Cleantech UP 2017 Finalists

On February 9th, Clean Energy Trust will showcase eight of the most innovative and promising university-based cleantech companies in the Midwest for a chance to win $50,000.

Clean Energy Trust is proud to announce eight of the most innovative and promising student-led cleantech companies in the Midwest as finalists for the Cleantech University Prize (UP), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Over the next five weeks, these student startups will be matched with expert mentors from CET’s cultivated network and work with CET staff to refine their business models and pitch. The final pitch showcase will be held on February 9th at the Polsky Center for Innovation and will be free and open to the public. The keynote speakers are Will Allen, former NFL player and current cleantech champion, and Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, the Skokie-based waste-gas-to-fuel startup with Series D funding.

The winner of the final event – the Cleantech UP Showcase – will be determined by a panel of expert cleantech industry judges. The winner will receive a $50,000 grant and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers will go on to present at the Clean Energy Trust Challenge event – as well as the DoE National Cleantech UP competition.

Click here for tickets to the February 9th Cleantech UP showcase

Below are the eight finalist teams for the 2017 Cleantech University Prize – Midwest.

Abyss Incorporated


University of Minnesota

Abyss is dedicated to solving the challenges that bring our world to the brink of destruction. Currently, it is addressing the problem of global warming by developing advanced energy storage devices, such as lithium air batteries. Lithium air batteries hold promise to speed the transition to the electric economy and a more sustainable globe. Abyss is proud to be bringing these groundbreaking devices to market.




Millikin University

BluSolar is a cleantech startup that offers research and development services pertaining to the cryogenic treatment of photovoltaics. Working in conjunction with 300 Below, the world leader in commercial cryogenic processing solutions, BluSolar provides tailored solutions for solar manufacturers or distributors wishing to enhance their product via cryogenic treatment.

Minnealloy Magnetics


University of Minnesota

Minnealloy Magnetics, an advanced material company, manufactures soft magnetic materials for the applications of transformers and inductors used in power converters, motors, generators, and sensors. Minnealloy’s proprietary alloy requires no rare-earth or other exotic and expensive raw materials.

Mohyi Labs

Mohyi Labs

Michigan State University

Rotor blades have propelled our aircraft and helicopters for over 100 years. John Mohyi thought it was time for an update. He invented a bladeless drone by replacing blades with closed impeller vanes and by altering the airflow out of a vortex pattern to generate thrust. Advantages of the technology include the potential to exceed the efficiencies of bladed propulsion and the ability to operate both in the air and in sub-aquatic environments. Among other applications, this patent-pending technology has the potential to power drones that are safer, quieter, and therefore well-suited for the growing consumer and delivery drone industries.



Northwestern University

Purpled is an innovative solution which integrates the disinfecting power of a photocatalyst with an energy-efficient LED, thereby enabling the economical reuse of water.


University of Michigan

Renw triggers the immense resource of residential demand response through simplification of the existing value chain that can significantly improve our environment and the way we interact with our energy consumption. Renw’s customers and/or partners can tap into flexible capacity “on call” at the time and location of their preference. Participating households enjoy a free and simple interface based on social networking and gamification to decrease their electricity consumption.

RVS Rubber Solutions

Case Western Reserve University

Currently, 100 million pounds of tire components rejected from production enter landfills each year. This is because the body ply, the largest component, cannot be effectively recycled by current methods. RVS Rubber Solutions has solved this problem using its RVS Tech, which saves these otherwise unrecyclable components and processes out the rubber and steel from within them in a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way. Primarily, RVS’s operations provide rubber products manufacturers with a high-technical-quality base material, thus alleviating their dependence on environmentally-harmful virgin rubber and increasing their production possibilities while reducing emissions to landfills.

Wattcoin Labs


Illinois Institute of Technology / University of Wisconsin-Madison

Wattcoin Labs is the first Platform as a Service (PaaS) that brings together energy and its value as one for the world’s most efficient transactions. Wattcoin applies leading edge blockchain enabled solutions for energy billing, payments, finance, and carbon value exchange.

By Alex Foucault | January 5, 2017