Winners of $125,000 Ignite Clean Energy Competition Announced

The Finals of the 2006 Ignite Clean Energy Business Presentation Competition have been awarded to energy entrepreneurs in solar, hydro-power and waste processing by a panel of industry leaders and venture capitalist judges who were convinced by the winners that their businesses can make clean energy that is competitive with conventional energy.

Started in 2005 by the Energy Special Interest Group (ESIG) of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, the Ignite Clean Energy Competition provides training, mentoring, coaching, $125,000 in prizes and services to clean-energy entrepreneurs, with one goal — to build a thriving clean-energy industry in Massachusetts. The winning team, Stellaris, solves the high cost of solar energy systems by decreasing the solar module size by 40% while increasing the efficiency of its energy-generation by more than 20%. The Stellaris PowerTile captures and concentrates indirect light via a translucent panel that can be used in conventional windows, patio tiles, and skylights, combining architectural appeal with energy production. Stellaris, which expects to build a company in Lowell, Massachusetts, won $15,000 cash, plus $25,000 in office/incubator space, and $7,500 in legal services. The award was presented by Warren Leon, Director of the Massachusetts Technology Center’s Renewable Energy Trust, Platinum Sponsor of the Competition. Two 2nd place teams each took home $5,000 cash awards, $25,000 in office/incubator space, and $5,000 in legal services: Solasta (The Eagle Axis), a Boston College faculty team developing ultra high efficiency solar cells using nanoscale elements. And Feed Resource Recovery won the other 2nd place (student) prize for their company that uses food and other organic wastes to produce biomethane and a highly effective organic fertilizer. The two 3rd place winners won $2,500 cash awards, plus $12,500 in office/incubator space: NatEl won 3rd place (professional), to convert underutilized low-head dams for hydropower generation with its Linear HydroEngine technology, making existing small dams cost-effective power sources. And Synergetic Power Systems, an MIT-student team, took home 3rd prize (student) for its parabolic concentrating solar collector systems business. The Ignite Clean Energy competition is designed to help new business leaders create a compelling story for raising funds from government, angel, and venture capital investors; teach entrepreneurs superior business plan presentation skills; and encourage networking among entrepreneurial participants, investors and industry leaders. The MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, a volunteer, nonprofit organization based at MIT, promotes and strengthens the process of starting and growing innovative and technology-oriented companies.

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