ACC Clean Energy Challenge open for entries
The $100K ACC Clean Energy Challenge, a business innovation competition that encourages students to develop and commercialize new clean energy technologies, is now accepting entries.
Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the ACC Clean Energy Challenge is open to student teams throughout the southeastern United States developing commercially promising technologies in the clean energy space, including projects related to renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements and advanced fuels/vehicles. Teams must be comprised of at least 50 percent student members.
The winner of the competition will receive a $100,000 grand prize in addition to competing in the DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition Finals in Washington, D.C., in summer 2014.
Initial entries, which must include an executive summary and video pitch, are due Feb. 14. Selected semi-finalists will be invited to compete in the ACC Clean Energy Challenge Finals Competition, to be held March 25-26 at the University of Maryland.
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This competition is open to all graduate and undergraduate students currently enrolled in accredited colleges or universities in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.
Last year, Bioadhesive Alliance Inc., a company from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University developing a bio-based adhesive for potential use as a substitute to petroleum-based asphalt binder, won the $100,000 grand prize. Bioadhesive Alliance emerged as champion out of a “Final Four” field that included Clemson University, NC State and Duke, after which the company went on to represent the region at the DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington, D.C.
As part of the Obama Administration's effort to support the next generation of American clean energy entrepreneurs, the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy awarded $360,000 for the ACC Clean Energy Challenge and a total of $2 million to the ACC and five additional regions in the U.S. as a part of its nationwide network of student-focused clean energy business plan competitions.
Additional regional winners included the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Northeast Region; the California Institute of Technology in the Western Region; Rice University in the Western Southwest Region; Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust in the Eastern Midwest Region; and the University of Colorado in the Western Midwest Region.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.