TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A start-up company, e-Electricity, based on research at The University of Alabama, is a finalist in a clean energy competition supported by the United States Department of Energy.
The $100K ACC Clean Energy Challenge, a business plan competition supported by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, encourages students from universities in the Southeast to develop business plans for new clean energy companies. The competition whittled the companies to the “Elite Eight Plus Two,” or nine teams from schools within the Atlantic Coastal Athletic Conference and one at-large school from outside the ACC. The team from UA, e-Electricity, is the non-ACC winner.
The Elite Eight Plus Two will first compete to advance to the “Final Four” and then for a $100,000 grand prize at the $100K ACC Clean Energy Challenge Finals, held at the University of Maryland March 26. The $100,000 winner will move on to compete in the DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Finals in Washington, D.C., in the summer.
The UA-tied company is developing a patent-pending lithium ion smart battery management system that could increase battery energy utilization by 15 percent compared to current hybrid and electric vehicles. It’s based on research by Dr. Jaber Abu-Qahouq, UA associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.
One of more than a dozen startup companies calling The University of Alabama home, e-Electricity also received early assistance and mentoring through the Office for Technology Transfer within the UA Office of the Vice President for Research. Sloan McCrary, an MBA student in UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce from Alpharetta, Ga., is the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer. Will Sanders, a UA MBA student from Mobile, is a co-founder and chief operating officer.
As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to support and empower the next generation of American clean energy entrepreneurs, the Department of Energy awarded $360,000 in 2011 for the ACC Clean Energy Challenge and a total of $2 million to the ACC and five additional regions in the U.S. as part of its inaugural nationwide network of student-focused clean energy business plan competitions over the next three years.
Additional regional winners include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Northeast Region; the California Institute of Technology in the Western Region; Rice University in the Western Southwest Region; Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust in the Eastern Midwest Region; and the University of Colorado in the Western Midwest Region.
The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Learn more about DOE’s efforts to promote a new generation of energy entrepreneurs at: www.energy.gov/eere
The University of Maryland’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, or Mtech, was selected as the principal lead for the Southeast competition.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.