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2014 National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition

Now in its third year, the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition is helping energy entrepreneurs get the funding and experience they need to expand operations and advance their technology.

The competition is designed to inspire teams of university students from across the country to create new businesses to commercialize promising energy technologies developed at U.S. universities and the Energy Department's National Laboratories. The competition has helped build regional networks of student-focused business creation contests across the country, and was launched in 2011 as part of President Obama's Startup America Initiative. 

After pitching their business plans to panels of judges at the regional semifinals and finals, the six regional winners featured below have advanced to the national competition for a chance to compete in the popular vote and a grand prize determined by an expert panel of judges.

Vote for your favorite competitor to increase their chances of winning the People's Choice Award. 


Unified Solar
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Unified Solar is an MIT startup that is commercializing an integrated circuit solution that eliminates most of the adverse effects caused by partial shading in photovoltaic power systems. With its patent-pending design, Unified Solar's solution is smaller, cheaper and more powerful than any competing power optimizer in the market.

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Black Pine Engineering
Michigan State University

Black Pine Engineering is commercializing a disruptive technology in the turbomachinery industry. Using a patented woven composite construction, Black Pine Engineering can make turbomachines (turbines, compressors) that are cheaper and lighter than competing technologies. Using this technology, Black Pine Engineering will sell turbo-compressors which solve the problem of wasted steam in geothermal power plants.

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Superior Ecotech
University of Colorado Boulder

Superior Ecotech converts CO2 waste gas from fermentation processes into high value, algae derived oils. By employing a combination of proprietary technologies to grow and harvest photosynthetic algae in high-efficiency greenhouses, Superior Ecotech monetizes waste streams while lowering its co-location partners’ CO2 emissions.

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University of Houston

REEcycle is the first company to profitably reclaim neodymium and dysprosium, two critical rare earth elements necessary for a low carbon economy. Neodymium and dysprosium are essential for manufacturing more productive electric motors and more efficient wind turbines, reducing our dependence on coal, oil and natural gas to produce electricity.

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Energy Internet
Georgia Institute of Technology

Energy Internet is commercializing a software platform for decentralized scheduling of energy-producing or consuming assets on the electricity grid. This scalable system will revolutionize the control of distributed solar generation, electric vehicle charging, intelligent appliances and other smart grid technologies.

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KAir Battery
Ohio State University

KAir Battery, from Ohio State University, is commercializing highly energy efficient cost-effective potassium air batteries for use in the electrical stationary storage systems market (ESSS). Beyond, the ESSS market potential applications range from temporary power stations and electric vehicle.

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How is your 'like' counted? The number of 'likes' cast for each company will determine the winner. Voting will stop on June 12 at 3 p.m. EDT. The winner of the online vote will be determined by the number of 'likes' cast for their company. The number of 'likes' will not be considered in the matrix for scoring the grand prize winners of the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. Members of the winning team of the online vote will receive an in-kind prize.

Note: Individuals can 'like' one company or multiple companies more than once; however, if tampering by bots or other automated voting methods is suspected, the affected teams' voting entries ('likes') may be inspected and corrected to give an accurate representation of valid likes.

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Disclaimer: This exercise does not represent an endorsement of these companies by the U.S. Department of Energy.