A group of innovative MBA students at the University of Utah need your help. After winning the CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge in Boulder, CO, they are heading to the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington, DC.
The competition inspired nearly 300 university teams across the country to create new businesses to commercialize promising energy technologies. After pitching their business plan to judges at the regionals, the U of U’s Navillum Technologies was one of six teams to advance for a chance to compete in the national popular vote and a grand prize determined by a panel of experts.
In online voting, Navillum is currently neck and neck with Columbia University’s Radiator Retro-Fit invention, and you can help the Utah team win by going to http://tinyurl.com/8x6244u and clicking LIKE before voting ends at 2 pm June 13. (A video on the technology is also at this site.)
Navillum is a start-up company based on U of U research into semiconductor nanocrystals. Nanocrystals create quantum dots emitting a wider range of light with less energy than existing materials, so many scientists believe they will be used in future generations of solar panels, televisions, cellphones and related products. According to Navillum, when used in liquid crystal displays (LCDs), quantum dots improve energy efficiency by up to 35 percent and in solar panels, the dots can increase efficiency up to 45 percent.
The most difficult challenge is the expensive manufacturing process. The cost of a gram of quantum dots can cost $2,500 to $10,000. Minimizing cost is what Navillum hopes to accomplish.
After winning the CU Cleantech New Venture Challenge, Navillum was awarded $100,000. Navillum plans to put the prize back into developing the technology. In addition the overall effort has received $155,000 in grants from the U of U, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED, and the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR). Starting in 2010, these grants helped researchers to achieve prototyping milestones in the development of the technology.
The researchers behind Navillum are in the Department of Chemistry at the U of U. They are Michael Bartl (associate professor), Jacqueline Siy-Ronquillo (post-doctoral fellow) and Nikko Ronquillo (M.D./Ph.D. student).
For more information on the company visit http://www.navillum.com/