Green Innovations

Developing renewable and clean technology companies in New York

Monday, May 3, 2010

Clarkson University Students Take Third Place in Clean Energy Business Plan Competition

A Clarkson University student team took third place at the Tech Valley Business Plan Competition in Albany, N.Y., last week. It was the Tech Valley's first business plan competition to focus exclusively on new innovations for clean and renewable energy technologies.
Engineering and Management seniors Sean P. Bonnell of Oswego, N.Y., Bridget E. Howley of Niskayuna, N.Y., Eric M. Ludovici of Lyons Falls, N.Y., and Nathaniel M. Jacobs of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., will receive a $2,000 prize for their Controlled Environment High Rise Farm project that focuses on aeroponic farming through a high-rise commercial farm.

The business plan presented by the students showed the economic viability and sustainability of high-tech greenhouse systems that could be used to grow produce in cold and dark climates year round. 

Because of the high demand for year-round availability of local and organic produce in northern New York, the revenues from high-quality lettuce and greens are projected to offset the capital costs within five years.

Teams comprised of college students from multi-disciplinary educational backgrounds competed in the competition, presenting business plans to develop and market a variety of green energy innovations, from integrated solar energy technologies and high capacity energy storage systems to cutting-edge technologies that reduce water consumption and material waste, among others.

A panel of 15 experts from the energy, financial and legal sectors selected the top three business plans,

The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the University at Albany, in partnership with UAlbany's School of Business, the Lally School of Management & Technology at Rensselaer, and the Union Graduate College School of Management, hosted the competition.

The four students who created the plan were part of a larger interdisciplinary team of Clarkson students who studied the laboratory, engineering design and environmental and social sustainability of the project. The entire team won a Phase II grant of $75,000 at the EPA People, Prosperity and Planet competition in Washington, D.C. in April.