently trading ideas for power-sharing agreements. They're also starting to throw mud at each other. A sample exchange: Pork-throwing adulterer! Liar! [PolitickerNY] [NYP]

Pedro Espada, the lone Democrat in the Republican "coalition," has been reiterating his claim that his position as Senate pro tem gives him two votes -- not just in the event of a tie, but also to establish a quorum. An expert from the the Rockefeller Institute said Espada's claim "just might be correct." But the case law would seem to indicate otherwise. If Espada tries to act in this manner, the Democrats will almost certainly sue. [Daily Politics] [AP/Troy Record] [TU] [NYT]

The revised Schenectady schools budget did pass after all. A re-check of the numbers found a mistake that had resulted in almost 50 fewer "yes" votes. Had the budget not passed, the school district was going to impose an almost 16 percent tax increase as part of a contingency budget. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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Officials say they're prepping for swine flu, more ghost ticket testimony, ACP student's skull cracked in assault, phoning while driving sweep nets hundreds, rock snot

There have now been 28 confirmed cases of swine flu in New York State -- all of them in NYC. The state Department of Health says it expects to see more cases emerge. State and local officials say they're prepping in case the influenza strain spreads elsewhere in the state. The state has set up a swine flu hotline and info page: 1-800-808-1987. [NYT] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [NYS DoH]

The head of the Albany police union testified under oath last night before the Common Council about the ghost ticket scandal. Christian Mesley reiterated his earlier assertion that APD chief James Tuffey wasn't totally forthcoming in his comments about the tickets. Mesley was testifying as an officer -- not as union head -- and some council members say they suspect they didn't get the full story as a result. [TU] [Fox23]

David Paterson says he's issuing an executive order requiring that any need state mandate on local governments will have to include funding the new rule. Paterson says the order should help slow the increase of property taxes. The governor also said yesterday that state's fiscal outlook later this year "may not be as bad we first thought." [TU] [AP/Troy Record]

County sales tax revenues were down in the first quarter of 2009 -- both locally and across the state. And that could mean... higher property taxes. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

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