Rutgers Teams Participate in the 2023 EnergyTech University Prize Competition
By: Scott Rubin
Rutgers University had a strong representation in the EnergyTech University Prize competition, being 1 of 40 schools to have multiple teams participate out of 124 schools and 184 teams. This national competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and challenges university teams to develop and pitch ideas for energy innovation.
This year, Rutgers had two teams that competed in the Northeast region of the competition. The first team, TransX Automated Transit System (TATS) (Team 3), was named as one of the eight Bonus Prize Finalists for the NYC Metro Regional round. In their presentation, Andre Dimitri and Vladisoff Stepanov introduce their company, which they describe as a "grid enhancing technology focusing on using heavy lift drones to assist in the installation of transmission towers and reduce the environmental cost." By employing mostly automated, unmanned heavy lift drones, they aim to "reduce the human labor costs and transport costs" associated with installing transmission towers. The technology has the potential to "reduce the ongoing grid congestion and transmission troubles" while minimizing environmental impact. Overall, the company could lead to savings up to roughly 20 percent in installation costs based on rough calculations of human labor costs and environmental credits.
Article continues after the TransX presentation.
TransX Presentation at EnergyTech University Prize - NYC Metro Region Competition
The second Rutgers team that competed in the competition was led by sophomore Rut Mehta (CEO) along with Anand Patel (CTO) and Dunbar Birnir (Faculty Advisor). Their team (Team 7) created Fluorosol, a company focused on developing advanced battery technology to address the challenges of grid resilience and congestion, which have plagued the United States' infrastructure. In their presentation, the company highlighted the annual cost of congestion, which amounts to "$6 billion annually and almost five percent of all electricity produced," and the impact of extreme weather events like the Deep Freeze in Texas and blackouts in California. Fluorosol's battery technology is based on intellectual property owned by Rutgers University and invented by Dr. Glenna Matucci. It utilizes novel fluoride compounds as electrode materials for exceptional rechargeability and minimal degradation. The technology offers a significant increase in energy density and power density compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries. According to the company, their battery can hold "200 percent more energy by mass and 300 percent more volumetric energy." By targeting grid operators, transmission owners, and utilities, Fluorosol aims to offer solutions for energy storage, flexibility, and peak congestion management. The company believes that the removal and replacement of cobalt and nickel in their battery technology will also contribute to lowering prices and overcoming supply chain constraints.
Article continues after Flouracell Presentation.
Fluoracell Presentation at EnergyTech University Prize - NYC Metro Region Competition
Overall, the competition aims to foster innovation in the energy sector and provide support for the development of clean energy technologies. The competition starts with university teams from across the country competing in regional competitions. The regional winners then advance to the national competition, where they pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.
The EnergyTech University Prize competition is an excellent opportunity for students to showcase their innovative ideas and gain valuable experience in the field of clean energy. The competition provides a platform for students to network with industry experts and potential investors and receive feedback on their ideas. Finally, the competition also distributes $370,000 in cash prizes to student teams that successfully identify a promising energy technology, assess its market potential, and create a business plan for commercialization.
In other news, Rutgers Innovation Ventures and Rutgers I-Corps have plans to host a design lab that connects Rutgers Researchers with Rutgers students to seed teams for the next year's EnergyTech UP competition. This design lab aims to foster collaboration between researchers and students and provide mentorship and support for the development of innovative ideas in the energy sector.
Overall, the EnergyTech University Prize competition continues to inspire and motivate students across the country to develop innovative ideas for clean energy technologies. Rutgers University is proud to have participated in this competition and to have had two teams represent the university in the Northeast region. The competition provides a valuable opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in the field of clean energy and to network with industry professionals. As clean energy continues to be a pressing concern, it is important to support and encourage the development of innovative solutions, and the EnergyTech University Prize competition is an excellent way to do so.
For more information about the EnergyTech University Prize competition, please visit their website.