Friday, April 15, 2011

2011 CLC First-Round Winners Announced!

Congratulations to the 2011
Climate Leadership Challenge
First Round Winners!

Each team was awarded a $2000 prize and they now compete for the $50,000 Grand Prize, to be determined and announced at the 5th Annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference. (Today is the registration deadline! Free for students - register now!)

BioGRASP (Biogas Growth: Regional and Sustainable Partnerships) supports climate change mitigation and adaptation through the creation of a collaborative network of biogas installations at small businesses and institutions across western Uganda.  The program will (1) Collaborate with local biogas experts in Uganda to identify interested biogas clients, (2) Construct 5-10 biogas systems, (3) Connect prospective new clients with existing expertise by hosting open houses at the newly constructed systems, and (4) Cultivate the expansion of small-scale biogas in Uganda and Wisconsin by creating multi-media informational materials and sharing Ugandan expert knowledge with Wisconsin.  When a critical mass of dynamic entrepreneurs and leaders see what biogas has to offer, this cost-saving, eco-friendly business solution will develop its own market. BioGRASP kick-starts this process. Team Members: Aleia McCord, Jeffery Starke and Sarah Stefanos

The BrightWater Initiative will provide an innovative, self-sustaining purification solution to reduce casualties stemming from toxic water consumption. With 1.1 billion people across the world living without access to sanitary drinking water, the consumption of harmful chemicals and bacteria result in the deaths of millions each year. As global warming transforms water resources everywhere, diminishing water quality continually magnifies the risks of illness and disease for people residing in developing regions. Increased runoff, highly concentrated algal blooms, and many other negative effects linked to climatic alterations increase the severity of the adaptive struggle between humans and their respective environments. With limited knowledge and resources necessary to overcome the threats posed by the changing climate, inhabitants of developing regions rely on assistance and support from forward thinking individuals and organizations. BrightWater purification systems will serve as a powerful ally for regions in need, removing harmful chemicals and bacteria from drinking water resources. Beginning with regions surrounding Punta Gorda, Belize, clean water will never again be considered a privilege, but a right shared equally by everyone everywhere. Team Members: Brad Lindevig, Parikshith Lingampaly, Luke Voellinger, Josh Zent

The Cellulose Digesting Biogas Plants for Hydrogen Production project (CDBP) proposes an innovative new way to produce hydrogen from plant sugars and we explore how this emerging technology might be used in biogas plants to produce carbon-neutral hydrogen from agricultural waste. Currently, 95% of the 9 million tons of hydrogen used annually in the US is extracted from fossil fuels through a process that contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Our aim is to eliminate this dirty, centralized hydrogen production by building a network of hydrogen biogas plants. We have succeeded in creating a model for hydrogen biogas plants by utilizing newly discovered synthetic metabolism technology. We are researching and developing this model in order to implement CDBP on farms across America as soon as possible. Team Members: Joseph Keuler, Matthew Kirk, Patrick Kirk, David Osmalov

The Refrigerator Aider will boost the efficiency of domestic refrigerators by 10% or more through an innovative ventilation system that requires no additional energy or moving parts. Food refrigeration enhances the health and quality of life for billions of people around the world; however, refrigeration also represents a major source of energy consumption that is expected to grow in decades to come. This energy usage could be reduced if household refrigerators operated with proper ventilation, but most kitchen layouts place the refrigerator in a corner or surround it with cabinets, ovens and other large appliances that hinder airflow. As a result, stagnant air surrounding the refrigerator becomes hot and the refrigerator must continuously expend more energy to keep its contents cold. To address this issue while simultaneously conserving kitchen space, The Refrigerator Aider uses inexpensive, thermally insulating materials to establish a convectively cooled region around the refrigerator using air from outside the house. Winnings from the competition will be used to fund a series of experiments and a subsequent information campaign alerting companies of this technology so that it may be rapidly deployed on a large scale in order to help conserve energy worldwide.  Team Member: Mike Hvasta
Congratulations to the First-Round Winners and good luck!

The Climate Leadership Challenge is a program of the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment and made possible through generous support from the Global Stewards Society - John F. & Mary Cooper; Gary & Ellora 
Cooper; Christine Cooper; John & Mary Noreika; Peter Vogel, Vogel Brothers Building Company; David Beck-
Engel, J.H. Findorff & Son; Scott J. Repert, Superior Health Linens.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Last minute tips

Only a week and a half until proposals are due! Here are a few last minute tips for you.

1. Make sure you reference work, projects or studies similar to yours. Show the judges you have done your research on your topic, and acknowledge the relevant work that has been done to date. 

2. Run your proposal past a trusted professor, advisor or expert from the community for some constructive feedback. As program manager, I am happy to answer specific questions about your proposals, but it will be to your benefit to pass off the proposal to a mentor of sorts for a "pre-review".

3. Keep your proposals to the 20 page limit (plus budget)! The guidelines for length of sub-sections is flexible and only a suggested guideline, but the 20 page limit is firm.

4. While the website states that the deadline is 5pm on March 25, I have announced at workshops and meetings that we will accept submissions that reach my inbox ( by 11:59 p.m. on March 25. We recognize that a lot of work can be done in the final hours before a deadline, so hopefully this cushion will help some of you out.

We look forward to receiving your proposals and reading all about your innovative ideas! Best of luck to you all. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Less than one month until submission deadline!

Less than one month until proposals are due. YOU STILL HAVE TIME!!

Come to our final informational session on
Monday, March 7, 4:30-5:30
Rm. 175 Science Hall

Ask your questions.
Find your team.

You can be part of the solution.

What's your idea?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

From Competition to Career: a CLC event on Feb. 15, 2011

How innovation competitions can benefit your career development - an event hosted by Climate Leadership Challenge

We're excited to invite you to our upcoming event From Competition to Career  on Tuesday, February 15 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Join us at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Town Center for a CLC-sponsored informational session featuring a panel of experts speaking on how innovation competitions look appealing to prospective employers and how they can even prepare you to start your own business or nonprofit organization. 

The panel will feature John Klatt, Director of Advising and Career Services for UW-Madison's College of Agriculture and Life SciencesAllen Dines, Assistant Director of New Ventures and Private Equity at the UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations, and Chris Meyer, founder of the nonprofit community workspace Sector67. The panelists will speak on topics including how to turn your competition experience into more than a one-liner on your resume, why employers look favorably on competition experiences, and how the experience of participating in a student innovation competition can help prepare you for starting your own business or nonprofit.

Come for an hour of networking and information. Coffee and cookies provided. Please RSVP to so we can get an idea of how many will attend. Hope to see you there!


Check out the new CLC video flyer for the basics of the CLC and what we're looking for in a proposal!

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Relevant lecture: Sustainable Infrastructure

Please mark your calendars for this semester's first Weston Roundtable Lecture! The Weston Roundtable series, co-sponsored by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and SAGE (the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment), focuses on issues in sustainability science, technology, and policy. Each seminar includes significant time for Q&A and discussion, and is preceded by tea/cookies for networking with colleagues across campus. We've have some fantastic talks scheduled for this coming semester, with research, business, and communication leaders from on- and off-campus. 

Graduate students interested in earning 1-credit for weekly attendance are invited to enroll in ES900 Seminar in Sustainability Science, Technology, and Policy. But, enrolled or not, we hope all students, faculty, and researchers will mark this exciting series as a regular part of your weekly schedule

Our first talk of 2011 addresses recycled materials, by UW-Madison's own, Prof. Craig Benson.

Hope to see you there this week and in future weeks! 

Prof. Craig Benson
"The Role of Recycled Materials in Sustainable Infrastructure"
Geological Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering, UW-Madison
Place: 1106 Mechanical Engineering

Prof. Craig Benson

Thursday, January 27 4:15 - 5:15
tea/cookies from 4:00 - 4:15

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Welcome back!

I hope everyone had a nice holiday season and a relaxing and recharging break from classes and research. Hopefully the break has recharged your creativity and motivation, and you're ready to move on your Climate Leadership Challenge ideas!

Did you know that the Climate Leadership Challenge is the biggest environmental innovation competition on a college campus? Your innovative solutions to the causes or impacts of climate change could make a real impact on the world and could win you $50,000!

A reminder: we're looking for all kinds of innovation -- technical and social alike. You can propose a product or a program, as long as you are presenting a new idea, or a novel improvement on something that's already out there. Your idea needs to be action-ready -- something you could implement if given the necessary time and resources. And your idea needs to be scalable -- something that may start small or local, but that has the capacity to grow and expand, impacting a greater area or a larger population.

There's no time to waste. Proposals are due in just over two months. While we do not require you to have your product manufactured or your program in place, you do need to outline exactly how you will get from point A to point B, and how if given time and money, you would move your idea forward. The further you develop your idea, the better. Be sure to make the connection to climate change as clear as you can.

Still looking for a team? Follow these steps to help find some teammates.

Have an idea with which you're already moving forward? Make an appointment to come chat with me about it. I keep all conversations and ideas confidential, and it is to your benefit to share at least the generals with me. I am here to make sure you're on track with what we're looking for, and to steer you to helpful resources. So email me at sageCLC at gmail to set up a time to chat.

Good luck, and get moving!!