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MIT Clean Energy Prize Semifinalists Compete to Launch Businesses

March 22, 2010
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Twenty-four student teams from some of the nation’s top colleges and universities will compete in this year’s MIT Clean Energy Prize competition, including MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton and Johns Hopkins. Now in its third year, the competition has helped launch several notable U.S. clean-tech companies.

The semifinalists were chosen from over 60 entries representing 35 schools by a panel of state energy officials, leading clean energy experts and venture capitalists. The teams will compete for a $200,000 grand prize to be awarded by NSTAR and the U.S. Department of Energy for the most ground-breaking clean energy business idea.

“This year’s clean energy innovations are impressive and have significant potential to become viable businesses,” said Tom May, NSTAR chairman, president and CEO. “This competition is the type of ‘idea factory’ that MIT is famous for. The teams will help stimulate the nation’s growing clean energy economy and help solve today’s most challenging energy-related environmental and economic challenges.”

The MIT Clean Energy Prize is a national competition that provides mentoring and financial support to student teams that demonstrate a high degree of success in establishing clean energy business ventures in five categories: energy efficiency and infrastructure; renewable resources; clean non-renewable resources; transportation; and deployment (clean energy-related services or processes).

A sampling of this year’s proposed innovations include a low-cost, easy-to-install home energy meter that integrates energy-efficiency strategies with online social networks; an “airborne” wind turbine that is cost-competitive with non-renewable energy sources; solar powered heating and air-conditioning systems; and a process that efficiently produces synthetic diesel fuels from natural gas and carbon dioxide.

The semifinalists will undergo rigorous mentoring by volunteer business, legal and technology experts, and then will submit detailed business plans. On May 3, the teams will showcase their innovations at an NSTAR-sponsored public event at which five finalists will be awarded $15,000 each by a panel of prominent clean energy venture capitalists, policymakers, academics and executives. These finalists will then move on to compete for the $200,000 grand prize, to be announced at an awards ceremony at MIT on May 11.

For more information, visit www.mitcep.org.

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