Husk Insulation was named the winner of the $200,000 MIT Clean Energy Prize, a national student competition founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy and NSTAR to accelerate the pace of clean energy entrepreneurship.
Husk Insulation’s patented innovation converts plant-based agricultural waste into thin, high-grade insulation that delivers up to 10 times the insulative effectiveness of conventional, petroleum-based insulation. While the insulation has widespread application, the team from the University of Michigan will initially target the refrigeration industry because of the product’s potential to improve refrigerator efficiency by up to 50 percent.
“Our mission is to increase energy efficiency through high-performance insulation. Winning this substantial prize enables us to more effectively promote our product to manufacturers so they can design more efficient refrigerators, which can reduce our nation’s electricity use and carbon emissions,” said Ian Dailey, President of Husk Insulation.
Husk Insulation was selected by prominent judges out of over one hundred initial entrees for the product’s energy savings impact and market potential as well as the teams’ competitive advantage. With roughly 11 million refrigerators sold each year in the U.S., potential energy savings is significant. The team plans to ultimately promote the husk insulation to the housing and transportation markets.
“In most homes, the refrigerator is the second-largest electricity consuming appliance, after the air-conditioner. We are thrilled the winner of this competition may have a hand in the development of more efficient models for our customers,” said Tom May, Chairman, President and CEO of NSTAR, the largest Massachusetts-based electric and gas utility company and major competition sponsor. “Energy efficiency is the ultimate renewable resource, saving money as it protects the environment.”
The MIT Clean Energy Prize provides capital resources and mentoring to help clean energy entrepreneurs jump-start businesses. “This year, the competition has really taken hold as the premier clean energy entrepreneurship competition in the nation, with entries from over 40 colleges and universities,” said MIT Clean Energy Prize Chairman Bill Aulet. “The quality of entries and the significant level of sponsorship indicate strong support for energy innovation and is the vision that MIT, NSTAR and the U.S. DOE had when the competition was founded.”
For additional information on the MIT Clean Energy Prize, please visit www.mitcep.org.
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Caroline Allen, 617-424-2460
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