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05-03-2010

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

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/techvalley2010.jpg]

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

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.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: A Clarkson University student team took third place at the Tech Valley Business Plan Competition in Albany, N.Y., last week. Left to right: Sean P. Bonnell, Bridget E. Howley and Nathaniel M. Jacobs display their $2,000 prize for their Controlled Environment High Rise Farm project that focuses on aeroponic farming through a high-rise commercial farm. Team member Eric M. Ludovici was not present for the photo.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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