New York Announces Winners of Energy Research Contest


PowerBridgeNY, a new proof-of-concept center established to move clean energy ideas from the lab to startup phase has announced its first round of award winners. The award winners are working on products with the potential to reduce wastewater treatment costs, increase energy efficiency of solar panels, reduce electricity outages, decrease the cost of fuel cells, absorb carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – from the environment, and generate clean energy from railroad track vibrations, among others.

PowerBridgeNY was created by Columbia University and New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, leading a consortium of public research institutions throughout the State, and is partially funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

PowerBridgeNY’s award winners receive up to $150,000, mentoring and other business support to develop an innovative cleantech product first conceived through research taking place in New York State. Businesses were judged on the products’ technical potential, the potential appeal to investors and how the scientists could benefit by taking part in this program.

Research teams from Columbia University will focus on early detection of wastewater problems, turning carbon dioxide into energy, and a grid use forecasting service to improve energy delivery. Research teams from NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering will focus on wireless recharging of electric vehicles and creating a more efficient power transformer.

City University of New York is working on ways to reduce dust on solar panels to make them more effective, and also finding improvements to HVAC systems. Cornell University is finding ways to improve battery life, and develop materials that absorb carbon dioxide emissions. Brookhaven National Laboratory is working on ways to reduce the cost of fuel cells and electrolyzers. The University of Stony Brook will work on ways to generate energy from railroad track vibrations.

The announcement comes at a critical time for clean energy and climate science research as scientists now say that we may be on the verge of irreversible sea water level rise that could depopulate large metropolitan areas the world over.

“We are pleased to be part of this effort and for Columbia’s pioneering researchers in sustainable technology and clean energy solutions to have yet another opportunity to contribute to our community, New York and society at large,” said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger.