Illinois' Inaugural Clean Energy Challenge Names Winners
The inaugural Clean Energy Challenge in Illinois awarded $130,000 in prizes to competitors at the Midwest Energy Forum on March 3, 2011. The Challenge, a business plan competition for top Illinois clean tech entrepreneurs, was developed by the Clean Energy Trust (CET), a clean energy business accelerator, and funded in part by the DOE and the City of Chicago. Clean Urban Energy, a Chicago company that "turns buildings into batteries" by optimizing integration of HVAC operations with the grid and energy markets, took first place. NextGen Solar was awarded second place for commercializing a three-dimensional thin-film solar technology, invented by a researcher at DOE's Argonne National Laboratory.
More than 70 early-stage companies in all aspects of clean energy submitted applications for the Challenge. The most promising presented their plans to a distinguished panel of nationally renowned investors, corporation and entrepreneurs at the Midwest Energy Forum in Chicago. All of the Challenge finalists received mentoring and business planning assistance from the Clean Energy Trust, which accelerates the development of Midwest clean energy businesses by connecting entrepreneurs, researchers, and early-stage companies with the expertise and capital to become sustainable. See the CET press release.