CET Board Member, Richard Sandor, Awarded the French Legion of Honor

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[July 11, 2013] Dr. Richard Sandor, renowned financial innovator and entrepreneur, was named Chevalier dans l´ordre de la Légion d´Honneur (Knight in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor). The award is the highest decoration granted by the French government, and acknowledges his accomplishments in the field of environmental finance and carbon trading as well as his personal commitment and contribution to the promotion of French-American friendship. This award was conferred upon Dr. Sandor by  decree of the President of France.  A ceremony will be held in October at the University of Chicago.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to accept this award from the French Republic,” Dr. Sandor said. “My interest in France goes back to my early childhood, inspiring what would become a life-long interest in the country and its culture. I had the privilege of later working in France in environmental finance. To be recognized for the impact these innovations had on French-American relations is truly an honor.”

Consul General of France in Chicago Graham Paul said, “We are proud to count Dr. Sandor as a Friend of France and as a new member of the Order of the Legion of Honor.  The Legion of Honor, France’s highest distinction and one of the most prized in the world, recognizes the many achievements of Dr. Sandor, a financial innovator, economist, teacher, art collector and philanthropist, whose lifelong work has greatly contributed to make the world a better place.”

“Richard Sandor has been an important leader in Chicago, a friend to the University of Chicago, and a contributor to the distinctive intellectual tradition that joins the study of law and economics,” said Robert J. Zimmer, President of the University of Chicago. “We are proud to have him teaching at our Law School, proud to have his name on the Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics, and especially happy for this significant recognition of his accomplishments.”

Michael H. Schill, Dean of the University of Chicago Law School and Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law said, “I am so proud that Richard Sandor has been awarded this very prestigious honor.  Richard is an important member of our Law School community and all of my colleagues on the faculty join me in offering him a hearty congratulations.  The fact that Richard was honored by France reflects Richard’s extraordinary achievements that stretch throughout the world.  Richard’s innovations on water and carbon markets places him at the center of global economic innovation today.”

Dr. Sandor is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School where he teaches a course on “The Law and Economics of Natural Resource Markets”.

In bestowing the award upon him, the French government focused on Dr. Sandor’s pioneer work in the design and implementation of innovative and flexible market-based mechanisms to address environmental problems, particularly to mitigate climate and environmental risks and to generate added value from a sustainable use of ecosystems.
Dr. Richard Sandor is chairman and chief executive officer of Environmental Financial Products LLC, which specializes in inventing, designing, and developing new financial markets. EFP was established in 1998 and was the predecessor company and incubator to the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the European Climate Exchange (ECX) and the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE).

Dr. Sandor was honored by the City of Chicago for his contribution to the creation of financial futures and his universal recognition as the “father of financial futures.” In October 2007, he was honored as one of TIME Magazine’s “Heroes of the Environment” for his work as the “Father of Carbon Trading.” In October 2012 he was presented with the World Federation of Exchanges Award for Excellence. He is also the author of “Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation,” The book is in its second printing and will be published in Chinese by People’s Oriental Press this summer. He is also the lead author of  “Environment: A New Asset Class”, to be published in the 2013 by the Research Foundation of the CFA Institute.

Dr. Sandor is also a visiting fellow with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, and a distinguished professor of environmental finance at Guanghua School of Management at Peking University as well as a member of Guanghua’s International Advisory Council. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Milken Institute. Sandor is currently a director of American Electric Power, as well as a board member for Clean Energy Trust. He also serves as an advisory board member for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Center for Financial Stability.

Sandor received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College, and earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota in 1967. In 2004, Dr. Sandor was the recipient of an honorary degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) of Zurich, Switzerland forhis pioneering work in the design and implementation of innovative and flexible market-based mechanisms to address environmental concerns. He is involved in numerous civic and charitable activities. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and he and his wife Ellen are major benefactors of the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

Contact:
Rafael Marques, Environmental Financial Products

(312) 554-3384

rmarques@envifi.com

 

Clean Energy Trust Congratulates NuMat Technologies on Closing $2 Million Seed Round

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2012 Clean Energy Challenge Winner Brings Total Funding to $2.4 Million for Commercializing Disruptive Gas Storage Technology

CHICAGO – June 18, 2013 – The Clean Energy Trust congratulates 2013 Clean Energy Challenge winner, NuMat  Technologies, on closing a $2 million seed round to commercialize its disruptive gas storage and separations technologies.

The GOOSE Society of Texas, a nonprofit angel network, led the round, which included participation from Owl Investment Group. Both investors are primary funders of the Rice Business Plan Competition, at which NuMat won more than $800,000 in 2012.

NuMat’s materials technology enables fundamental performance shifts in the gas storage and separations industries and addresses the “compression obstacle” for gas storage and transportation applications.

NuMat earned top honors at the Clean Energy Trust’s 2012 Clean Energy Challenge, followed by wins at the inaugural U.S. Dept. of Energy National Clean Technology Business Plan Competition and the 2012 Global Venture Lab Investment Competition.

“Investors understand the tremendous potential in NuMat’s technologies and are ready to put their faith and funds in this remarkable company,” said Amy Francetic, Clean Energy Trust CEO. “We are gratified to help NuMat to get their game changing technologies into the marketplace.”

NuMat recently moved into a new research facility at the Illinois Science and Technology Park in Skokie, Ill., and named a Board of Directors, which includes co-founders Ben Hernandez and Omar Farha along with Luka Ercep, former CEO of Simbol Materials, and Robert Winters, DaVinci Capital Partners principal.

About NuMat Technologies

NuMat  Technologies is commercializing nanoporous materials that can increase gas storage capacity by up to 500,000 percent. Founded in 2012, the company is a Northwestern University spin-out founded on groundbreaking research focused on the computation design and synthesis of metal organic frames (MOFs). NuMat’s proprietary computational approach allows it to rapidly design and synthesize novel structures using patent-protected chemical processes.

About the Clean Energy Trust

The Clean Energy Trust was founded by prominent business and civic leaders to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation in the Midwest. The trust is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Small Business Administration and donations from more than 70 investors, corporations, universities, foundations and trade groups. For more information, visit www.cleanenergytrust.org.

2012 Clean Energy Challenge Finalist SiNode Systems Takes $100,000 National Clean Energy Title

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Second Consecutive Clean Energy Challenge Finalist Wins National Competition

Chicago – June 13, 2013 – The Clean Energy Trust congratulates SiNode Systems, which won first place in the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. SiNode Systems, a finalist in Clean Energy Trust’s 2012 Clean Energy Challenge, earned a spot at the national competition after winning the 2013 Rice Business Plan Competition.

“SiNode’s game-changing battery technology will change the way we use cell phones, computers and even electric cars,” said Amy Francetic, CEO of Clean Energy Trust. “We are enormously gratified that we could help advance such a dynamic and creative company since its initial formation through the 2012 Challenge.”

SiNode, a cleantech startup from Northwestern University, is commercializing an anode for lithium-ion batteries that allows the battery to charge more quickly and hold a charge 10 times longer than current technology.  SiNode’s anode could greatly enhance battery life for electric vehicles and smartphones. The startup won first prize and more than $800,000 at the 2013 Rice Business Plan Competition

“These wins validate the Midwest’s clean energy ecosystem and demonstrate its ability to launch viable businesses with homegrown technology from our world-class research institutions,” Francetic said. “We are thrilled to have a Clean Energy Trust company win the national title two years in a row.”

The 2013 National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition welcomed applications from student clean energy businesses from across the country. The Department of Energy awarded six $100,000 grants through the regional clean energy competitions and more than $100,000 in cash and services for the national grand prize winner.

About Clean Energy Trust:

The Clean Energy Trust was founded by prominent business and civic leaders to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation and commercialization in the Midwest. The trust is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Small Business Administration and donations from more than 60 investors, corporations, universities, foundations and trade groups. For more information, visit www.cleanenergytrust.org.

Poll Finds 86.5% of Illinois Voters Believe State Should Bring More Renewable Energy to Illinois

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Nearly 77 Percent Support SB 103, Legislation To Fix The State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

CHICAGO-May 15, 2013– Wide majorities of likely Illinois voters believe it is important that the state maintain its commitment to increase its use of renewable power and support legislation that would achieve this goal by fixing the state’s broken renewable portfolio standard (RPS) law, according to a Zogby survey released today.

The survey, conducted for Clean Energy Trust (CET) and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), found an overwhelming majority (86.5 percent) of likely Illinois voters believe it is very important or somewhat important that Illinois “continue to get an increasing amount of its energy from secure and clean power sources.”  Renewable energy companies have invested more than $5 billion in Illinois power projects in the last few years.

Specifically, the survey found that:

  • 86.5 precent of likely voters also believe it is very or somewhat important to “maintain policies to bring renewable energy to Illinois; 55 percent called it “very important.”
  • 76.7 percent of respondents said they are either strongly or somewhat in favor of legislation (SB 103) to ensure Illinois “continues to increase its use of renewable power.” Only 8.2 percent are opposed.
  • 66.4 percent said they would either be much more or somewhat more likely to vote for their state representative or senator in the next election if they supported this legislation, while only 9 percent reported they were less likely to vote for that person.
  • 79.6 percent prefer that at least one quarter of the state’s electricity “come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar” with more than 61 percent wanting the state’s renewable energy requirement doubled to at least half of the state’s electricity.

“The people of Illinois almost unanimously consider renewable energy critical to the future of our state,” said Amy Francetic, Clean Energy Trust CEO. “We hope this overwhelming voter support will help to inform policymakers’ discussions around SB 103.”

Recent news reports in the Chicago Tribune (“Energy Fund Lacks Power”, May 13, 2013) and Crain’s Chicago Business (“A Mighty Wind Problem”, April 8, 2013) detailed how the state’s renewable portfolio standard law has broken down.  SB 103 seeks to fix this broken law by consolidating all renewable energy purchases under the Illinois Power Agency, which would administer a competitive procurement process to minimize consumer costs while maximizing renewable energy.

“This survey shows that the people of Illinois support energy that is clean, secure and affordable,” said Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy.  “We look forward to working with policy leaders in the state to help provide more advanced energy solutions and services.”

Additional results from the survey include:

  • A majority of respondents prefer that the state use local sources of renewable energy. 57.4 percent report they “prefer that the state purchase renewable energy from Illinois facilities and not from neighboring states.” Only 4.9 percent “prefer renewable energy purchased from out of state.”
  • When asked about the United States’ dependence on foreign oil, the overwhelming majority, 75.1 percent, described it as a crisis or major problem.
  • An overwhelming majority, 87.7 percent, of likely Illinois voters believe advanced energy — defined as all technologies, products, and services that are helping to make energy secure, clean and affordable — is very important or somewhat important to America’s future. Over half of respondents, 58.1 percent, deemed it very important. Renewable energy is a sector of the broader advanced energy industry, which was a $1.1 trillion global market in 2011 according to a 2013 report released by Advanced Energy Economy. The report can be accessed here: aee.net/advancedenergynow
  • A majority, 51.4 percent, believe it is very important for Illinois’ political leaders to “do all they can to further developing, manufacturing and deploying advanced energy.” An additional 33.2 percent find it to be somewhat important.

Zogby Analytics was commissioned by Clean Energy Trust and the Advanced Energy Economy to conduct an online survey of 700 likely Illinois voters. The survey was conducted between May 9, 2013 and May 13, 2013. The margin of error is +/-3.8 percentage points.

About Clean Energy Trust (CET)

The Clean Energy Trust was founded by prominent business and civic leaders to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation in the Midwest. The trust is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Small Business Administration and more than 60 investors, corporations, universities, foundations and trade groups. For more information, visit cleanenergytrust.org.

About Advanced Energy Economy (AEE)

Advanced Energy Economy is a national association of businesses and business leaders who are making the global energy system more secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available commercial technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE members include companies involved in technology development, component and product manufacturing, project and infrastructure development, equipment installation, engineering, finance, advisory services, and other activities that help business and residential consumers meet their energy needs in better ways.

CET’s Amy Francetic Named a Finalist in the ITA CityLIGHTS Awards

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Chicago, IL – April 8, 2013 – The judging panel of industry, government, education, and civic leaders has determined the finalists for the 2013 ITA CityLIGHTS Awards.

ITA is thrilled to see such a high level of accomplishment among the 2013 CityLIGHTS award finalists,” said ITA President Fred Hoch. “The application of technology across vertical industries continues to expand, and we are seeing marked gains in the areas of growth, visibility and talent attraction and retainment. There is much to celebrate and recognize in the thriving local technology industry.”

Public voting runs from April 8 – 22, 2013.  Winners will be determined by composite score (50 percent judges; 50 percent community voting) in all categories except the CityLIGHTS Award, which is determined solely by the ITA Board of Directors.  Finalists for the CityLIGHTS Award will be announced in the coming weeks.  All winners will be announced at the awards gala May 9, 2013.

2013 ITA CityLIGHTS Awards Finalists are:

CEO of the Year Award:
Hank Adams, Sportvision
Jeff Hyman, Retrofit
Jai Shekhawat, Fieldgass
Michael Small, Gogo
Douglas R. Waggoner, Echo Global Logistics

Technologist of the Year Award:
Michael Fineberg, SurePayroll
Justyn Howard, Sprout Social
Gregory B. Olson, Sc.D., QuesTek Innovations
Sanjib Sahoo, OptionMonster Holdings
Bahar Wadia, UICO

Prominent Woman in Tech Award:
Jennifer Busenbark, Product Manager, Braintree
Amy Francetic, Executive Director, Clean Energy Trust
Sonal Mane, Technical Evangelist, Microsoft
Terri Mayes, Vice President Technology and Managed Print Services, OfficeMax
Dominique Raccah, CEO and Publisher, Sourcebooks

Rising Star Award:
Cleversafe
CohesiveFT
Infobright
Narrative Science
OpinionLab

Lighthouse Award:
Centro
Corptax
Fieldglass
kCura
SilkRoad

Trailblazing Award:
BigMachines
Leapfrog Online
MentorMob
Personify
UICO

Outstanding Tech Development Award:
BrightTag
comScore
Coyote Logistics
ktMINE
OptionMonster Holdings

Voting closes April 22, 2013 at 5pm.  Vote today!

Winners will be announced at the 14th ITA CityLIGHTS Awards Gala.   2013 winners join a list of reknown and accomplished companies and individuals, including Smart Signal, MentorMob, Braintree, Dan Lyne, Linda Darragh, and Carole McCluskey, among others.

ITA CityLIGHTS Awards Gala will be held on May 9, 2013 in the Great Hall at Chicago Union Station.  The event is a great opportunity to relax and celebrate some of the many accomplishments of the local tech industry, and is attended by more than 700 executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and technology champions from the breadth and depth of Illinois business.  To sponsor, purchase a table or tickets to the event, simply register online.  The Awards Gala is an opportunity for the industry to connect, socialize, and celebrate the continued success of the technology industry in Illinois and the growing importance of this economic sector.

About the Illinois Technology Association
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is the driving force behind Illinois’ vibrant technology industry. ITA’s extensive lineup of curated member programs and services address three key critical areas: growth, talent, and visibility. By leveraging the connections and expertise of its more than 600 member companies representing a workforce that is 50,000 strong and growing, the ITA provides the ecosystem growing technology companies need to succeed. For more information, visit www.illinoistech.org, follow the ITA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/itabuzz, and view the ITA’s Facebook profile at www.facebook.com/illinoistechnology.

Contact:
Dorothy Radke, Illinois Technology Association
312.924.1044, dradke@illinoistech.org

Building a Sustainable Region

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Chicagoland’s Corporate Leaders Drive Sustainability

A new report, Building a Sustainable Region: Innovative practices from Metro Chicago’s global corporations, details exactly how businesses in the metro Chicago region are helping to make it one of the country’s greenest cites.

Under the auspices of the Green Ribbon Committee, the Chicago Corporate Sustainability Working Group collaborated to produce a report that highlights the region’s unique sustainability leadership. This regional report showcases concrete examples of the inventive ideas generated by Chicagoland’s environmentally-responsible corporations  — including their results. It captures innovative work that is conserving precious natural resources, acting to ensure cleaner air and water, making manufacturing processes more efficient.

Download the report here

LUMINAID LAB AND BEARING ANALYTICS CAPTURE $100,000 GRAND PRIZES AT 2013 CLEAN ENERGY CHALLENGE

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LUMINAID LAB AND BEARING ANALYTICS CAPTURE $100,000 GRAND PRIZES AT 2013 CLEAN ENERGY CHALLENGE

Clean Energy Trust Awards More than $300,000 in Cash Prizes to Clean Energy Startup Businesses

CHICAGO – April 5, 2013 – The Clean Energy Trust named solar-powered inflatable light maker LuminAID Lab the early-stage winner of the  2013 Clean Energy Challenge and Bearing Analytics, of Purdue University, the winner of the Student Challenge. Each company received a $100,000 grand prize sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Inspired by the 2011 earthquake in Japan, LuminAID Lab’s founders designed its lightweight, ship-flat solar-powered light to fulfill the need for light in natural disaster situations. The company has sold more than 30,000 thus far and is working on a next generation version, according to LuminAID co-founder Andrea Sreshta.

Bearing Analytics, of Purdue University, offers a patent-protected temperature and vibration sensing solution to the industrial bearing market. 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 efficiency. Bearing Analytics will go on to compete at the 2013 National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington, D.C. this summer.

Additional prizes were awarded to SmarterShade, SkySpecs, Amplified Wind Solutions and OrniceptSmarterShade, an Indiana-based company that makes an innovative film system to instantly darken windows, received the $50,000 Chicago Lakeside Prize, sponsored by McCaffery Interests.

SkySpecs, a University of Michigan-based firm that uses an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, to monitor wind turbines, bridges and other infrastructure, won the $10,000 Invenergy Renewable Ideas prize.

Nicole Zmij, CEO of Amplified Wind Solutions out of Cleveland State University, was awarded the ComEd and Clean Energy Trust-sponsored Breaking Barriers in Cleantech award for her role as an outstanding female entrepreneur. Amplified Wind Solutions harnesses wind energy to self-power cell towers, particularly in remote locations.

The Clean Energy Challenge Judges spontaneously agreed during deliberations to pool together from their own money a special $10,000 prize for Ornicept, an early-stage competitior from Ann Arbor, Michigan that analyzes endangered bird migration patterns to help wind developers comply with siting regulations.

“The Challenge is designed to uncover the very best in clean energy technology startups and kickstart their development,” said Amy Francetic, Clean Energy Trust executive director. “This year’s teams inspired us beyond expectation. The judging was very competitive. We are grateful for the support of our sponsors, board and judges for their help in creating more prizes for these creative entrepreneurs.”

This year’s competition included businesses from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. Student winners were selected in each state.  The anchor partners for the Student Challenge –Missouri Energy Initiative, NorTech, University Clean Energy Allinace of Ohio, University of Michigan, and the Wisconsin Energy Research Constoritum—provided support and guidance for all Student Challenge finalists.

Six state prizes were previously awarded to Student Challenge competitors in statewide competitions.

State University Company
Illinois University of Chicago Effortless Energy
Indiana Purdue University Bearing Analytics
Michigan University of Michigan SkySpecs
Missouri Washington University in St. Louis Aerosol Control Technologies
Indiana Purdue University Bearing Analytics
Wisconsin University of Wisconsin– Madison Track Gen

Eight early-stage and eight student finalists presented their business plans to a distinguished panel of nationally renowned investors, policy makers and entrepreneurs at the 2013 Clean Energy Challenge, held April 4th in Chicago.

All of the Challenge finalists received coaching, training and business planning assistance from dozens of volunteer mentors coordinated by the Clean Energy Trust, a nonprofit technology accelerator that connects entrepreneurs, researchers and early-stage companies with the expertise and capital to become sustainable. The Clean Energy Challenge is the signature event of the Clean Energy Trust.

The 2013 Clean Energy Challenge sponsors include: United States Department of Energy, Advanced Energy Economy, Ernst & Young, GE, Joyce Foundation, McCaffery Interests, SC Johnson, United Airlines, Wells Fargo, Abbott Laboratories, Ameren, Invenergy, Missouri Energy Initiative, Nortech, Northwestern University, Purdue University, Skadden, University of Illinois, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Missouri, Wanxiang America Corporation, Wisconsin Energy Research Consortium, ARCH Venture Partners, Applied Ventures, BP Alternative Energy, ComEd, Danfoss Group Global, DTE Energy, Dow Venture Capital,  Exelon Corporation, Illinois Ventures, Johnson Controls, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Katten Muchin Rosenman, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Lincoln Renewable Energy, Missouri Technology Corporation, New World Ventures,   Next Energy, Renergy Capital, SidleySteptoe & Johnson, Technology Partners, True North Venture Partners, UK Trade & Investment, Venrock, Walgreens, Agentis Energy, Baird Capital, Case Western Reserve University Great Lakes Energy Institute, Dominion Community Foundation, EDP, Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, Ohio State University Office of Energy & Environment, Seyfarth & ShawShaw Group, Silicon Valley Bank, University of Dayton and University of Missouri.

About Clean Energy Trust:

The Clean Energy Trust was founded by prominent business and civic leaders to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation in the Midwest. The trust is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Small Business Administration and donations from more than 60 investors, corporations, universities, foundations and trade groups. For more information, visit www.cleanenergytrust.org.

About the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Click here for the Funding Opportunity Announcement about DOE’s efforts to promote a new generation of energy entrepreneurs. For EERE’s Commercialization website, click here.

Midwestern startups to share more than $300k in prizes for marketable products

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Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter

The developer of an inflatable solar-powered emergency light for disaster victims and a student-led group that built a temperature and vibration sensing device for industrial bearings shared $200,000 in Energy Department research and development funding as winners of the 2013 Clean Energy Challenge, sponsors of the event announced today.

The top cash awards, announced by the Clean Energy Trust after a whirlwind day of presentations in Chicago, should help smooth the emerging technologies’ pathway from the concept and prototype stages toward finished products that can be scaled up for manufacturing, sale and distribution.

“The challenge is designed to uncover the very best in clean energy technology startups and kickstart their development,” Clean Energy Trust Executive Director Amy Francetic said in a statement announcing the winners. “These prizes will help these entrepreneurs to move their technologies out of the laboratory and into the marketplace, helping the nation to continue to grow its burgeoning clean energy economy.”

LuminAid Lab of Chicago won the top early-stage company prize for a concept inspired by the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which plunged the island country into a prolonged blackout. The lab’s founders, Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork, conceived the inflatable lamp as highly portable yet durable alternative to conventional flashlights and lanterns used by first responders and others in emergency settings.

“When thinking about what we could design to make a difference, we decided to focus on affordable, renewable light because it had the potential to greatly improve the comfort, safety, and survival of disaster victims,” according to a statement from Sreshta and Stork published on the lab’s website.

The two entrepreneurs, who met as graduate students studying architecture and design, shared a common interest in applying solar energy technologies to solve problems at a global scale. The company has sold more than 30,000 lights and is working on a next-generation version, according to Sreshta.

Promoting energy efficiency

Bearing Analytics LLC, a startup launched by four engineering graduate students at Purdue University, offers a patent-protected temperature and vibration sensing solution to the industrial bearing market. The technology allows users to predict bearing failure before it happens, extending the product lifetime and increasing energy efficiency, according to the firm. Such technology could have important implications for both the industrial bearing and wind turbine bearing markets.

“Taking early corrective action could improve safety conditions for workers, reduce operational downtime and increase bearing life,” said Anurag Garg, a co-founder of the firm, in a recent article published by the Purdue Research Foundation. “These lead to more efficient use of resources, improved operational efficiency and a cost savings of millions of dollars a year for industry.”

The Purdue team will advance to compete for an additional $100,000 at the 2013 National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington, D.C., later this year.

Other winners of the Chicago competition include SmarterShade of South Bend, Ind., which received the $50,000 Chicago Lakeside Prize for an automated window-darkening technology that has been shown to reduce solar heat gain by 40 percent, and SkySpecs, a University of Michigan student-run firm that is developing a suite of unmanned aerial vehicles used to inspect and collect data from high structures like wind turbines. The Michigan team received the $10,000 Invenergy renewables prize.

Judges also awarded a special $10,000 prize to Ornicept of Ann Arbor, Mich., which developed a remote camera-based monitoring system that can identify bird species and provide data on bird flight in sensitive areas like wind farms, military installations and airfields.

The winners were chosen from among 17 finalists — including eight private firms and nine university-based startups — that hail from eight Midwestern states. The concepts were judged by a panel of venture capitalists, energy executives and technology experts.

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About ClimateWire

ClimateWire is written and produced by the staff of E&E Publishing, LLC. It is designed to provide comprehensive, daily coverage of all aspects of climate change issues. From international agreements on carbon emissions to alternative energy technologies to state and federal GHG programs, ClimateWire plugs readers into the information they need to stay abreast of this sprawling, complex issue.

LuminAID Lab and Bearing Analytics Capture $100,000 Grand Prizes at 2013 Clean Energy Challenge

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Clean Energy Trust Awards More than $350,000 in Cash Prizes to Clean Energy Startup Businesses

CHICAGO – April 5, 2013 – The Clean Energy Trust named solar-powered inflatable light maker LuminAID Lab the early-stage winner of the  2013 Clean Energy Challenge and Bearing Analytics, of Purdue University, the winner of the Student Challenge. Each company received a $100,000 grand prize sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Inspired by the 2011 earthquake in Japan, LuminAID Lab’s founders designed its lightweight, ship-flat solar-powered light to fulfill the need for light in natural disaster situations. The company has sold more than 30,000 thus far and is working on a next generation version, according to LuminAID co-founder Andrea Sreshta.

Bearing Analytics, of Purdue University, offers a patent-protected temperature and vibration sensing solution to the industrial bearing market. 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 efficiency. Bearing Analytics will go on to compete at the 2013 National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington, D.C. this summer.

Additional prizes were awarded to SmarterShade, SkySpecs, Amplified Wind Solutions and OrniceptSmarterShade, an Indiana-based company that makes an innovative film system to instantly darken windows, received the $50,000 Chicago Lakeside Prize, sponsored by McCaffery Interests.

SkySpecs, a University of Michigan-based firm that uses an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, to monitor wind turbines, bridges and other infrastructure, won the $10,000 Invenergy Renewable Ideas prize.

Nicole Zmij, CEO of Amplified Wind Solutions out of Cleveland State University, was awarded the ComEd and Clean Energy Trust-sponsored Breaking Barriers in Cleantech award for her role as an outstanding female entrepreneur. Amplified Wind Solutions harnesses wind energy to self-power cell towers, particularly in remote locations.

The Clean Energy Challenge Judges spontaneously agreed during deliberations to pool together from their own money a special $10,000 prize for Ornicept, an early-stage competitior from Ann Arbor, Michigan that analyzes endangered bird migration patterns to help wind developers comply with siting regulations.

“The Challenge is designed to uncover the very best in clean energy technology startups and kickstart their development,” said Amy Francetic, Clean Energy Trust executive director. “This year’s teams inspired us beyond expectation. The judging was very competitive. We are grateful for the support of our sponsors, board and judges for their help in creating more prizes for these creative entrepreneurs.”

This year’s competition included businesses from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. Student winners were selected in each state.  The anchor partners for the Student Challenge –Missouri Energy Initiative, NorTech, University Clean Energy Allinace of Ohio, University of Michigan, and the Wisconsin Energy Research Consortium—provided support and guidance for all Student Challenge finalists.

Six state prizes were previously awarded to Student Challenge competitors in statewide competitions.

State University Company
Illinois University of Chicago Effortless Energy
Indiana Purdue University Bearing Analytics
Michigan University of Michigan SkySpecs
Missouri Washington University in St. Louis Aerosol Control Technologies
Indiana Purdue University Bearing Analytics
Wisconsin University of Wisconsin– Madison Track Gen

Eight early-stage and eight student finalists presented their business plans to a distinguished panel of nationally renowned investors, policy makers and entrepreneurs at the 2013 Clean Energy Challenge, held April 4th in Chicago.

All of the Challenge finalists received coaching, training and business planning assistance from dozens of volunteer mentors coordinated by the Clean Energy Trust, a nonprofit technology accelerator that connects entrepreneurs, researchers and early-stage companies with the expertise and capital to become sustainable. The Clean Energy Challenge is the signature event of the Clean Energy Trust.

The 2013 Clean Energy Challenge sponsors include: United States Department of Energy, Advanced Energy Economy, Ernst & Young, GE, Joyce Foundation, McCaffery Interests, SC Johnson, United Airlines, Wells Fargo, Abbott Laboratories, Ameren, Invenergy, Missouri Energy Initiative, Nortech, Northwestern University, Purdue University, Skadden, University of Illinois, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Missouri, Wanxiang America Corporation, Wisconsin Energy Research Consortium, ARCH Venture Partners, Applied Ventures, BP Alternative Energy, ComEd, Danfoss Group Global, DTE Energy, Dow Venture Capital,  Exelon Corporation, Illinois Ventures, Johnson Controls, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Katten Muchin Rosenman, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Lincoln Renewable Energy, Missouri Technology Corporation, New World Ventures,   Next Energy, Renergy Capital, SidleySteptoe & Johnson, Technology Partners, True North Venture Partners, UK Trade & Investment, Venrock, Walgreens, Agentis Energy, Baird Capital, Case Western Reserve University Great Lakes Energy Institute, Dominion Community Foundation, EDP, Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, Ohio State University Office of Energy & Environment,  Seyfarth & ShawShaw Group, Silicon Valley Bank, University of Dayton and University of Missouri.

About Clean Energy Trust:

The Clean Energy Trust was founded by prominent business and civic leaders to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation in the Midwest. The trust is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Small Business Administration and donations from more than 60 investors, corporations, universities, foundations and trade groups. For more information, visit www.cleanenergytrust.org.

About the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Click here for the Funding Opportunity Announcement about DOE’s efforts to promote a new generation of energy entrepreneurs. For EERE’s Commercialization website, click here.

And the winners in clean tech are…

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By Judith Nemes

Two Midwest startups in the clean tech sector walked away with $100,000 apiece in a one-day, fast-pitch event before a live audience and a panel of judges. Four others were awarded cash prices too.

LuminAID, a Chicago-based startup that developed a low-cost, solar-powered inflatable lighting device, won the top prize in the early-stage category. The company’s founders created a product that targets two dramatically different markets: disaster relief situations and camping gear consumers.

Bearing Analytics was the grand prize winner in the student category. The team from Purdue University developed an early warning system for companies with industrial bearings that alerts them of potential bearing failures before they happen. The patented program is intended to save energy and extend the lifetime of the product being monitored.

Seventeen finalists in two different stages of company development gathered yesterday in the South Loop to make their short pitches to a panel of judges for significant funding opportunities in four categories. The third annual Clean Energy Challenge was run by the Clean Energy Trust, a Chicago-based public-private partnership that supports clean energy startups in the Midwest through mentoring and other business development efforts. Judges included venture capital investors, researchers, entrepreneurs and other investors. The two top cash prizes were funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

A $50,000 cash prize was given to SmarterShade, an early-stage company that developed an automated shading tool for windows that can efficiently go from clear to dark to save energy and can be retrofitted to existing windows. The so-called Lakeside Prize was sponsored by McCaffery Interests, which is developing a 600-acre mixed-use community on the site of the former South Works steel mill in Chicago’s South Shore.

Commonwealth Edison Co. and CET awarded its $20,000 Outstanding Woman Cleantech Entrepreneur prize to Niki Zmij, chief executive of Amplified Wind Solutions, a student-led company from Cleveland State University. The team developed a new wind technology that can amplify wind speed and produce up to six times more electricity than a conventional turbine.

The $10,000 renewable energy prize was awarded to SkySpecs LLC, a student-led group from the University of Michigan that came up with a lightweight, modular system of unmanned aerial vehicles intended to improve site inspections and infrastructure efficiencies. The award is sponsored by Invenergy LLC, a Chicago-based wind energy firm headed by Michael Polsky, one of Clean Energy Trust’s founding board members.

A last-minute prize of $10,000 went to a company run by two bird enthusiasts. The judges were so impressed with the passion, novelty and pitch of the presentation from the leaders of Ornicept that they dug into their own personal pockets to pool their cash for the impromptu award, announced Amy Francetic, CET’s executive director. Ornicept, of Ann Arbor, Mich., created a software product that digitally captures data on birds in the field for wind energy companies and others.

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