Important Research in Cleantech Gets Rewards

Six university teams have been chosen as finalists in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition and now go on to compete nationally in June.

We thought you’d be interested in seeing a sampling of the leading-edge research related to cleantech. 

The competition is intended to create new businesses and commercialize promising clean technologies being developed at universities and DOE’s national labs.

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. In addition to cash, national winners will receive technical, design, public relations, and legal assistance to help commercialize their technology.

The six university finalists are: 

Northwestern University, SiNode Systems  

SiNode is developing technology that can charge batteries 10 times faster and increases lithium battery capacity by 50-100%. As an example of the cash help finalists receive, this group got $800,000 from a variety of sponsors.


Brigham Young University, Invironment

Invironment is developing a technology that makes it possible for  plastics to degrade in landfills.

PlasTekTM is simply sprayed onto waste as it enters a landfill and
begins to decompose any plastic it touches. The process also accelerates the formation of methane from plastics, which can then be captured via landfill biogas systems. An average landfill can collect enough methane to power 4000 homes a year. It also  frees up about 20% of the landfill space each year.

North Carolina A&T University, Bioadhesive Alliance Inc.

Bioadhesive is developing and manufacturing "PiGrid," a bio-based substitute for petroleum-based adhesives used to bind asphalt onto roads. Derived from the waste of pigs, it performs better than traditional toxic products and costs less to produce.

Purdue University, Bearing Analytics

This technology is able to predict the failure of wind turbine components before it happens, alleviating safety concerns and preventing costly gearbox failures. By sensing temperature and vibration changes, it also increases energy efficiency and durability.

University of Arkansas, Picasolar

This technology, Hydrogen Selective Emitter, boosts solar cell
efficiency by improving the electrical connection between the
various layers of a solar cell. It raises the conversion
efficiency of solar cells and reduces the amount of silver needed to produce them. Manufacturers could increase profits by
$35 per solar panel based on efficiency gains and silver cost

University of California Berkeley, Pyro-E

Pyro-E is developing a system that turns waste heat into electricity. It captures heat loss from various processes, such as fuel cell waste heat, raising 
energy-use efficiency and reducing environmental impact.

This is the second year of the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. Last year, 300 teams participated, resulting in 52 startups – creating about 40 jobs and attracting
almost $7 million in private and public sector funding.

It’s part of the Obama Administration’s Startup Initiative, which seeks to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship across the US. 

Here’s the website:

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