Colorado State University Spinoff, Center for New Energy Economy Named as Finalists for Colorado Cleantech Industry Association Awards

Note to Reporters: Photos of former Gov. Bill Ritter and Solix BioSystems CEO Joel Butler are available with the news release at

Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy – an outreach center created by former Gov. Bill Ritter – and the CEO of Solix Biofuels, a CSU spinoff, have been honored as finalists by the Colorado Clean Tech Awards.

The Center for the New Energy Economy is one of three finalists for the National Cleantech Leadership Award with the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory and the Ecotech Institute. Solix’s Butler is a finalist for Cleantech Executive of the Year along with Mark Verheyen of TerraLUX.

Winners of the Colorado Cleantech Awards will be announced Oct. 22 at a ceremony in Denver.

“The recognition is a natural outgrowth of CSU’s longstanding leadership in environmental research and clean-energy technologies, along with its land-grant service mission to benefit Colorado,” said Bill Farland, vice president for Research at CSU and former lead scientist for the Environment Protection Agency.

The Colorado Cleantech Industry Association represents the interests of the state’s cleantech industry. On its website, the organization says the innovation occurring in the state pulls from the strength of its research institutions. Colorado State, Colorado School of Mines and CU combined have filed more than 450 provisional, non-provisional and international clean technology patents in the past five years.

Both Ritter’s center and CSU’s spinoff companies embody the university’s land-grant mission to assist CSU’s commitment to jobs and a healthy economy for Colorado.

Center for the New Energy Economy

At CSU, Ritter’s Center for the New Energy Economy has helped build essential partnerships nationally and in Colorado around research-based clean energy solutions, workforce development and advancement of technologies that will fuel long-term, sustainable economic growth.

In the past 18 months, Ritter has taught about 40 classes and given 100 talks – either keynote speeches or participation in panel discussions – from the National Association of State Energy Offices in Washington, D.C., to the National Association of Energy Service Companies in San Diego. State governments, business and environmental leaders look to the institute for non-partisan guidance on energy policy.

The Center for the New Energy recently co-hosted the second annual Natural Gas Symposium at Colorado State, which drew such speakers as Gov. John Hickenlooper, Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes and about 500 industry, environmental and governmental leaders.

Joel Butler, Solix BioSystems

Also named as a finalist in the Cleantech Executive of the Year category is Joel Butler, CEO of Solix, who has more than 20 years experience in early stage and Fortune 500 companies.

With technical support from the university, Solix has developed algal production system that enables large-scale, cost efficient production of crude algae products. The company also operates a multi-acre test facility on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in Durango. Solix continues to fund a senior design team for CSU mechanical engineering students.

Butler served as Chief Technology Officer at Solix before he was named CEO January 2011. Prior to joining Solix, Butler was at Accenture as a founding member of their supply chain strategy practice, working on transformation projects at such companies as Verizon, Nokia and Best Buy. He had previously served as co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of SwiftRivers, an analytical software optimization firm. He has two master’s degrees – in Transportation Science and in Management Science – from MIT.