ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Six teams moved on to the semi-final round of judging in the Clean Energy Prize competition, which will be held Feb. 18. The surviving teams are pitching new, clean-energy business ideas that range from a new way to finance energy efficiency upgrades for municipal buildings to a new model for the biomass fuel industry using a non-food plant called pennycress.
The teams that survive the semi-final completion will compete later the same day (Feb. 18) as finalists, vying for the largest shares of a $100,000 prize pool.
The Clean Energy Prize, presented by DTE Energy and the University of Michigan, challenges teams to develop business plans that promise to move a new, clean-energy technology from the laboratory to the market place.
The six teams that will face off in the semi-finals are:
- Green Start Batteries: An eco-friendly and cost effective alternative to new batteries by renewing 7 out of 10 lead acid batteries to original manufacturing standards at one third of the cost of new batteries.
- Smart Energy Loan Fund: Providing an innovative financing model to retrofit municipal buildings for energy efficiency savings.
- CSquared Innovation: A laser-assisted atmospheric plasma deposition technology that offers a high-speed, cost-effective and highly scalable platform approach to the synthesis of nanostructured materials and films for a large area on Li-ion battery electrodes, photovoltaics, industrial coatings, and biomedical materials.
- Grid Link: A cost-effective residential demand response program to utilities by providing an end-to-end solution that includes program development, marketing, and operation.
- Impact Card: A first-of-its-kind funding mechanism that aggregates consumer credit card reward points as project financing for renewable energy development.
- Perennial BioEnergy LLC: Development of a biodiesel industry based on pennycress, non-food winter oilseed which can be integrated with summer cash crops such as corn and soybeans.
A total of 23 teams made up of students from seven Michigan colleges and universities entered the 2010-2011 competition. The schools represented by participants of those 23 teams include The University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Kettering University, Lake Superior State University, Western Michigan University, Lake Michigan College and Lawrence Technological University.
The competition requires that teams focus on business ideas that support renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grid technologies, environmental control technologies, plug-in electric vehicles or energy storage. The teams are competing for a share of a $100,000 prize pool. The prize money rewards the winning teams with resources that can help them further develop their ideas and ultimately start new businesses that can contribute to Michigan's emerging role as a leader in clean energy.
The First Place team will receive $50,000. The other top prizes are $25,000 for second place, $10,000 for third place and $7,000 for fourth place. The teams that advanced from Round 1 received $200 and the teams that have advanced from Round 2 received $500.
The Clean Energy Prize competition was established by DTE Energy and the University of Michigan to encourage entrepreneurship in Michigan and the development of clean-energy technologies. The Masco Corporation Foundation and The Kresge Foundation were Clean Energy Prize founding sponsors and they continue to support the competition. Additional sponsors include UBS Investment Bank, Google, Huron River Ventures and GM Ventures.
The Center for Entrepreneurship and the U-M Ross School of Business' Ross Energy Club are organizing the competition. Also providing support are several other University of Michigan entities, including Business Engagement Center, The Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute, and the Office of Vice President for Research.
"Ultimately there will be just one winner of the Clean Energy Prize," said Knut Simonsen, president, DTE Energy Ventures. "But all of the semifinalist teams display the inventiveness, drive and entrepreneurial spirit that we are hoping to stimulate with the competition. This is exactly the type of mindset and effort needed to revitalize Michigan's economy."
Bhushan Giri, one of the Ross Energy Club student leaders said, "We have seen a great set of new ideas in this year's CEP. A highlight of this year's competition is an increased interest in the financial aspects of clean energy – both on participants' and judges' ends. Appropriate financing options are vital to making clean energy commercially viable and this year we have a few teams with innovative propositions to secure low cost funding for clean energy projects. I look forward to an interesting showdown in the upcoming rounds."
Details of the competition are available on the Clean Energy Prize Web site: www.micleanenergyprize.com.
DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, gas midstream, unconventional gas production and energy trading. Information about DTE Energy is available at www.dteenergy.com.
The Ross Energy Club is a group of talented business students who share an interest in energy. REC promotes career development by providing a forum for education about all aspects of business in the energy sector.
The Center for Entrepreneurship (www.cfe.umich.edu) is a Michigan Engineering venture that empowers students, faculty and staff to pursue entrepreneurial achievements that improve people's lives, drive the economy and help innovators bridge the gap between inventor and the business that is enabled by these breakthroughs
SOURCE DTE Energy