Innovation of the Year: 5 technology breakthroughs named finalists in GeekWire Awards

Innovation of the Year finalists in the 2022 GeekWire Awards, clockwise from upper left: Eviation, First Mode, StormSensor, Spaceflight and Helion.

From fuel cells to fusion energy, there’s a common theme among many of the finalists for Innovation of the Year in the GeekWire Awards this year: alternative sources of power and new forms of transportation.

And while we’re waiting for breakthroughs like those to improve the climate, we’ve got some environmental monitoring to help us cope with the crisis in the meantime.

The five finalists for Innovation of the Year in the 2022 GeekWire Awards are: electric aircraft maker Eviation; hydrogen fuel cell generator company First Mode; fusion energy startup Helion; space transportation company Spaceflight; and rain management technology company StormSensor.

Continue reading to learn more, and vote for your picks across all categories in the GeekWire Awards ballot below. Innovation of the Year is presented by GeekWire Awards title sponsor Astound Business Solutions.

Last year’s winner in this category was Vikram Iyer, then a graduate student (now an assistant professor) at the University of Washington, for lightweight radio trackers that helped in the search for murder hornets in Washington state.

The GeekWire Awards recognize the top innovators and companies in Pacific Northwest technology. Finalists in this category and others were selected based on community nominations, along with input from GeekWire Awards judges. Community voting across all categories will continue until April 22, combined with feedback from judges to determine the winner in each category.

We’ll announce the winners on May 12 at the GeekWire Awards, presented by Astound Business Solutions. Contact [email protected] for more information.

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Innovation of the Year, presented by Astound Business Solutions

Arlington, Wash.-based Eviation is developing three variants of its all-electric Alice aircraft, optimized for cargo shipment, commuter passenger service and executive business travel. The company recently announced a CEO transition in advance of the airplane’s first flight.

Seattle engineering company First Mode has developed a hydrogen fuel cell generator that can power massive trucks, retrofitting big vehicles to provide a clean source of energy. One of the first applications of the generator created “one of the biggest zero-emission vehicles on the planet.”

Everett, Wash.-based Helion generated huge interest in its fusion energy technology by raising $500 million from high-profile investors in November, with the possibility of an additional $1.7 billion if it hits key milestones. The investment underscored the promise of theoretically limitless, carbon-free power.

Seattle-based Spaceflight, Inc. developed a new type of orbital transfer vehicle called the Sherpa Escape, or Sherpa-ES, with multiple ports allowing payloads to deployed in translunar orbit or low lunar orbit.

Seattle-based StormSensor makes technology to monitor water and prevent flooding, combining its sensor data with external conditions including rainfall intensity and length, winds and tides.

A big thanks to Astound Business Solutions, the presenting sponsor of the 2022 GeekWire Awards.

Also, thanks to gold-level and category sponsors: Wilson Sonsini, ALLtech, JLL, DreamBox Learning, Blink UX, BECU, Baird, Fuel Talent, RSM, Aon, Meridian Capital, and WTIA. And thanks to silver level sponsors: J.P. Morgan Chase, Material+, and Tomo.

If interested in sponsoring a category or purchasing a table sponsorship for the event, contact us at [email protected].