Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs and innovation

In the heart of the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles lies a center for innovative clean technology, the La Kretz Innovation Campus of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). An old abandoned warehouse was remodeled and opened in 2016 to house 60,000 square feet of rentable offices, conference rooms, classrooms, and labs for use by cleantech start-up companies within their incubator program.


On Friday the INFEWS trainees visited the downtown LACI campus for a tour of the office space and labs, as well as had the chance to talk to a few of the cleantech start-ups housed within the innovatively remodeled warehouse. The tour was led by Mike Swords, the VP of Government Relations. When entering the campus, the trainees were immediately met by a living green wall, which is watered by drip irrigation system and receives artificial light and some natural sunlight through a sun roof. The green wall is aimed at improving the  indoor air quality. The trainees were then informed that the parking lot has 15 electric vehicle chargers, with 15 more under construction. Other innovative features of the campus are that it has a 175 kilowatt solar cell canopy, a microgrid system that could supply at least 30% of the campus’s power in the case of an emergency, and a greywater filtration system.


While touring the offices the INFEWS trainees had the chance to talk with entrepreneurs from the compostable cups, plates and, tableware company Repurpose; with the founder of an online hub where consumers can compare and contrast solar companies all in one place, called Pick My Solar; and with organizers of CicLAvia, which multiple times a year closes the streets of LA to cars to allow walking, biking, and enjoyment of the space. While talking with these companies the trainees were able to ask questions, offer suggestions, and get a feel for how these businesses operate.


After visiting the workspace, Mike showed the trainees the Advanced Prototyping Center, a more familiar environment consisting of an electronics lab, a biochemistry lab, a 3D printing room, and a machine shop, all of which are equipped with cutting-edge technologies. The group discussed some of the ongoing projects and discovered the prototyping possibilities for LACI’s portfolio companies. The visit continued towards the LADWP laboratories and galleries with educational presentations on water and energy systems where the group learned more about LA’s first public greywater filtration and microgrid system. The space also hosts a smart home prototype, and the trainees watched a virtual demonstration of how cleantech homes of the future would function.


Finally, Mike led the group to a workshop where an all-electric, zero-emission aircraft is being prototyped by Ampaire, a start-up of the incubator, which is focused on developing electric commercial aircraft.

Post and pictures submitted by Tori Basile and Tiphaine Galy. This blog is part of the INFEWS social media series “FEW and Far Between”.