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CRANE is an online, open-source tool to make climate impact assessment of early-stage ventures less labor-intensive. Users will be able to input a small number of assumptions about a new technology or solution, and CRANE will provide a quantitative and qualitative output report about its greenhouse gas emissions reduction potential.

CRANE is an online, open-source software tool that will make climate impact assessment of early-stage companies less labor-intensive, as well as more data-driven, transparent, and standardized.
Prime Coalition (Boston), Rho AI (New York), Greenometry (Boston), and Clean Energy Trust (Chicago) are collaborating to develop the tool. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (Chicago), the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center are providing grant support for the tool’s development. The CRANE project also includes a volunteer Academic Advisory Group that provides methodological input and a User Group that informs the design of the tool itself.
CRANE builds on a methodology developed by Prime Coalition which defines the potential for an early-stage venture to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future: Emissions Reduction Potential (“ERP”). Details of the methodology were published in a report in January 2018. The CRANE tool aims to implement this methodology in an open-source, online software program that streamlines the process of estimating the ERP of an early-stage company.
CRANE is designed to measure the catalytic impact of an investment in a new technology. Thus, it is more suited to measuring the potential impact across the economy rather than the specific impact one company is expected to deliver. Users will be able to add a layer of analysis about one company’s relative capture within the sector outside the tool itself.
The list of technology sectors supported by CRANE is constantly evolving. If you don’t see a sector you think is important, please reach out to our developers. ([email protected])
Any investors, government agencies, or philanthropists who support early-stage (Pre-Seed through Series B) companies that promise reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions. In some cases, users may want to use the potential climate impact of a new venture as part of their decision-making process about whether to invest. Users may also want to use climate impact assessment as a tool in their investment reporting process.
Users will need to provide information about whether a new technology replaces existing technology or accelerates the adoption of an existing technology. For replacement technologies, users will need to provide metrics for the improvement above the incumbent, typically given by a technology-specific figure of merit. As an example, the figure of merit for more efficient lighting might be lumens/kWh. For accelerating technologies, a figure of merit might be the cost reduction of a lithium-ion battery pack for electric vehicles.
The CRANE tool catalogues and delivers baselines which make comparisons between business-as-usual and the introduction of a new technology simple and repeatable. The CRANE tool uses future-looking projections from organizations like the IEA, EIA, and BNEF, who provide deeply researched information about things like the carbon intensity of the electric grid, the adoption of electric vehicles, prevalence of biofuels, and so on. CRANE endeavors to save users’ time by keeping data up-to-date, so that each user doesn’t have to re-collect relevant data for each ERP-type calculation he or she may want to conduct.
CRANE will allow users to view the estimated annual and cumulative ERP for a new technology, and the calculations, assumptions, and data that produced that result. The tool will also allow users to compare several market deployment/penetration business scenarios for a product to calculate and forecast multi-year ERP estimates.
Outputs of the CRANE tool will include robust documentation that provides references to the peer-reviewed papers, industry and government reports, or other databases upon which a result was built. CRANE’s Academic Advisory Group works closely with the development team to ensure that the methodology takes advantage of the best available information from climate science.
The CRANE tool is being designed to be a jumping off point for future work. We envision future versions of the tool being built for additional impact metrics such as water conserved, other pollution averted, landfill avoided, and more. For now, we’re focused on GHG emissions as an important first demonstration.
The list of technology sectors supported by CRANE is constantly evolving. If you don’t see a sector you think is important, please reach out to our developers. ([email protected])
A beta version of CRANE is expected in Q4 2019, followed by public launch in Spring 2020.

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