MIT offers US$200k prize for alternative energy technologies

MIT Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Prize on offer

MIT is offering a US$200,000 prize to the entrepreneur who develops the most innovative alternative energy technology.

Announced Wednesday, the MIT Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Prize is being funded by utility company NStar Electric & Gas Corp. and the U.S. Department of Energy.

"The ultimate goal of this contest is to find innovative solutions to transform today's energy systems into tomorrow's sustainable energy future," said MIT President Susan Hockfield in a statement.

The contest is designed to speed up the development of alternative energy. MIT is encouraging start-up student and professional teams, regardless of their backgrounds or experience, to participate. As the competition progresses, the teams will be put through a "rigorous" mentoring, coaching and selection process.

The semifinalists and finalists will present and defend a full business plan before a panel of energy experts and venture capitalists. The panel will choose the winning team and runners up on May 14. In addition to the grand prize of US$200,000, the judges will award three runners-up US$20,000 each.

The competition begins February 15 and will take place on the MIT campus. More information on the contest is available on the MIT Clean Energy competition Web site.

"Meeting the world's energy needs requires much more than great ideas; we also need creative approaches," said Ernest Moniz, director of the MIT Energy Initiative. "This competition provides another tool to meet the enormous challenges of the 21st century."

On Tuesday Google Inc. said it will invest in developing ways to create electricity from renewable energy sources that will be cheaper than the electricity produced from coal.

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