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:
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.