Sustainable Business Oregon: Meet the 7 Cleantech Challenge finalists of 2014
Author: Mason Walker
Posted: June 5, 2014

Read the original story in the Portland Business Journal's Sustainable Business Oregon here

Portland State University has chosen seven teams to move ahead in its second annual Cleantech Challenge.

Each team, comprised of at least one PSU student, will get $2,500 to work on prototypes of their projects during the summer. The challenge culminates with a contest in September, competing for a $25,000 grand prize.

Last year's contest divided the top prize evenly between two winners: Mobius Microfarms and Diatomix. Mobius installed its first commercial aquaponics system in Portland's Tabla restaurant in May. Diatomix created a coating for solar panels that could boost their efficiency.

Teams include a range of university participants, including professors.

"We were thrilled to see so much cross-campus collaboration," said Cleantech Challenge project manager Quinn Read in a statement. "We have engineering students working with business students, and collaborations between faculty, postdocs, graduate students and undergraduates."

The finalist projects include:

• "The Portland Shower," a way to reduce water consumption by recycling shower water in a safe and easy open-loop system.

• "The Portland ACE," a portable, low-cost, networked device for assessing cyclists’ exposure to air pollution.

• Circuit designs to increase the efficiency and lower the cost of solar cells by using AC voltage.

• A super-capacitor, lithium-ion automobile battery to replace traditional lead acid batteries.

• Automated external shades to reduce heat gain through windows and lower electricity use during peak hours.

• Green building products for the construction industry using otherwise non-recyclable waxed cardboard.

• Heat-retentive materials and digital controls to increase efficiency of solar-powered Stirling engines.

The teams will pitch their products at Oregon BEST's annual conference, Oregon BEST FEST, in September. The Cleantech Challenge is primarily funded by Wells Fargo.