Innovation Blog

Startups Making the Earth A Better Place


Altaeros Energies

In the not too distant future, you may see the Altaeros Energies Buoyant Airborne Turbine above your head at incredibly high altitudes. While normal wind turbines can only be placed in very specific places with the potential to disrupt the ecosystem and wildlife in an area such as the Cape, Altaeros minimizes that risk by having a floating, airborne, wind turbine encased in a helium shell that delivers power to communities via conductive tethers. Not only is generating the wind power safer, but it is also stronger and more consistent. Higher altitudes means fiercer and unrelenting winds – something Altaeros takes advantage of. The BAT is made to be deployed absolutely anywhere in the world, and its high-altitude solution to wind power has huge implications for bringing wind power into more rural and arid communities. 

Freight Farms 

Even the most organically farmed produce are rife with pesticides these days in order to keep it fresh while transferring it from the rural farm to the urban market. Enter Freight Farms, building a sustainable alternative to agriculture. The Freight Farms’ fully customizable Leafy Green Machine is built to serve the exact specifications of the urban farmer. Not only is the consumer getting healthier food by having their produce located more closely to their favorite grocery store, but the Earth is getting healthier because the Leafy Green Machine enables high-yield crop production while using less water than traditional farms along with no pesticidies. Michael Pollan should keep his eyes peeled because Freight Farms is making food real again. 

Green City Growers 

It’s no secret that with the continued development of the Earth that we’re simply running out of space for some of the things most crucial to sustainable life. Green City Growers aims to mitigate this potential tragedy and optimize urban environments by identifying and repurposing unsed high quality space such as rooftops and raised beds in urban centers for farming. GCG also offers educational services for businesses, food providers, and home owners to create a global and sustainable culture of urban farming. 

Silverside Detectors, Inc. 

A low-cost, highly scalable radiation detector, Silverside detectors works to prevent Nena’s 99 Red Balloons from ever occuring. There are hidden nucear stockpiles and waste all over the world and one false step would cause inestimable damage to not only humanity but to the Earth as a whole – just look at Chernobyl! To that end, Silverside has developed a low-cost and scalable lithium thermal neutron detector that governments can install at crucial ports, borders, and cities in order to crackdown on the transport of ilicit nuclear goods that pose a threat to the world. 

Bootstrap Compost

It is a very sad sight to see entire islands literally filled with trash and other wastes while they could be used for other, more productive things. One solution to curbing the negative impact that landfills have on the environment is composting. However, compost heaps are sometimes an unnatractive option for otherwise eco-conscious homeowners for reasons of smell, time management, etc. Fortunately, Bootstrap Compost is there to make composting as simple and painless as possible. For a nominal fee, Bootstrap Compost will collect your bucket of food scraps and distribute it to farms that will benefit from the fresh compost. Bootstrap reduces guilt and waste while saving on time and energy.

Black Island Wind Turbines

For the more extreme environments such as Antarctica where it might be incredibly difficult to erect proper wind turbines, Black Island Wind’s HRwind turbines are designed to be the toughest on the planet. Black Island’s Wind Turbines are designed to meet the highest loads for the most critical needs. Black Island, for example, can provide sustainable and eco-friendly power to research facilities in hostile environments, ensuring that world changing innovations can be done without harming the Earth.


UPower is developing the only always-on, emission-free, recyclable nuclear battery for remote and distributed generation. UPowered’s remote nuclear battery can easily be transported to be used by remote communities, military bases, humanitarian aid, & resource production. What’s great about UPowered is that it is cooled with its own internal technology, eliminating the need for external power sources or an external cooling source. According to the UPowered team, “UPower generators provide the technological breakthrough that can cut all carbon emissions from remote generation with a technology that is cost-efficient and works today.” Two megawatts of power while not contributing to CO2 emissions sounds like an awesome deal, and UPowered is poised to make a massive and positive impact on the Earth. 


New to MassChallenge?

Visit the Join section of our site to learn more about the organization and how you may benefit by getting involved.

Upcoming events