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UCEAO to host 2013 Ohio Clean Energy Challenge semifinals in January

Austin Stahl January 14, 2013

UCEAO Energy Challenge


The University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio (UCEAO) and NorTech are hosting the 2013 Ohio Clean Energy Challenge, providing young entrepreneurs a venue to pitch their ideas and compete for funding.

The winning Ohio team will receive a $10,000 prize and has a chance to compete for the $100,000 regional prize in Chicago in the spring. The regional winner then moves on to the national competition in Washington, D.C. to vie for the $100,000 grand prize.

The 12 selected semifinalists will take part in the Live Pitch Event on Tuesday, January 29, presenting in front of an expert panel and live audience, including attendees from academia, government, the private sector and the venture capital community.

UCEAO Director Jane Harf said the unique business plan competition, the only of its kind to focus solely on clean energy, is a win-win for the state.

“The Ohio Clean Energy Challenge is designed to reward entrepreneurship and the development of new clean energy solutions,” Harf said. “By doing so, it provides students with an opportunity for recognition and support, with the hope that they will stay in Ohio to start and grow their businesses.”

The semifinalists are currently participating in the Ohio Mentorship Program, which matches them with experienced technology experts to assist them in further developing their application and business pitch. Semifinalists include four teams from Case Western Reserve University, two teams from The Ohio State University and University of Cincinnati, and a team each from the University of Toledo, Cleveland State University, Wright State University, and Malone University.

The student pitches range from more efficient wind turbines to methane converters to creating biodiesel from nutrients in wastewater. The winner will be announced at the awards reception on the evening of the competition.

Past winners include Design Flux Technologies, a team of electrical engineering students from the University of Akron, which came up with an innovative battery solution for energy storage. It is now moving forward with its business strategy, planning to enter the market in 2014.

Harf said young innovators like these are important for economic success in Ohio.

“Bright, innovative young entrepreneurs are critical to sustained economic development in Ohio, and their success will encourage others at our colleges and universities to follow a similar path,” she said.

The competition was established by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in support of the DOE’s goals to establish broader innovation and commercialization efforts, and to build a nationwide energy entrepreneurship ecosystem.


To register for the event, please visit: http://www.uceao.org/challenge/register.