Capstone Turbine among finalists in innovation awards program

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 17, 2001 – Capstone Turbine and other energy companies were recently selected as finalists in an awards program designed to recognize technology innovations which help people.

The Tech Museum of Innovation chose 25 finalists for its first annual Tech Museum of Innovation Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity, presented by Applied Materials, Inc.

The awards will honor innovators for applications of technologies that improve the quality of life around the globe. The winners, who will each receive a $50,000 honorarium, will be announced at a gala event at The Tech Museum on November 1, 2001.

The awards, presented in partnership with the American Council for the United Nations University and Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, are designed to recognize individuals and organizations that encourage the adoption of technological advances in health, education, environment, economic development and equality. The concept for the awards and the five universal categories was inspired in part by The State of the Future at the Millennium report of The Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University. The report recommends that award recognition is an effective way to accelerate scientific breakthroughs and technological applications to improve the human condition.

Five finalists for each of the five awards were selected by the panel of judges assembled by Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society. Through an open nomination process, judges considered over 390 individuals, for-profit companies, and public and not-for-profit organizations, representing 50 countries. Finalists were chosen based on several criteria:

* Their use of technology significantly improves the human condition;

* The solution addresses a serious problem or challenge;

* The solution is a noteworthy contribution that surpasses previous solutions;

* The solution is a novel application that represents a breakthrough;

* The use of technology has the potential to serve as an inspiration or model for others.

“We were so pleased to have such an overwhelming range of excellent candidates in our first year,” said Peter Giles, president and CEO of The Tech Museum. “These nominees truly exemplify the potential of technology to benefit society. They remind us that technology innovation is happening all over the world, often outside of the commercial realm. From techniques to purify donated blood to freeing drinking water of toxins and electrifying remote areas, the work of our nominees filled us with excitement about the power of technology to make the planet a better place.”

“Judging these awards was even more challenging than our team imagined. Presented with hundreds of groundbreaking uses of technology, we wanted to commend them all,” said Jim Koch, director, Center for Science, Technology, and Society. “Each of the finalists truly stood out as an example of resourcefulness and dedication to improving our world through technology.”

Finalists and their technologies are described below. For more information on the awards, visit

Award Finalists:

Knight Ridder Equality Award

Greenstar, Los Angeles, California

Working to connect people, Greenstar uses renewable energy systems to power community centers with wireless connections to the Internet. Each center includes a classroom, clinic and digital workshop. A World Development Library contains information on rural development, agriculture, health and nutrition. Efforts are underway in the West Bank, Jamaica, India and Ghana.

James Sheats, program manager, Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, California and LINCOS, Costa Rica

Sheats’ LINCOS program deploys remodeled shipping containers, equipped with IT and wireless communications equipment Internet linked via satellite, a standalone power source and measurement capabilities for medical and analytical applications. The units provide telemedicine, water and soil analysis and educational resources in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

MicroPlanet, Ltd., Edmonds, Washington

To help power supplies keep up with constant demands for growth, MicroPlanet’s Whole House Voltage Regulator converts electrical energy in a single step without DC conversion and storage and can save houses and small commercial electrical customers six to 18% of their usage, increase the useful lives of electrical devices and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with power generation.

Capstone Turbine Corporation, Chatsworth, California

The Capstone microturbine is a self-contained, miniature power plant that captures toxic oil field wastes to generate electric power that can be used at the refinery or on the electric power grid. This technology is being deployed in Alberta, Canada where there are more that 5,000 gas flare sites.

The Tech Museum of Innovation Awards Sponsors

The Tech Museum of Innovation Awards are presented by Applied Materials, Inc. The Education Award is sponsored by The Nasdaq Stock Market. The Equality Award is sponsored by Knight Ridder. The Economic Development Award is sponsored by Credit Suisse First Boston. The Health Award is sponsored by JPMorgan Chase. The Environment Award is sponsored by Intel Corporation. Forbes, Inc. is the national media sponsor and Ogilvy Public Relations, Alexander Ogilvy, is the public relations partner.

The Tech Museum of Innovation

Located in the heart of downtown San Jose, Silicon Valley, Calif., The Tech, a non-profit organization, engages people of all ages and backgrounds in exploring and experiencing the technologies affecting their lives and aims to inspire the innovator in everyone. For more information, visit or call (408) 294-TECH.

The Center for Science, Technology, and Society

The Center for Science, Technology and Society is one of four Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University. The Center seeks to foster a global network of scholars, practitioners, and leaders to better understand the social dimensions of technological change and the potential for science and technology to create sustainable legacies for society. For more information, visit

The Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University

This global participatory think tank produces the annual State of the Future report that in part inspired the Tech Museum Awards. Over 1000 futurists, business planners, scientists and scholars who work for the United Nations and other international organizations, corporations, governments, non-governmental organizations and universities contribute to the Millennium Project’s global futures research under the auspices of the American Council for the United Nations University. The AC/UNU was established by the United Nations University in 1976 in Washington, D.C. The UNU is headquartered in Tokyo and is the principal academic research organ of the United Nations.

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