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NUvention: Projects
2014 NUvention: Energy Projects

DemandCharge

Team DemandCharge is working on a battery appliance that reduces demand charges for small commercial customers. These demand charges are billed on your peak power usage and can account for up to 50-60% of a certain business' electricity costs. By charging at low usage and discharging at peak usage, DemandCharge's appliance will save you money for no money down financing.

Greenfii

If people could help reduce peak demand to balance the load, it would reduce the cost to the utilities and people themselves. Greenfii is creating an interface between power companies and their customers to help them communicate their load shedding needs. 

greenSox

greenSOX utilizes a new solid oxide fuel cell technology to compete with natural-gas load following and peaker plants as coal plants are being phased out. In particular, our patented technology allows the highly efficient and stable reverse operation of an SOFC to directly produce methane through electrolysis.  This feature, combined with the highly efficient forward operation, allows us the possibility of balancing fuel costs in forward mode during peak electricity demand hours by utilizing low-cost and waste electricity to pump natural gas back to the grid through electrolysis in off-hours. Using assumptions from demonstrated laboratory scale devices, computational full system models, and our own market research, we believe an electricity production price of 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour is attainable with this technology. Moreover, the electrolysis from wastewater and CO2 during forward operation allows this operation to approach near zero net CO2 emissions at the plant site. We expect construction of large-scale devices to be highly profitable, although capital intensive.

Phoenix Materials

Phoenix Materials is building a business case around licensing a p-type thermoelectric material patented by Northwestern University and selling the material to thermoelectric generator manufacturers. Our p-type material is 30% more efficient at converting heat into electricity than any other known material. Any thermoelectric generator built with our material has two really compelling advantages: 1) Generators using our material could create more electricity with the same footprint or 2) Decrease the footprint and produce the same amount of electricity. Either scenario would open up a wider range of applications for thermoelectric devices.

SustainAerobic

Anaerobic digesters have been successful in many countries but not in United States. The main reasons are they they are capital intensive (over 1 million dollar) and that the main outputs (electricity or biogas) have low price in the US market. SustainAerobic will increase production rates by ~5x and lower capital costs by 15% using a patented process developed by Argonne National Lab, thus making this industry much more profitable.

TiGris Technologies

TiGris Technologies tackles the issue of water purity by providing a highly efficient photocatalyst that breaks down organic contaminants. We offer a countertop water filtration device and sell ease of mind to households concerned about the safety of their drinking water, at prices comparable to a Brita. We plan to reach our geographically dispersed consumers by distributing our product through an online subscription model. This will additionally allow us to donate filters to water crisis areas via a matching donation system.

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