U Michigan, DTE Team Up To Launch $100,000 Clean Energy Prize

A new competition is challenging teams from Michigan colleges and universities to develop the best business plans for bringing new clean energy technologies to market. Organized by DTE Energy and the University of Michigan, the Clean Energy Prize challenge will award $100,000 in prize money during spring 2009 in an effort to help draw emerging technologies out of university labs in Michigan and into the commercial space.

The U Michigan Ross School of Business' Zell & Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute, along with student organizations MPowered Entrepreneurship and the Ross Energy Club are organizing the competition. The competition is open to students and faculty from all Michigan colleges and universities. Each team must have at least one U Michigan student or faculty member.

"The marriage of business and engineering talents that this competition will create will be of great benefit to clean tech commercialization," said Thomas Kinnear, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute.

The competition will require that teams focus on business ideas that support renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grid technologies, environmental control technologies, plug-in electric vehicles, or energy storage.

The business plan entries will be judged by independent panels that will include members of the venture capital, business, industry, and academic communities.

Assuming this initial competition is successful, it is envisioned that the competition will be held in subsequent years with an annual prize pool of $200,000.

DTE Energy is a Detroit-based energy company. The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies provides the curriculum, program initiatives, community involvement, and alumni outreach activities for Ross School of Business at U Michigan. The Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute develops, coordinates and promotes multidisciplinary energy research and education at U Michigan.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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