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Purdue student entrepreneurs enter Department of Energy-sponsored contest

January 19, 2012

Twenty-four students from Purdue's West Lafayette campus and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne have formed seven teams to enter the Clean Energy Student Challenge, one of six regional competitions in the United States. Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust expanded its annual Clean Energy Challenge to include student business concepts from around the Midwest. The winning team will receive a $100,000 prize made possible by a DOE grant and a chance to compete for a national grand prize in Washington, D.C., early next summer.

Teams with Purdue student entrepreneurs are:

* 91% Price Reduction in H2 Storage - Go Choi, leader; Michael Zachman, member.

* ATS Motors - Andrew Westrick, leader; Anthony Coiro and Sean Kleinschmidt, members. Stroh Brann, faculty adviser.

* Convolutus Inc. - Mert Efe, leader; Wilfredo Moscoso and Dinakar Sagapuram, members; Srinivasan Chandrasekar and Kevin Trumble, faculty advisers.

* Power-by-Nano - Kaoutar Abbou Oucherif, leader; Hassan Faraj and Aniruddha Kelkar, members. Bryan Boudouris, faculty adviser.

* RE:Wind - Justin Richter, leader; Manaz Taleyarkhan, Katherine Ortegon, Vijay Sachdeva and Xiatian Xu, members.

* Solamplify, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne - Selena Jankulovska, leader; Caterina Kiefer and Richard Roudebush, members.

* Westland Joaus - Boris Western, leader; Austin Burch, Blane Holland, John Leonard and Benjamin Rose, members.

Jon Gortat, project manager at the Purdue Research Foundation's Office of Technology Commercialization, said the Purdue teams met several milestones to enter the Clean Energy Student Challenge.

"The teams provided a brief executive summary in their application, which included a description of the problem, the solution, the market and a commercialization plan. They also created a three-minute video investor pitch," he said. "They will compete against more than 30 student teams from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin."

Gortat said the competition will strengthen Purdue students' interest in entrepreneurship.

"Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu recently said that the United States can be more competitive in the global race to develop clean-energy solutions, but it requires inventing them as well as manufacturing and selling," he said. "Purdue students have long shown the ability to develop products and services for the public, including electric vehicles, portable medical chairs and smartphone applications. The Clean Student Challenge provides another opportunity for students to turn their ideas for clean, green and sustainable technologies into reality."

About Purdue Research Foundation

Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. The foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds research, scholarships and grants; acquires property; and negotiates research contracts on behalf of Purdue. In the 1990s, the foundation was charged with helping the university in the realm of economic development. The Purdue Research Foundation oversees the Purdue Research Park, which is the largest university-affiliated business incubator in the country. In addition to the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, the foundation has established technology parks in other locations around Indiana including Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany.

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342,

Source: Jon Gortat, 765-588-3485,

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