This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 12, 2011

Students' Cleantech Projects: Driving Commercial Success

How do we leverage the innovative minds of our university students to make our clean energy goals a reality? Bringing students and business expertise together early in the process is a crucial part of identifying promising technologies and making them successful in the marketplace.

For example, a simple, portable device that monitors defects in wind turbine blades will help make wind a more efficient and reliable alternative energy source. This is one of three new projects by teams of science and engineering graduate students at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and San Diego State University (SDSU) that are receiving financial support and business mentorship through DOE's Innovation Ecosystems Initiative.

UCSD and SDSU received a three-year, $1 million grant to create the Southern California Renewable Energy Technology Acceleration Program and amplify the already significant role that students play in facilitating the technology transfer process. In addition to the device to monitor wind turbine blade defects, the program includes projects to create a new high-efficient and mercury-free light bulb, as well as a new way to manufacture flexible, three-dimensional organic solar cells at low cost. See the Energy Blog post.