The 2014 Clean Energy Challenge business plan competition will award up to $500,000 in prizes to teams of entrepreneurs, researchers and students in the Midwest with innovative ideas that will impact clean energy. Prizes are awarded in two categories: Early Stage and Student.

Early Stage

75F, Mankato, MN

Smaller commercial buildings often use a single thermostat for temperature control, resulting in uneven heating and cooling that is uncomfortable for the building occupants and unnecessarily expensive for the building owners. The 75F system makes it possible to control the temperature in each room or zone of a building using smart dampers and wireless controls, reducing energy costs by up to 40%.

Beacon Power Services, Chicago, IL

Beacon provides an energy management system that helps commercial facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa manage their energy usage, reduce reliance on diesel generators and integrate solar systems. The result is lower energy costs for the business and less pollution for all of us.

EP Purification, Champaign, IL

EP Purification has created new technology to generate ozone for water purification. Ozone reduces the need for hot water and chemicals in commercial laundry, which results in energy and cost savings. EP Purification’s microplasma technology is a smaller, more efficient and cost effective way to generate ozone.

EQUARES Energy Co, St. Louis, MO

Equares has designed a small-scale power plant that would take in waste from agricultural operations, hospitals and other facilities and turn it into pollution-free electricity. The process is based on technology used to process radioactive medical waste.

Go Electric Inc., Anderson, IN

Go Electric Inc. is developing a patented micro grid technology that seamlessly integrates grid power with renewable energy, battery storage and generators. The company is currently under contract with the Department of Defense to deliver a microgrid at Camp Smith, in Hawaii. Go Electric Inc. products will increase security by reducing reliance on the electric grid while reducing power consumption and increasing the integration of renewable energy., Detroit MI

A service that makes it possible for contractors to order engineering services for solar installations from a network of freelance engineers, making it faster and more affordable to get a solar project completed.

Inventev, Detroit, MI

Inventev has developed a plug-in hybrid vehicle technology that can turn a company’s fleet of work trucks into mobile power stations. Inventev’s patent pending transmission provides electricity to drive the vehicle, power tasks at the job site and provide backup generation to the electric grid.

Meter Hero, Milwaukee, WI

Meter Hero is platform that lets users combine all of their utility meter readings into a single platform to better understand and manage their water, electricity and gas usage. The platform takes advantage of smart phone technology to combine building energy data into a single platform.

NetEnergy, Chicago, IL

NetEnergy has developed technology to store heat and cold in order to avoid spikes in electricity demand and pricing.  NetEnergy designs and builds thermal energy storage units that allow customers to store heat and cold when it is most cost-effective and deploy it when needed.

Single Switch, Indianapolis, IN

Single Switch Systems has designed a lighter, more efficient and less expensive power inverter that increases power output and lower costs for clean energy technologies. Inverters are a key component in solar systems, electric vehicles and other industries.

Student Companies

Black Pine Engineering, Michigan State University

Black Pine Engineering has designed a mechanical pump that removes harmful gases from geothermal power plants without reducing the amount of steam available for generation. The technology could enable a geothermal plant to generate an additional $4 million worth of clean energy over its lifetime.

Effuelent, University of Cincinnati

Effuelent is a waste-to-energy company that extracts energy-containing materials from the wastewater stream and converts them into a feedstock that can be used to produce biodiesel. Effuelent uses patent-pending technology to extract energy-rich Fats, Oils and Greases (FOGs) from wastewater in order to create a fungible biodiesel feedstock. In doing so,Effuelent promotes biodiesel as a sustainable energy source and diverts useful material from landfill.

Imagine Labs, University of Missouri-Colombia

Imagine Labs is developing a non-intrusive, patent-pending thermoelectric generator that extracts heat from generation equipment to generate electricity. The technology could increase electricity production at power plants while reducing fuel consumption.
(Will not present on April 3rd)

Meter Genius, Northwestern University

MeterGenius is a free consumer website that gives homeowners with smart meters tools and incentives to manage their electric use. Users can track electricity consumption at a granular level, set goals, measure their progress compare themselves to neighbors and earn points that can be redeemed for bill credits.

myPower, Northwestern University

myPower captures runners’ kinetic energy and uses it to charge smartphones or other mobile devices. In essence, myPower is a rechargeable battery that you never have to worry about recharging–as long as you keep running.

Spero Energy, Purdue University

Spero Energy has developed a lower-cost biorefinery process that produces cellulosic ethanol form waste wood while eliminating the need for water and producing valuable chemicals from unused lignin. Spero Energy is targeting existing biorefineries, paper and chemical companies to utilize its technology.

Sprav Water, Case Western University

Sprav is a smart water meter for your shower that lets users track their energy and water usage via smartphone. The meter attaches behind a showerhead in seconds and includes an indicator light that changes as your shower progresses. Sprav also includes a web app that allows you to monitor usage and set goals to lower your utility bills.