Oak Ridge National Laboratory

 

News Release

Media Contact: Larisa M. Brass ()
Communications and External Relations

 

Speaker, judges set for Global Venture Challenge

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 12, 2008 — Noted "green energy" entrepreneur K.R. Sridhar will be the keynote speaker at this year's Global Venture Challenge, a business competition and venture forum to be held April 2-4 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The focus of this year's event is on energy-related technologies and companies including the bioenergy, energy efficiency and power generation sectors.

Sridhar, CEO of Bloom Energy, is developing a fuel cell with an eye on the distributed-energy industry. Last year, CNNMoney.com tagged his company one of 10 "next disruptor" startups, and Sridhar has been cited by a number of major financial and news publications in regard to next-generation energy issues. Prior to founding the company, Dr. Sridhar was a professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering as well as director of the Space Technologies Laboratory at the University of Arizona.

The Global Venture Challenge will feature an Idea to Product Competition, in which 17 interdisciplinary teams of students from universities, along with one high school team, will pitch their business ideas oriented around technologies to help solve the world's growing energy problems. Team submissions will be judged by diverse panels of energy executives, venture capitalists, legal experts, researchers and entrepreneurs. The winning team will receive a $25,000 cash prize.

Coupled with the competition will be the Energy Venture Showcase in which start-up companies will present their energy-related technologies to a panel of leading venture capital investors from across the country. This year, business competition judges and VC representatives will include firms representing $6 billion under management. Attendees will include Mohr Davidow Ventures, Battelle Ventures and Innovation Valley Partners, Lux Capital, Agile Equities, Flagship Ventures and Meritus Ventures.

A leading center for energy research, Oak Ridge National Laboratory is home to a variety of programs in energy efficiency, renewable energy and nuclear power technologies. ORNL recently was awarded $125 million to establish the BioEnergy Science Center, one of three DOE bioenergy research centers, for cost effective development of bioethanol from sources such as grasses and trees.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy. For more information on the Global Venture Challenge see: www.globalventurechallenge.com.