STBE graduate students Clayton Pope, Robert Conolly, and Daniel Rose participated in a national pitch competition called the Energy Tech University Prize hosted by HeroX and the DOE. The competition seeks to employ students from universities nationally to create commercialization plans for NREL and DOE patented technologies which do not yet have seamless commercialization plans. They competed in the first stage, the regional event, in February. They didn’t win outright, but were selected as the “crowd favorite” and the bonus prize finalist for the Carbon and Fossil Fuel Management category. They were then pooled in with the other finalists nationally in this category. After further review by NREL/DOE judges they were selected as the winner of the $25,000 Carbon and Fossil Fuel Management bonus prize out of the national finalists pool. Their business, BioCharm, is proposed to lease onsite property and leverage food and wood waste at public landfills, in order to produce biochar. The biochar is then used as a supplement for cement in concrete in local public construction. This process can greatly reduce carbon emissions associated with both the waste and construction industries.
The goal of their project, BioCharm, is that the production and sale of biochar is to be used as a supplementary cementitious material in concrete.
The Research Triangle Cluster press release quotes, “Concrete is responsible for 8% of global CO2 emissions, primarily due to the use of cement within. Biochar, when used as a supplement for cement, has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from concrete by 44.5%. Manufacturing biochar at landfills while leveraging on-site wood and food can reduce tons of CO2 in both the waste and construction industries."
The team will present in April at the Energy Thought Summit in Austin, Texas to network and compete in the finals as an honorary member.
We are so proud of these students and look forward to seeing their presentation in April!
The links below are for the competition and the regional competition presentations where the team presents 3rd or 4th in the video.