student competition

Turintogreen Student Design Competition

So, I suppose we should have made a test run at getting our schedules in order before being all State of the Blog on readers, but we're ambitious-- and pretty stinkin' excited to get into the blog groove!  We probably should have waited until after we submitted seven energy action plans for review and submitted our final project reports and billing for our Energy Advisers to Valley Cities (Tom Jordan, if you're reading this--it is coming!).  C'est la vie! 

Here's what happened: I bungled the auto-scheduling for Money Monday, got Tuesday's post on green lawn care up just before midnight on Tuesday (it counts), missed Wellness Wednesday, and now Believe it or Not is going to come out on Friday.  Humph.  Progress is slow, but I'm in it for the long haul. I hope you are too.  

Thank goodness Dee was on top of the situation and had her Friday post in early so we can at least claim 4 out of five posts! 

As I’m going through my email looking for inspiration for a blog post, I came across information about a new student competition. What excited me about this particular competition is that it challenges young people to think outside the box. It is a multidiscipline competition that seeks to “transform or even replace the current models of urban management, life and development”. Students from disciplines like Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Engineering, Horticulture, and Urban Planning are invited to addresses issues of overcrowding, food supply, renewable resources, climate and social changes; while coping with global economic cycles. This could be a game changer for the vast majority of the earth’s population. 

Many Americans have no idea how it feels to live in a developing country where the infrastructure and housing needs are astronomical. Where drinkable tap water and a functional waste management system are only stories they have heard of but never seen. While doing my Graduate research I was able to spend a considerable amount of time in Nepal. Kathmandu Valley is one of the most beautiful places on earth; however, it has seen such an invasive amount of population growth that the area cannot sustain its population of 2.51 million.  With a population increase of 60.93% over the past 10 years bringing the density to 4408/sq km (one km is equivalent to 0.621371190 miles), that would make it roughly 6083/sq mile, can you imagine? 

Now you can understand why I’m so up in arms excited about this competition.

According to the competition website the deadline for submissions is December 21, 2012. That doesn’t give a whole lot of time, so students get busy! Oh, and the prize is 150 days in Italy with a daily stipend, the ability to work with some of the most influential architects, planners, engineers and designers on the planet; all working to bring your design into fruition, and as an added bonus, your ideas also get published. That would be enough to motivate me, talk about instant recognition on a global scale.

Okay, so enough of me preaching to the choir, if you’re a student or a prior student that graduated since 01/01/11 or know a student within these disciplines, please forward the link and help them change lives for so many people while jump-starting their careers. 


University teams square off for national clean energy finals

Northwestern University's team also won Rice competition.
The best and brightest minds at U.S. colleges squared off recently, gathering their collective intelligence, imagination and ideas in a competition to come up with the most formidable and commercially promising clean energy innovations.

The preliminary results have just been unveiled. Regional winners of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition have been named. Northwestern University, University of Utah, University of Central Florida, MIT, Stanford University and Columbia University will go on to compete in the first national competition in Washington, D.C. in June.

"The winning teams have developed effective strategies for bringing innovative technologies into the market that will help keep America competitive in the global race for clean energy technologies," Energy Secretary Steven Chu says in a statement.

Each regional winner receives $100,000 in prizes.

Officials explain the competition this way: "Each team of students identified a promising clean energy technology from a university or national lab and created a business plan around the technology that detailed how they could help bring it to market. This includes financing, product design, scaling up production and marketing."

Final projects include:

Northwestern University — NuMat Technologies: NuMat Technologies invented a nanomaterial that stores gases at lower pressure, reducing infrastructure costs and increasing design flexibility. One potential application for this innovation is in designing tanks to store natural gas more efficiently in motor vehicles.

In a preliminary showdown for the DOE competition, NuMat won the 2012 Rice Business Plan Competition in April, taking home $874,300 of the more than $1.55 million in cash and prizes presented at the awards banquet. Rice officials say NuMat Technologies is in discussions with some major chemical and technology and transportation companies to commercialize its nanomaterials.

University of Utah — Navillum Nanotechnologies: Navillum Nanotechnologies proposed expanding the commercial use of quantum dots. Quantum dots can emit a wider range of light using less energy than existing materials and could be used in future generations of solar panels, televisions, cell phones and related products.

University of Central Florida — Medsi Systems: Mesdi Systems developed precise manufacturing modules that increase production capacities and reduce costs of lithium ion batteries used in vehicles, consumer electronics, and medical devices.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology — SolidEnergy: SolidEnergy's battery technology innovation, which improves the safety and energy density of rechargeable lithium batteries, is intended to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles.

Stanford University — Stanford Nitrogen Group: Stanford Nitrogen Group developed a biological wastewater treatment process that removes and recovers energy from waste nitrogen and recovers phosphorus.

Columbia University — Radiator Labs: Radiator Labs developed a low-cost, easily installed radiator retrofit that converts radiator heating systems into a highly controllable zoned system to significantly reduce the energy waste while increasing the heat distribution and consistency of building interiors.

The regional winners will pitch their business plans before a panel of expert judges. The pitching, which is open to the public, is scheduled for Wednesday, June 13th in Washington, D.C. Organizations providing assistance include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, law firm Mintz Levin, the Clean Energy Alliance, Battelle Ventures and the Cleantech Open.

Student competition seeks best clean energy businesses

Wanted: clean energy business ideas.

The U.S. Department of Energy wants the nation's universities to cough up its best and brightest green entrepreneurs. The agency has launched an initiative meant to create up to six regional "student-focused" business creation competitions.

The National University Clean Energy Business Challenge has been capitalized with $2 million to cover costs. Regional winners will compete for a grand prize in Washington, D.C. in early summer 2012.

"This investment will train a new generation of scientific and technical leaders," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a statement. He said the effort supports the Obama Administration's continued effort to ensure that America has the workforce "to secure our energy future, create jobs here at home and win the future."

The business ideas sought have to do with energy efficiency and renewable energy. Officials say that student teams in the competitions will work with experienced mentors from the energy industry along with university and national lab-based researchers. The intent is to develop creative business plans for "transforming ground-breaking energy technologies into high impact market solutions."

For more information, go to and plug in the funding opportunity reference number DE-FOA-0000570. This part is for institutions interested in staging the competitions. Applications are due on Aug. 22, 2011. Selections are expected to be made before the end of September 2011.

We'll keep you posted as we learn more specifics.