• [ March 11, 2015 ]
  • 2015 Clean Energy Challenge- Iowa Finalists


Two Iowa startup companies have advanced to the finals of a prestigious energy business plan competition, the Clean Energy Challenge , in Chicago. The Illinois nonprofit corporation, Clean Energy Trust , aims to further the growth of clean energy technologies and businesses throughout the Midwest. In doing this, the Clean Energy Challenge was initiated in 2011 to provide industry-leading mentorship, national exposure, and the chance to compete for investments.

On April 14, 2015, Clean Energy Trust will award a record investment total of $1 million, an amount that doubles last year’s Clean Energy Challenge awards, to Student, Early Stage and Emerging Growth startups. The competition considers energy business plans prepared by these researchers, entrepreneurs, and students. Finalists were selected by a group of investors, mentors, and industry experts specifically recruited for the Challenge. The winners will be determined at the April event by a panel of 20-25 judges.

The 2015 Challenge marks the first time that Iowa has been included in the Midwest competition. Iowa participation was made possible through an agreement between Clean Energy Trust and the Iowa Energy Center. The Energy Center, in turn, partnered with the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Innovation Corporation to promote the event to companies throughout the state. In particular, the three organizations held a statewide webinar in November 2014 featuring Clean Energy Trust’s to explain the opportunity being provided to Iowa by the Challenge.

Of the three Iowa companies that applied to the Clean Energy Challenge, two have advanced to the April 2015 finals, ARTi and Igor . ARTi, a student-led company from Iowa State University , and Igor from Johnston, Iowa, are among 14 finalists from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio.

Clean Energy Trust states that the $1 million investment will be the largest amount of money ever awarded in the Midwest to clean technology companies in a single day. Challenge finalists include: 4 focused on advanced transportation, 3 on energy storage, 2 on smart buildings and devices, 2 on bioenergy, 2 on solar power, and 1 on wind energy.

Student Finalist: Advanced Renewable Technology International (ARTi) | Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa – Biomass

ARTi manufactures activated biochar and carbon membranes using Midwestern agricultural residues such as corn stocks, soybean remnants and grasses, which provide the building blocks for renewable carbon-based filtration media and outperform existing purification technologies. ARTichar reduces costs, improves efficiency, and addresses tough contaminants when used as capacitive deionization carbon-based membranes.

Early Stage Finalist: Igor | Johnston, Iowa – Smart Buildings & Devices

Igor provides a power-over-ethernet lighting, sensor, and data platform that can save 80% in installation costs and 60% in energy costs.

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