Stanford Team Cleans Up $200,000 Winning MIT Clean Energy Prize
Three PhD students from Stanford University's chemical engineering program took $200,000 back to their new California business yesterday, after winning MIT's Clean Energy Prize. C3Nano, a spin-off of Stanford's chemical engineering department, was started to commercialize their invention, and it could use the prize money to get things going!
C3Nano was selected from 60 teams from 35 universities. Its carbon nano-based transparent electrode was invented to increase the efficiency of thin photovoltaic solar panels by allowing up to 12 percent more sunlight to penetrate them. The carbon nano-based conductor is also more lightweight, flexible and cheaper than other materials currently used to enhance the performance of solar panels.
C3Nano says its transparent electrode “will beat the current leading transparent electrode in a number of specifications and ultimately become a cross-cutting technology that will increase the efficiency of PV by 1%.”
"Our innovation is a cross-cutting technology that not only has the potential to increase the efficiency of solar panels, it can be used in the manufacture of television, computer and cell phone touch screens and electronic displays to increase performance and lower cost," said Melburne C. LeMieux, C3Nano Founder and Chief Science Officer. "Winning this competition literally enables us to take the next step towards moving this important technology out of the laboratory and into the marketplace."
In addition to the prize money, the MIT Clean Energy Prize provides mentoring from universities around the country to help the energy entrepreneurs jump start their businesses. Now in its third year, the competition has helped launch over a dozen businesses - many of them in Massachusetts - that have raised more than $65 million from private investors and the government.