FireBee, a team that has developed a portable thermoelectric generator that turns cook fires into personal power stations for homes, 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, FireBee also won top honors and a $15,000 Grand Prize. In total, more than $37,000 in prize money was delivered to student innovators at the event on April 2.Read more about the EIC participating teams at the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and GeekWire.
Harnessing excess heat given off by cook stoves, FireBee creates enough electricity to charge phones, batteries, and LED lamps by using boiling water to generate electricity reducing the need for carbon-based fuels like kerosene and wood as fuel sources. The technology could be transformative for people living in rural communities in developing nations, as it allows them the ability to charge LED lights and mobile phones. Phones can be a lifeline for rural farmers to access to financial services, track market prices for crops and easily get info about new seeds and fertilizers and weather reports. The FireBee team includes Ryan Ahearn, a junior Mechanical Engineering undergraduate at UW; Aaron Owen, senior Mechanical Engineering undergraduate at UW; and Daniel Parrish a junior Mechanical Engineering undergraduate at UW.
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 Clean Energy Institute.
Extrusion Electronics is developing a conductive 3D printing material, OptimusLine, that allows a 3D printer to print an object with electronic components, enabling everybody from the avid hobbyist to the average consumer to create and replicate simple electronics at home. The team includes Kiran Kanekal a chemical engineering graduate student at U Washington; John Lenz a senior in chemical engineering at the UW; Scott Parkin, a senior who studies chemical engineering at UW; Reilly Proudsworth, a senior in chemical engineering at UW; and Michael Stafford a senior in chemical engineering at UW. The team advisor was Lilo Pozzo, UW Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering and CEI faculty member.
The Flexolar team developed a five-layer polymer-based solar cell that using roll-to-roll slot-die coating. The design allows for fast and inexpensive production of energy producing solar cells that are flexible and durable. The team members are Namchul Cho, a Ph.D. candidate at UW; Adharsh Rajagopal, a first year graduate student; Brian Tran, a senior undergraduate student at UW; and Caitlin Cramer, a first year UW graduate student. The team was advised by Alex Jen, the Boeing- Johnson Chair Professor of Material Science & Engineering at the University of Washington and the Chief Scientist for Technology Integration at the Clean Energy Institute.
Ion Informatics developed a proprietary technology that provides critical information to battery operators and prolonging the useful life of the battery. The end result is a dramatic increase in value that can be extracted from each battery and enabling viable second use battery systems. The team won the UW CoMotion $2500 Honorable Mention Prize. Team members include Charley Daitch, who works in the resource acquisition group at Puget Sound Energy and is currently working towards an MBA at the UW Foster School of Business; Matt Murbach, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the UW and a Clean Energy Institute Graduate Fellow; Uttara Sahaym, a first year MBA candidate at the Foster School of Business at UW; Brendan Erickson, a senior undergraduate Chemical Engineering student at UW; Daniel Gilbert, a senior undergraduate chemical engineering student at UW; and Arianna Whitten, a senior undergraduate in chemical engineering at UW. The team mentors include Dan Schwartz, the Director of the Clean Energy Institute and Bjorn Frogner, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UW CoMotion.