U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Commercialization & Deployment
Energy Department Announces Regional Winners of University Clean Energy Business Competition
May 13, 2013
Underscoring the Obama Administration's commitment to support the
next generation of energy leaders, the U.S. Energy Department today
announced the six regional winners of its National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition.
The initiative inspires university teams across the country to create
new businesses and commercialize promising energy technologies developed
at U.S. universities and the national laboratories. Today's regional
finalists—Northwestern University, North Carolina A&T University,
Purdue University, Brigham Young University, University of Arkansas and
University of California-Berkeley—will go on to compete in the first
national competition in Washington, D.C., on June 11th and 12th.
"The National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition allows the best
and brightest to use their entrepreneurial skills to tackle the energy
challenges our Nation continues to face," said Acting Energy Secretary
Daniel Poneman. "These innovative business strategies can expand the use
of clean energy technologies and compete on a global market."
The national competition aims to promote entrepreneurship in clean
energy technologies that will boost American competitiveness, bring
cutting-edge clean energy solutions to the market, and strengthen our
economic prosperity. Six regional organizations have received a total of
$2 million over three years to host the competitions, including
$100,000 in annual prizes for each regional competition's winning team.
These six teams will now have the opportunity to compete in the second
annual national competition on June 11th and 12th in Washington, DC. At
the national competition, regional finalists will compete for cash
prizes as well as unique technical, design, public relations, and legal
assistance to help commercialize their technology.
The six winning universities that will compete in the national competition include:
Western Southwest Region—Rice Business Plan Competition run by Rice University
Northwestern University, SiNode Systems
SiNode's lithium battery anode technology addresses the two aspects
of battery improvement, energy capacity and power density. SiNode
Systems' Si-graphene composite anode provides up to a ten-fold increase
in energy capacity compared to the conventional graphite anode, and can
increase energy capacity of a complete battery assembly by 50% to 100%.
The graphene scaffolding of the anode provides for more flexible support
and a faster charging of the battery, up to ten-fold increase.
Southeastern Region—ACC Clean Energy Challenge run by University of Maryland
North Carolina A&T University, Bioadhesive Alliance Inc.
Bioadhesive Alliance is developing and manufacturing "PiGrid," a
bio-based adhesive derived from hog waste that is
environmentally-friendly, low-cost, and durable and can be utilized as a
substitute to petroleum-based asphalt binder. The PiGrid bio-adhesive
provides a sustainable alternative for the pavement industry as well as a
lower production cost and an enhanced performance product as well as
provides an appropriate solution for waste management from traditional
swine waste decomposition.
Eastern Midwest Region—Clean Energy Trust Clean Energy Challenge run by Clean Energy Trust
Purdue University, Bearing Analytics
Bearing Analytics provides telemetry solutions offering temperature
and vibration sensing to the industrial and wind turbine bearing
markets. This technology allows users to predict bearing failure before
it happens, helping to alleviate safety concerns, prevent costly gearbox
failures in wind turbines, extend product lifetimes and increase energy
Western Midwest Region—CU Cleantech New Ventures Challenge run by University of Colorado-Boulder
Brigham Young University, Invironment
PlasTe™ is a patent-pending technology created by Inviroment that
facilitates the biodegradation of all types of plastic found in
landfills. PlasTek is sprayed onto waste as it enters a landfill and
begins to decompose any plastic it touches. As a result, the average
landfill will experience a 13% to 20% increase in capacity annually.
Additionally, PlasTek accelerates the methane output from plastics.
Methane is already collected by many landfills as a source of clean
energy. With PlasTek, the average landfill will collect enough
additional methane to power over 4,000 homes annually.
Northeast Region—MIT Clean Energy Prize run by Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Arkansas, Picasolar
Picasolar has developed a Hydrogen Selective Emitter (HSE) to boost
the efficiency of solar cells by improving the electrical connection
between the different layers of a solar cell. The HSE increases solar
power conversion efficiency and reduces the amount of silver needed to
produce high-efficiency solar cells. With their HSE technology,
manufacturers could increase profits by approximately $35 per solar
panel based on efficiency gains and silver cost savings.
Western Region—First Look West run by California Institute of Technology
Pyro-E is developing an efficient solid-state system for electricity
generation from waste heat. Pyro-E's solid-state system will increase
energy-use efficiency and reduce environmental impact by capturing heat
loss from other processes, such as fuel cell heat waste streams, and
utilize the heat to generate clean electricity.
The National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition, which marks its
second year, is part of the Obama Administration's Startup America
initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth
entrepreneurship throughout the nation. In the competition's inaugural
year, 300 teams participated in six regional competitions, and in the
past year alone, those teams have incorporated 52 startups—creating more
than 40 full time jobs and attracting almost $7 million in follow-on
private and public sector funding. More information is available on the
National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition website.