Meet the companies tackling nine of humanity's biggest problems -- and making millions saving us from ourselves.
Problem #2: Oil Dependency
Problem #2: Oil Dependency
The background: Transportation is second only to electricity generation as a contributor to global warming. While manufacturers have dramatically cut exhaust emissions from standard cars, they're only starting to do so for 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles powered by diesel engines.

The solution: Westport Innovations has developed a conversion technology, called high-pressure direct injection (HPDI), that allows diesel engines to run on cleaner-burning liquid natural gas. Last year the EPA certified HPDI for commercial use.

The payoff: Starting this year, operators of 5,000 diesel trucks must convert to natural gas, and Westport, based in British Columbia, has the first-mover advantage.

The opportunity: Global diesel engine sales will hit $160 billion this year. Washington-based Energy Conversions is selling natural-gas retrofits for locomotive engines and power generators used in offshore drilling. And major diesel manufacturers are inventing new filters to meet tough new standards. Other companies, like California-based Clean Energy, are ramping up the infrastructure for LNG filling stations.

Global Warming

Oil Dependency

Hunger and Malnutrition

Dirty Air

Dirty Water

Overfishing

Epidemics

Drug-Resistant Infections

Waste Disposal
8 technologies to save the world These futuristic projects promise to make the world greener, while making entrepreneurs some green. (more)
Blog: Can tech save the planet? Are green entrepreneurs the answer to our problems? Tell us what you think by posting a comment on the Green Wombat blog. (more)
101 Dumbest Moments in Business Business 2.0 Magazine's 7th annual look at the year in bungled layoffs, customer-service snafus, executive follies, and other madness. See all 101. (more)

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.