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Monday, May 11, 2009

Students from the Cleantech to Market (C2M) Program Deliver Another Success

clean techEven if your solar cell materials are dirt cheap, how efficient do they have to be to compete on the market? Why might isopentanol be a better biofuel than ethanol or butanol ? What are the technical, economic, and policy drivers that influence innovation in a mature industry like boilers?

These are questions posed and answered by interdisciplinary student teams at the give-and-take Cleantech to Market (C2M) workshop held last Wednesday on campus. The students chosen to participate in the program presented business analyses to industry and venture capital representatives experienced in the challenges of bringing new technologies to market. The guests provided useful feedback from the trenches.

Co-managed by Berkeley Lab and Berkeley Energy Resources Collaborative (BERC, the C2M program is into its second semester of partnering UCB MBA, law, and science and engineering students with Berkeley Lab researchers who are working on technologies in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

This semester the student teams conducted market analysis on three research projects that are at different stages of research and development: Oxide-based Solar Cells is an early stage technology that addresses the cost issue of current solar cell materials. 5-C Alcohol Fuel from Modified E-coli is an emerging biofuel technology that has the potential to outcompete ethanol and butanol because of its higher energy content, ability to be transported with existing pipelines, and some lower production costs. The Low Swirl, Low NOx Burner is a mature technology that has been successfully licensed to Maxon Corp. for use in energy efficient water and air heating, but has other under-utilized applications.

For more information on these C2M projects or if you are a researcher interested in participating in future projects, contact Shanshan Taylor (x5366).