2013 Clean Energy Challenge Offers $300,000 For Clean Tech Ideas

There are many people who believe technology, particularly clean tech, will save the world. The question is, will the world still be around when these technologies are finally ready to use? What society really needs are clever ideas that can be implemented today. We’ll keep waiting for hydrogen fuel cell cars and combined heat and power systems for buildings. In the mean time, the Clean Energy Trust is hosting a competition to seek out Midwest clean energy businesses with the potential to bring innovations to the marketplace  sooner than later.

The 2013 Clean Energy Challenge offers more than $300,000 in cash prizes for Midwestern researchers, students and entrepreneurs who have transformative clean energy business ideas and concepts that could solve tomorrow’s energy issues before they become crises.

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Image via Clean Energy Trust

The Clean Energy Challenge is a two-track competition for entrepreneurs with companies in different stages of development in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. The Early Stage Challenge is for competitors with fully-developed business plans and established startup companies while the Student Challenge is for students who want to develop a clean energy business.

Last year’s Clean Energy Challenge winner was Chicago-based Clean Urban Energy which won the top prize of $75,000 by designing a plan that they say “turns buildings into batteries” by optimizing the way HVAC systems are integrated with grid and energy markets.

Finalists in the 2013 Clean Energy Challenge will receive mentoring from the Clean Energy Trust in preparation for the Challenge finals April 4 in Chicago. Categories for entry include energy storage, hydrogen and fuel cells, building materials, smart grid, and next generation transportation. The judging panel is comprised of nationally renowned investors and clean technology business leaders.

“The very best clean technology innovations are being developed in the Midwest and the Challenge ensures that those ideas are presented to the venture capitalists, businesses and investors who can bring them to market,” explains Amy Francetic, executive director of the Clean Energy Trust. “The cash prizes and commercialization support kick start Clean Energy Challenge Finalists, which have all gone on to receive significant venture and federal funding.”

The application deadline is December 3, 2012. Complete rules and eligibility for the Challenge are available here. 

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog