CEI News

Ionic Window Wins 2016 Clean Energy Prize at UW Environmental Innovation Challenge

March 31, 2016 — Ionic Window, a team that has developed a proton conducting membrane for redox flow batteries, was the winner of the Clean Energy Prize at the 2015 UW Environmental Innovation Challenge (EIC).  In addition to winning the $5,000 Clean Energy Prize, Ionic Windows also won second place and an additional $10,000 prize. In total, more than $36,000 in prize money was delivered to student innovators at the event on March 31. Read more about the EIC participating teams at the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.

About Ionic Window:

Most renewable energy technologies fail to provide on-demand power and must be paired with energy storage technologies to compete with fossil fuels. The scalable storage capacity of redox flow batteries has positioned this battery technology as a leader in grid scale energy storage. Today, perfluorocarbon membranes are exclusively utilized in commercial redox flow battery technologies. However these organic membranes have potentially environmentally harmful byproducts and can be expensive to produce.

Ionic Window has developed a hybrid organic-inorganic proton conducting membrane using one of the most familiar materials on the planet: glass. Furthermore, a simple production process allows Ionic Window to produce these critical membranes at a significantly reduced cost compared to state-of-the-art fully organic membranes available to flow battery manufacturers today. A significant cost reduction in the cost of manufacturing the membrane, a critical component of redox flow batteries, could accelerate the adoption of renewable energy storage technology by utilities, industry and microgrids.

The Ionic Window team includes (l-r) Greg Newbloom, a serial entrepreneur who earned his Ph.D. from UW in 2014; and Ian Hochstein an MBA candidate at UW, and Anthony Moretti, a senior in Chemical Engineering at UW. The team is advised by UW Associate Professor Lilo Pozzo, a UW professor in Chemical Engineering.

Additional CEI Teams:

In addition to awarding the Clean Energy prize and providing prototype funding for many of the EIC teams,  the Clean Energy Institute also sponsored three additional teams with students and faculty from the institute.


SmartCharger Pro

The SmartCharger Pro offers customers a smarter way to charge their electronic devices; utilizing flexible charging rates powered by electrochemical model control, a longer life per charge and improved battery health can be achieved, to reduce battery waste and save energy. The team members are Chemical Engineering undergraduates Yutian QianSamson Smith, Nannan JiangNiccolo Fortes as well as Yanbo Qi, a second-year graduate student in chemical engineering.  The team mentors include Dan Schwartz, Boeing-Sutter Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Clean Energy Institute; Professor Venkat Subramanian Washington Research Foundation Innovation Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Bjorn Frogner, a former  Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UW CoMotion.

battery infomatics 2

Battery Informatics

Battery Informatics developed a proprietary technology that provides critical information to battery operators and prolonging the useful life of the battery. The company’s mission is to become a leader in providing systems for optimal operation of Lithium-ion batteries for electric grids and commercial buildings. The team won a $1000 “Judges Also Really Liked” prize. Team members include CEI Graduate Fellows Manan Pathak (Chemical Engineering), Mushfiqur Sarker (Electrical Engineering), and Matt Murbach (Chemical Engineering), as well as Uttara Sahaym, a second year MBA candidate at the Foster School of Business at UW (not pictured.) The team mentors include Dan Schwartz, the Director of the Clean Energy Institute and Bjorn Frogner, a former  Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UW CoMotion.



easyXAFS accelerates the discovery cycle in battery, catalysis, nuclear reactor materials, and environmental research and development by providing the first affordable, user-friendly access to advanced x-ray spectroscopies. The benchtop tool provides academic and industrial laboratories a device that simulates methods of x-ray emission spectroscopy that in the past were available only at a limited number of synchrotron facilities. The team includes CEI Graduate Fellows Devon Mortensen, Alex Ditter, Ryan Valenza, all graduate students in UW Physics. The team advisor is  Jerry Seidler, UW Professor of Physics.

ec meeseeks

EC Meeseeks

EC Meeseeks  is building a low-cost alternative to battery testing instrumentation that cost approximately $100. Similar technology typically runs in excess of $5000. Using inexpensive microcontrollers such as Arduino combined with cloud computing,  EC Meeseeks offers cost-effective hardware and software platform that allows electrochemists to perform more experiments in less time. The team includes CEI Graduate Fellow Robert Masse, Dan Shea, and Richard Revia, all graduate students in Materials Science and Engineering as well as Zach Lerman, an MBA candidate and Chaoyi Yuan an undergraduate in electrical engineering.


The Washington Research Foundation has provided a six-year gift of $6.74 million to support nine new faculty hires, six postdoctoral researchers and the creation of a new experimental manufacturing facility on campus that will help move discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. This investment in the CEI is truly transformational.”
– Daniel Schwartz, CEI Director
“Providing clean energy to the inhabitants of our planet is a major challenge to future generations. The University of Washington is to be congratulated for establishing an Institute where faculty and students can work together to tackle the difficult global challenge of energy sustainability.”
– Mildred Dresselhaus, Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, Emerita and Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Energy competition is opening up in a variety of ways, the push for carbon control will continue, and the rate of technology advancement is exponential. All the things I’ve seen at the CEI are just perfect for the way we see things going in energy. You guys are at the cutting edge. We’re counting on you.”
– Ronald Litzinger, President, Edison Energy
Since its founding the Clean Energy Institute has contributed more than $1.1 million toward the education of 66 STEM scholars and recruitment of 12 students through our fellowship programs.