A group of university students from across the region were awarded a total of $200,000 in prize money via a business plan competition for clean technology businesses being driven by the California Institute of Technology and other local institutions, The First Look West regional business plan competition being run by the California Institute of Technology, and including efforts from the USC Stevens Institute of Technology and the LA Cleantech Incubator, said it has awarded $200,000 to three teams of students working on energy related startups. The group said that the winners with Stanford Nitrogen Group, Greenbiotics, and Xite Solar will split the $200,000 in prize money, and also will gain access to the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.
The first place winners at Stanford Nitrogen Group are working on a process fore removing wast nitrogen from wastewater treatment plants; the second place team, Greenbiotics, was made up from a team from UCLA and Caltech, and is developing a robotic vehicle to help automatically clean solar panels; third place team Xite Solar comes from UC Berkeley, and is developing solar cell materials. Hawaiian firm eHale also was given a promising idea award for integrating solar cells into indoor and outdoor, home and office furniture.
The effort is part of a larger national effort by the Department of Energy (DOE) to spur businesses in clean technologies from university labs. The Western Regional winners at Caltech were determined by a panel of judges from Mohr Davidow, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Sierra Ventures, CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund, the Angeleno Group and the Pasadena and Tech Coast Angels.