Innovative Nanoparticle Coating Tool Wins Cleantech UP Prize at Rice Business Plan Competition

April 12, 2017

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Swift Coat from Arizona State University won the top Cleantech University Prize award at the 2017 Rice Business Plan Competition. The company's novel technology includes an aerosol can-inspired tool to deliver highly customizable nanoparticle coatings. The nanoparticles can be applied to a variety of surfaces--hard or soft, smooth or rough, flat or curved. Swift Coat is currently developing solutions to help lower the cost of solar photovoltaic panels. The team estimates their technology can decrease solar cell producers' capital expenses by 16% and lower manufacturing costs by 10%. 

The two runner-up teams also invited to compete for $100,000 in prizes at the Energy Department's National Cleantech UP Competition in June are MITO Material Solutions from Oklahoma State University and Lilac Solutions from Northwestern University.  MITO Material Solutions’ innovative nano-additive infused with epoxy or resin used in fiber reinforced composites enables lighter and tougher composite materials that can increase transportation sector fuel efficiency. Lilac Solutions’ lithium extraction process uses unique ion exchange materials to boost lithium production and bypass traditional evaporation pond methods, thereby reducing costs, decreasing environmental impacts, and increasing output of this critical resource for electric batteries.

Swift Coat, MITO Material Solutions, and Lilac Solutions were just three of 42 teams competing at the 2017 Rice Business Plan Competition. To see their quick pitches and learn about the other competitors, visit the competition's website

DOE’s Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) business plan competitions provide aspiring student entrepreneurs with the mentorship, business development skills and training, and investor feedback they need to turn their clean energy ideas into businesses offering real-world solutions. Cleantech UP is part of the Tech-to-Market Program within the Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy.