New technologies that could revolutionize the way we live and work were on display at a “Shark Tank” style competition featuring some of the brightest minds in clean technology.
MegaWatt Ventures, sponsored by OUC, United States Department of Energy (DOE), and the University of Central Florida, took place in May at OUC’s Stanton Energy Center (SEC).
The event featured 10 “clean” technology start-ups selected from a pool of applicants from universities across the U.S. Each team pitched ideas to industry experts from the energy, solar, power generation and venture capital fields. Tony Engelmeyer, an OUC Senior Engineer at SEC, served as a judge.
“Being in power production allowed me to provide a practical perspective,” said Engelmeyer. “From the topics presented to the enthusiasm, the entire event was enlightening. At OUC, we’re always looking to the future, exploring renewable, innovative technologies, and based on what I saw, this generation has a lot of ideas and innovation. We’re headed in the right direction.”
With an idea of turning wood waste into organic fertilizer and pesticide to promote organic farming, Madhi Eghbali, founder of VerdiLife and a doctoral student in economics at the University of Iowa, took top honors and $50,000.
Achyut Shrestha, HYPower Solutions and an MBA candidate at North Carolina State University, presented on energy storage solutions featuring an innovative hydrogen electrolysis process, and received second place and $15,000.
Anna Douglas, SkyNano Technologies and a doctoral student in interdisciplinary material science at Vanderbilt University, received third place and $10,000. She detailed a novel low-cost and environmentally beneficial process to produce nanomaterial for energy storage device applications.
The grand prize was sponsored by the DOE. Prizes for the second and third place winners were provided by OUC. The three teams now move on to the national competition at Rice University this month, where each team has a chance to win an additional $50,000.