MIT Sloan School Student One of Three Finalists in “Crazy Green Idea” Contest to Create Energy X Prize

Updated (see below): A student group at MIT’s Sloan School of Management has been named one of three national finalists in a contest seeking YouTube video proposals for the creation of a new X Prize in Energy and the Environment, the X Prize Foundation announced today.

Jonathan Dreher’s 2-minute proposal, “Energy X PRIZE: Reduce Home Energy Usage,” notes that renewable energy technologies could have a big effect on our energy future by increasing the supply of energy. However, he notes, “This approach is already getting plenty of attention and may not benefit from a prize for additional incentives. The other, often forgotten way, is to reduce our demand for energy.” And, as Dreher notes, “Unlike a technology-based X Prize, every American can participate.” He claims that a $10 million prize focused on energy conservation could have a $1 billion impact.

(Update, Nov. 17: I finally reached Dreher, who noted first off that he worked with two fellow students, Jeremy Stewart and Michael Norelli, on the proposal. All three are in a dual-degree program that will garner them a Sloan MBA and a master of science in engineering systems from MIT. Neither Steward nor Norelli was mentioned in the X Prize release.)

The X Prize Foundation, of course, is famous for its huge prizes that address key technology and innovation challenges. In 2004, a Burt Rutan-led team financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen won the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for suborbital spaceflight. Since then, the foundation has created the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, and the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE. The foundation and its partner, BT Global Services, are now in the process of developing prizes in Space and Ocean Exploration, Life Sciences, Education and Global Development, and, of course, Energy & Environment.

Which is what the Crazy Green Idea Contest is all about. The contestant whose video garners the most votes before the end of this month stands to take home the $25,000 top prize. And, according to today’s announcement, their Crazy Green Idea will be “explored as the next X PRIZE in Energy and the Environment.”

In addition to Dreher’s proposal, the other two finalists (out of 133 submissions—does that sound low to anyone?) were:

—Alan Silva, from Roy, UT. His idea, The Energy Independence X PRIZE, is described as: “A prize to develop energy-independent homes that exist completely off the grid.”

—Kyle Good, of Irvine, CA: His concept, The Capacitor Challenge, centers on development of “a new storage medium, an ‘ultra-capacitor’.”

We’ve embedded all three proposals below. You can find all the finalists and vote for your choice, here.

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

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