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LEDs for Water Purification, Solar Cell Manufacturing Process Honored in Clean Tech Open

California no longer has a lock on these clean-tech Academy Awards

1 min read
LEDs for Water Purification, Solar Cell Manufacturing Process Honored in Clean Tech Open

It started back in 2005, when two EEs who wanted to somehow advance green technology but didn’t have money to invest or a big company behind them decided to hold a contest. They called it the CleanTech Open, and rounded up $500,000 in prizes. It was mostly a local thing, with teams of California entrepreneurs entering business plans.

But in five years it has turned into the Academy Awards of green technology, complete with sealed envelopes and acceptance speeches. (See video, below).

This year 271 teams entered regional competitions; the regions sent 18 teams to the national finals. And though the competition continues to be held in California, the home field no longer seems to have any advantage.

The winner, Puralytics is from Beaverton, Oregon—the first time a company won from outside of California. Puralytics developed a technology that removes contaminants like petroleum byproducts, pesticides, or microorganisms from water using multiple wavelengths of light generated by LEDs.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/v/L-CLK0NEPvM?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]

Puralytics may have captured the judges’ hearts (and $250,000 in prizes), but the audience at the awards, made up of other competitors and industry notables, was enamored with Silicon Solar Solutions. Silicon Solar, from Fayetteville, Ariz., developed a process for crystallizing amorphous silicon into large-grain polysilicon almost instantly. Solar cells built from the large grain material, the company says, are much more efficient than traditional cells.

The judges also honored two runners-up: On-Chip Power from Boston, for its miniaturized power-supply technology, and EarthClean of Minneapolis for its nontoxic fire suppressant

A complete list of winners in all categories and regional finalists is available here.

The 2011 competition kicks off on 3 March 2011.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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