As an astrobotanist, Richard Barker’s job is to research how plants grow in outer space. He spends his days at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working on NASA-funded research, which includes bioengineering plants and rocketing them to the International Space Station to monitor how they respond to space flight.
But as an entrepreneur, Barker’s job is to give high school and undergraduate students around the world a taste of how cool his day job is.
Innovative students and their promising clean energy technologies were showcased in Denver for the Department of Energy’s national Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) competition
On June 23, innovative students and their promising clean energy technologies were showcased in Denver for the Department of Energy’s national Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) competition. Cleantech UP drew the best teams from 8 regional partner competitions, including Clean Energy Trust, to further support student entrepreneurs and their technologies through $100,000 in prize funding.
NovoMoto, an award-winning startup, has plans to provide remote-controlled energy kiosks and microgrids in the Congo of Africa, supplying electricity that’s 40 to 60 percent lower than the cost of kerosene.
The student-led startup from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently won three awards and $90,000 during the Clean Energy Trust Challenge.
NovoMoto’s founders, Mehrdad Arjmand and Aaron Olson — Ph.D candidates in the college of engineering and physics at the university — say their goal is to empower communities in Sub-Saharan Africa by providing renewable, sustainable electricity with their MicroPlant technology as an alternative to kerosene.
Aaron Olson left the Democratic Republic of the Congo when he was just two years old.
Upon returning to visit his family for the first time last January, Olson noticed a permeating lack of reliable access to electricity in his community.
Families had to take their electronics to diesel stations to charge their appliances or mobile phones. Combined with the cost of fuel for kerosene lamps, Olson said nearly one-third of family income is consumed by the cost to access energy.
NovoMoto's MicroPlant technology aims to provide renewable, sustainable electricity to communities in sub-Saharan Africa. | Photo courtesy of NovoMoto
Fourteen of the Midwest’s most promising clean energy startups gathered in Chicago last week to compete for a combined $1 million in funding at the sixth annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge. Touted as the largest single-day clean energy pitch competition in the United States, the Clean Energy Trust Challenge is also the third of eight regional competitions in the Energy Department’s Cleantech University Prize.
The sixth annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge–a Midwest cleantech showcase and pitch competition–took place yesterday, with four startups winning a total of $1 million in prize money.
Evanston-based Hazel Technologies won the $500,000 Clean Energy Fund Award, the largest award, for FruitBrite, the startup’s product for produce retailers and distributors that can extend the shelf life of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
A startup that aims to provide clean, renewable and sustainable electricity to communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo won the Clean Energy Trust Challenge and earned $90,000 earlier this week.
NovoMoto, based in Madison and created by two University of Wisconsin graduate engineering students, will use the funds to bring a reliable source of electricity to the residents of Mboka Paul, according to a release.
Aaron Olson and Mehrdad Arjmand, NovoMoto co-founders, competed against three other student teams and fourteen teams overall to win a chunk of the $1 million in prize money. They will use the funds to bring a reliable source of electricity to the residents of Mboka Paul, a small village in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) located one hour east of the country’s capital Kinshasa. Olson, who was born in the DRC and moved to the United States with his parents at an early age, knows the village of Mboka Paul quite well as his aunt lives there and his family has farmland nearby.
Chicago is home to the largest single day business plan/clean energy pitch competition in the nation, the Clean Energy Trust Challenge. This challenge is a nationally recognized accelerator program, and its winners have moved on to become successful contributors to clean technology. The challenge has jumpstarted 80 startups in the Midwest alone and is a premiere clean-tech networking event.
NovoMoto, a Madison, Wis.-based company developing a micro-solar grid for use in Congo, also took home three awards. It won the $20,000 Power Clean Cities Award, the $20,000 Hanley Family Foundation Award and the $50,000 Department of Energy Cleantech UP Student Award.
That Department of Energy award was the only one given out as a grant, Birkerts said.
Clean energy startups took home $1 million in prize money and planted the seeds for further investment on Tuesday at the annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge in Chicago.
During keynote speeches and presentations by companies and student teams, a striking parallel emerged between projects aimed at developing countries – for example in Sub-Saharan Africa – and technologies meant to help modernize and reshape energy delivery in the U.S.
CHICAGO (April 12, 2016) – More than 300 venture capitalists, civic leaders, and industry executives gathered at Clean Energy Trust’s (CET) 6th annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge today, where 14 Midwest cleantech startups competed for a combined $1 million in early stage investment funding.
The Clean Energy Trust Challenge, a nationally-acclaimed accelerator program and pitch competition, has served as a launch pad for cleantech startups in the Midwest through direct investment, commercialization assistance, mentorship and access to Clean Energy Trust’s broad partner network.
NovoMoto—an innovative startup co-founded by two University of Wisconsin–Madison engineering graduate students—won third place and $20,000 in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2016 Cleantech University Prize National Competition on June 23, 2016.