FloDesign Wins 200K Energy Prize

5/14/08Follow @bbuderi

Updated—There was a lot of energy in the room. And why not? It was the finals of the MIT Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Prize competition—and five finalists were vying for the $200,000 cash grand prize.

Some 150 folks attended the event last night at Le Meridien Hotel in Cambridge, MA. And when it was over, the winner was FloDesign Wind Turbine Corp., of Wilbraham, MA, which has a plan, as you might have guessed, for a wind turbine that will significantly eclipse the performance of existing turbines. FloDesign also took home the first prize (50K in cash and a like amount in in-kind services) at Monday’s Ignite Clean Energy Competition, a separate cleantech contest run almost concurrently with the 200K—and earlier this spring was awarded a $500,000 convertible loan from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to help launch the company.

Two other teams claimed $20,000 prizes last night: Covalent Solar won the energy track of the affiliated MIT 100K Entrepreneurship Competition (this award is only open to MIT teams), which announces its grand winner tonight, while Catalyzed Combustion Technologies received the Community Award (this doesn’t refer to community service—it’s MIT lingo for “outside MIT,” in this case meaning the best non-MIT team that didn’t win the grand prize). Finally, NanoPur won the audience favorite award as measured by on-the-spot cell phone voting. The prize: a $200 gift certificate to Legal Seafood and a fake $1 million bill.

Here are capsule descriptions of Wind Turbine and the other finalists, excerpted from the 200K website:

FloDesign Wind Turbine Corp: “Today’s wind turbines have nearly reached their maximum possible efficiency and are limited to sites with a narrow profile of wind patterns. The patented FloDesign FD700 shrouded turbine will outperform existing turbines by a factor of three or more in a much wider range of wind resources…FloDesign will design, manufacture, and sell the FD700 to wind farm developers, industrial operators and utilities. With FloDesign, there is change in the wind.”

Catalyzed Combustion Technologies: “CCT technology speeds up the rate of combustion in diesel engines to such an extent that an efficiency gain of 20% is achieved. The catalyzed combustion is so complete that unburned hydrocarbons and particulate matter are reduced by over 90%. The product is a high voltage, high frequency air activation kit aimed at existing engines. The ability to remove 20 tons of CO2 from each vehicle represents the most significant clean energy technology to date.”

Covalent Solar: “Covalent is seeking to develop, commercialize, and manufacture Organic Solar Concentrators, MIT-invented tracker-less thin film concentrator photovoltaic modules that improve power conversion efficiency by 30% over the industry average…By enabling clean renewable electricity at affordable prices, Covalent Solar provides an economic alternative to conventional peak electricity and the related fossil fuel dependence, greenhouse gas emissions and peak time grid constraints.”

NanoPur: “To address the need for lower-cost, energy efficient desalination, NanoPur is developing a vertically-aligned, carbon nanotube (CNT) membrane which exhibits exceptional water permeability and already demonstrates salt rejection properties suitable for treatment of brackish water. Lab demonstrations indicate a conservative estimate of 30% energy savings can be achieved…we will optimize the salt rejection and anti-fouling characteristics by tuning the chemical functionalization of the CNT surfaces.”

Sequesco: “Reliance on fossil fuels leads to a number of problems including rising greenhouse gas levels and rapidly increasing energy prices. Biofuels can address these problems, however current photosynthesis-based approaches require either expensive infrastructure or arable lands, which can lead to disruption of food markets and the environment. Sequesco is developing a technology that converts CO2 into biofuels without relying upon photosynthesis. Sequesco’s technology is a unique solution to the problems of both greenhouse gases and fossil fuels that can serve as a bridge between inorganic and biological renewable energy technologies.”

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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