Saint-Gobain Announces 2015 NOVA Innovation Competition Winners
Saint-Gobain recently announced the winners of the NOVA Innovation Competition 2015 at the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in Washington, D.C. This competition, organized by the NOVA External Venturing group, recognizes start-ups offering innovative solutions in the fields of building materials, energy efficiency, clean technology, integrated lighting solutions, construction services, and innovative materials and technologies.
Eight finalists were selected from among 270 applicants from 37 countries and six continents. They fast-pitched their innovations to a jury composed of 12 Saint-Gobain executives in global business management, corporate strategy, marketing, and research and development. At the end of the jury’s deliberations, the results were announced during the Greenbuild Expo by John Crowe, senior vice president of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain. 10x Technology and Ecovative Design were the co-winners of the NOVA Innovation Competition, each receiving a $37,500 cash prize. The prizes were awarded to the winners before a large number of visitors, as well as Roger Platt, president of the U.S. Green Building Council.
The process of evaluating the applications to narrow to the finalists competing at Greenbuild involved an external panel of experts, including Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council, and CEO, Green Business Certification, Inc. In addition to these awards, all participants in the NOVA Innovation Competition will have the opportunity to establish potential partnerships with Saint-Gobain’s businesses as part of co-development, licensing or collaboration agreements.
“Saint-Gobain’s NOVA Innovation Competition is the perfect example of how business is using sustainability as an innovation platform,” said Fedrizzi. “The quality of the submissions was significant, and the breadth and creativity of the ideas that are being pursued by the applicants are astonishing. The competition and the broader Greenbuild environment are great platforms to showcase them and the potential value they hold for the entire world. I congratulate the winners and thank Saint-Gobain for holding the grand finale at Greenbuild, with the USGBC.”
10x Technology has developed a manufacturing platform that transforms basic materials into micro- and nanostructured products. Its roll-to-roll process uses polymers, metals, and ceramics to obtain high value-added products used in the energy, medical, electronics, transportation, defense, and habitat markets for the differentiating properties they get from the surface structure. The Illinois-based start-up, founded in 2004, the start-up is constantly exploring with its customers new potential applications, and proposes numerous micro-structured products including infrared optical lenses, drug delivery devices, microfluidic systems for medical diagnostics, or films which, when applied to windows, help provide more daylight in tertiary buildings such as offices, schools or hospitals.
“We are innovators in the manufacturing field,” said Robert Pricone, CEO. “Winning this award gives us the exposure we need to build 10x Technology into a global organization that will continue to improve the way we live.”
Ecovative Design creates innovative bio-composite materials from agricultural byproducts and mushroom mycelium, a filamentous tissue that acts as an adhesive. Based in New York, Ecovative Design proposes an environmentally friendly process, which doesn’t use petroleum, chemicals, or toxic resins, with an LCA-verified impact, using renewable and cheap raw materials. The Ecovative product range includes foams and rigid products included in the composition of protective packaging, furniture, and insulation. Also composed of chitin, mycelium is naturally water- and fire-resistant and thermally stable. Such properties make Ecovative’s technology a credible alternative to traditional foams and other synthetic materials.
The third place award, and $15,000, went to US Bionics. US Bionics develops robotic exoskeletons for medical and industrial markets. In the industrial market, these exoskeletons, or robotic systems, assist workers while they perform repetitive physical tasks and help reduce the amount of muscle strain experienced by the wearers. By reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, US Bionics’ exoskeletons help businesses make significant savings while improving productivity and the quality of life for operators. The California-based start-up, founded in 2013, proposes low-cost, ergonomic, highly advanced exoskeletons that are able to withstand harsh environments. Simple to use and to put on, these exoskeletons are particularly designed for operators in construction sites, shipbuilding facilities, assembly lines, distribution centers and delivery services.
New to the 2015 edition was a fourth prize, the Saint-Gobain Community Award, presented to the start-up that received the most number of votes during an internal campaign open to Saint-Gobain employees all over the world. This $10,000 prize was also awarded to US Bionics, topping the polls, in addition to the third prize awarded by the jury.
For more information, visit www.saint-gobain.com.