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5/12/2009
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MIT Announces Clean Energy Grand Prize Winner

An idea based on new uses for farm byproducts pushed Husk Insulation into the winner's circle Tuesday, where it was awarded MIT's $200,000 Clean Energy Prize.

An idea based on new uses for farm byproducts pushed Husk Insulation into the winner's circle Tuesday, where it was awarded MIT's $200,000 Clean Energy Prize.Husk Insulation, a University of Michigan team, has a business plan to turn agricultural waste into thin, high-grade insulation. It also won top honors in the biomass category.

Now in its second year, the competition attracted 113 entrants, who vied for 25 semi-finalist positions in five categories. The goal of the competition is to "turbo-charge the next generation of energy entrepreneurs to help solve the world's energy challenge." The other semifinalists were:

  • Produced Water Absorbance (PWA) -- MIT -- Winner, Clean Hydrocarbons Category for polymer super-adsorbent technology for petroleum collection.
  • Troy Research Corporation (RPI) -- Winner, Energy Efficiency & Infrastructure Category for deep ultraviolet solid state lighting and LED-based disinfectants.
  • Sun Point --(MIT and Yale ) -- Winner, Renewables Category for solar trackers.
  • Levant Power -- (MIT) Winner, Transportation Category for a regenerative suspension system for improved vehicle fuel economy and handling

NSTAR and the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored the competition. Among the grand prize judges were Dan Reicher, Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives at Google.org and Jim Matheson, General Partner of Flagship Ventures.

Beyond the cash prizes, Husk will receive 6 months of office space, access to research data, and professional services donated by PR and accounting firms.

FloDesign Wind Turbine took the 2008 grand prize.

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