May 03, 2010

Winners Announced at Tech Valley Business Plan Competition

By: by Steve Janack, CNSE Vice President for Marketing and Communications


Albany, NY - The Energy and Environmental Technology Applications Center ("E2TAC") at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering ("CNSE") of the University at Albany ("UAlbany"), 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 Tech Valley's first business plan competition to focus exclusively on new innovations for clean and renewable energy technologies on April 28 at CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex.

Twelve teams comprised of college students from multi-disciplinary educational backgrounds competed in the inaugural Tech Valley Business Plan Competition, presenting their 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.

1st Place - CNSE
BESS Technologies

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

- First place - BESS Technologies of UAlbany CNSE for its next-generation battery storage technology. CNSE students Brian Butcher, Ph.D. candidate in  Nanoengineering/Nanoeconomics, and Jae Ho Lee and Isaac Lund, Ph.D. candidates in Nanoengineering, will receive $10,000 in cash, $8,000 of in-kind legal services from Heslin Rothenberg Farley Mesiti, PC, and $1,000 of in-kind services from ECG Consulting.

- Second place - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's (RPI) Sustain-a-PET focusing on recyclable teddy bears. Christina Laskowski and Todd Snelsen, Ph.D. candidates in Mechanical Engineering, and Ph.D. candidate in Management Eric C. Peterson, will receive $5,000 in cash and $1,000 of in-kind services from ECG Consulting.

- Third place - Clarkson University Engineering and Management Seniors Sean Bonnell and Bridget Howley will receive $2,000 in cash for their Controlled Environment High Rise Farm project that focuses on aeroponic farming through a high-rise commercial farm.

"The UAlbany NanoCollege is delighted to have hosted this inaugural competition, which provides an innovative platform for students to combine cutting-edge research on critical clean energy technologies with the development of a sound and practical business plan," said Pradeep Haldar, Director of CNSE's Energy and Environmental Technology Applications Center ("E2TAC"), which spearheaded the event. "This unique opportunity to link innovative research with solid business acumen will further support the growth of the clean energy industry in New York State."

"This landmark event illustrates the School of Business's strong commitment to promoting student entrepreneurship. The business plan competition will serve as a focal point of our new undergraduate program in entrepreneurship and other initiatives to promote technological and social entrepreneurship," said Donald Siegel, Dean of UAlbany's School of Business. "It also complements our efforts to use our new $54 million School of Business Building as the catalyst for effective commercialization of ideas and intellectual property developed at the university. The School of Business wants to create new firms and new jobs for the Capital Region."

"It is truly impressive to see the efforts of students in developing clean energy innovations that push the envelope of new technology while maintaining a strong focus on a sustainable business plan," said Jean Howard, Executive Director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at the Lally School of Management & Technology. "In this way, the students are participating in a unique educational experience: offering solutions to one of society's most important challenges that are both technologically efficient and cost effective."

"The Tech Valley Business Plan Competition offers a novel approach to engaging students in the challenge of developing cutting-edge technologies that can successfully transition to the marketplace," said Eric Lewis, Dean of the School of Management at Union Graduate College. "Importantly, the innovations being presented by the students have the potential to make an impact not only in the business world, but also in supporting the critical need for sustainable energy and a clean environment."

Participating teams included: Active Recharge (School of Business, University at Albany); Aurora Technologies (UAlbany CNSE); BESS Technologies (UAlbany CNSE); Controlled Environment High Rise Farm (Clarkson University); EcoWash (UAlbany CNSE); Independence Public Biking System (School of Business, University at Albany); PassiveFit (School of Business, University at Albany); Power Park (School of Business, University at Albany); Promethean Revolution (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); Smart Ennovation (UAlbany CNSE); SunFlower Solar Energy (Union College); and Sustain-a-PET (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute).

About E2TAC.
The Energy and Environmental Technology Applications Center (E2TAC) was created in 1998. It was established as an active expansion of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to work with companies in the rapidly emerging energy and environmental industries. E2TAC provides a critical platform for CNSE to leverage its intellectual power base and state-of-the-art infrastructure to provide an applications-targeted resource supporting technology development, leading to the integration of nanoelectronics and nanotechnology in advanced energy and environmental applications. For more information, visit .

About CNSE
. The UAlbany CNSE is the first college in the world dedicated to education, research, development, and deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience, and nanoeconomics. CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex is the most advanced research enterprise of its kind at any university in the world. With over $5.5 billion in high-tech investments, the 800,000-square-foot complex attracts corporate partners from around the world and offers students a one-of-a-kind academic experience. The UAlbany NanoCollege houses the only fully-integrated, 300mm wafer, computer chip pilot prototyping and demonstration line within 80,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms. More than 2,500 scientists, researchers, engineers, students, and faculty work on site at CNSE's Albany NanoTech, from companies including IBM, AMD, GlobalFoundries, SEMATECH, Toshiba, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, ASML, Novellus Systems, Vistec Lithography and Atotech. For more information, visit

CNSE Contact:
Steve Janack, CNSE Vice President for Marketing and Communications
(phone) 518-956-7322 (cell) 518-312-5009

Read more: