U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Water Power Program

Solar, Biomass, and Hydro Proposals Win Clean Energy Competition

May 24, 2006

A device that employs passive optics to concentrate sunlight onto a solar cell earned a first-place prize worth $47,500 at the 2006 Ignite Clean Energy Competition, held on May 9th. Stellaris Corporation claims it can cut the cost of solar power modules by 40 percent with its passive optics, which do not require a tracking mechanism. The start-up company now has $15,000 in cash, $25,000 worth of office space, and $7,500 worth of legal services to make its dreams into reality.

The MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge sponsored the competition, which featured two elimination rounds to whittle down a long list of potential clean energy technology companies to just 10 competitors in April, then chose five winners on May 9th. The two second-place awards went to Solasta (also known as The Eagle Axis), a Boston College faculty team developing ultra-high-efficiency solar cells using nanotechnology; and Feed Resource Recovery, a Babson College student team that uses food and other organic wastes and an anaerobic digester to produce methane fuel and a highly effective organic fertilizer. Two third-place awards went to NatEl for its hydropower technology for low-head dams and Synergetic Power Systems, an MIT-student team, for its rooftop-mounted parabolic concentrating solar collectors. See the Ignite Clean Energy Web site.