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.