Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Scientists Benefit as Much as Students from “Cleantech to Market” Program

Better Solar team members (left to right) Stephanie Rohrs, Allen Birsch, Christian Sjogren and Taejoon Park take questions from the audience after making a pitch for the mock company they formed for the Cleantech to Market business class. (photos by Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs)
Better Solar team members (left to right) Stephanie Rohrs, Allen Birsch, Christian Sjogren and Taejoon Park take questions from the audience after making a pitch for the mock company they formed for the Cleantech to Market business class. (photos by Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs)

Abstract:
Launched as a pilot project at Berkeley Lab, the Cleantech to Market program is finishing its first semester as an official class at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, and it's safe to say the students learned more than they expected on how to take a technology from the laboratory to the marketplace. What was less expected is how much the scientists got out of the program.

Scientists Benefit as Much as Students from “Cleantech to Market” Program

Berkeley, CA | Posted on May 18th, 2010

"It was phenomenal," said Cyrus Wadia, co-director of the C2M program. "They absorbed more information than I ever expected. Then they took my ideas and put a creative spin on them, and went in a direction I hadn't even thought of."

Five students took a nanosolar invention by Wadia, who is working at the White House Office of Science and Technology while on a one-year leave from Berkeley Lab, and developed a market strategy and investment pitch around it, after conducting exhaustive market research. Their conclusion: to position the thin film solar technology for the off-grid market in rural areas of developing countries, such as India.

Similarly, a group of students worked on a thin film silicon solar invention with physicists Alex Zettl, Marvin Cohen and Steve Louie of the Materials Sciences Division and built a mock company around it, which they named Better Silicon. "But for us, this wasn't just an exercise," said Zettl. "We're ready to go. They came up with appropriate business models we thought made sense. I was impressed with how quickly they were up to speed."

Their presentations were delivered last Friday to an audience of scientists, faculty and energy industry professionals. Started as a pilot project by Berkeley Lab's Technology Transfer Department, the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative and Haas professor Catherine Wolfram, Cleantech to Market became so popular that it is now housed at the Energy Institute at Haas and was offered as a class for the first time this semester. Nearly 120 students applied for 42 seats. "It's closer to an incubator than a class," said program co-director Bev Alexander. "We are receiving many requests to expand."

Students were assigned to work on one of 10 technologies—half from Berkeley Lab and half from UC Berkeley. The majority of students were in the business school, with a handful coming from programs in law, engineering, sciences and energy and resources. "We were very intentional about matching students with technologies," said Alexander. "We selected them as if we were creating a company."

No real startups have emerged from C2M so far, but some interest is starting to emerge. More importantly, the program provides a new pathway for commercializing the inventions produced by Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley scientists, a path that is more time-consuming than many scientists realize and requires more in-depth research than the technology transfer offices usually have time for.

"The students have provided a deep dive not only into the technologies but also into a broad variety of business models, which is very useful for our scientists," said Cheryl Fragiadakis, director of Berkeley Lab's Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management Department.

Of course the most important product of the program is the students themselves, who leave C2M savvy about commercializing early-stage technologies, not only giving them a head start, but helping to propel the larger clean tech mission in Berkeley and beyond. "Our collective opportunity in the Berkeley area—on campus, in the labs and across the East Bay Green Corridor—is to continue building our cleantech entrepreneurial community, similar to efforts at Caltech [the California Institute of Technology] and Stanford," said Alexander. "We want to help do that specifically around energy."

Berkeley Lab materials scientist Ramamoorthy Ramesh, who participated in C2M last year and plans to do so again this year, said the research and recommendations provided by the students were very valuable. "When I was at the University of Maryland, I did a similar program, and they charged me $3,000," he said. "The [Berkeley] students were fantastic. One was ready to go do a startup with me."

Industry participation is a key element to the program's success. "The program exceeded my expectations by far," said MBA candidate Cristian Sjogren, who worked on the Better Silicon team and plans to start a solar company in his native Chile. "We're very lucky to have worked with among the top scientists in the world today. And we met with venture capitalists, who gave feedback on our projects, and also lawyers on intellectual property. I could never have gotten that in another course."

Some credit the class with influencing their career direction. "This class has given me access to clean energy. It helped me make the transitions MBAs are always trying to make," said MBA candidate Carlo Woods, who used to work in finance and accounting. "My internship this summer is with a solar firm."

Another student team was assigned a different sort of technology: OpenADR, or Open Automated Demand Response, a communications specification developed at Berkeley Lab to help buildings save power during peak times, which is now in use in more than 200 large facilities in California.

"The team's assignment was to find ways to accelerate national deployment of this free technology to utilities and control companies," said Rish Ghatikar from Berkeley Lab, who assisted the students with the project. "It's different since it is a non-proprietary technology with a lot of societal benefits."

The students produced a 35-page report as well as a list of the top 10 barriers to adoption and suggestions to overcome each one. One of their recommended actions was to launch a third-party nonprofit to focus on outreach and managing the perceptions of OpenADR.

"Marketing and storytelling are not what the Berkeley Lab people are brilliant at, so they need to find partners," said student Laura Schewel, who is getting a degree in Energy & Resources. "This project illustrates why we need people to buckle down and execute in the energy field."

Mary Ann Piette, who helped develop OpenADR, plans to pursue some of the recommendations. "It's extremely valuable," she said. "We don't think the way they do. We have explored many of their ideas, but we need a broad portfolio of outreach strategies."

Lab researchers with intellectual property or ideas that might be commercialized in the clean tech arena who are interested in participating in the C2M program should contact the Technology Transfer Department at

####

About Berkeley Lab
Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the DOE Office of Science. Visit our Website at www.lbl.gov.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Julie Chao
(510) 486-6491

Copyright © Berkeley Lab

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Thin films

Discovery of new transparent thin film material could improve electronics and solar cells: Conductivity is highest-ever for thin film oxide semiconductor material May 6th, 2017

MIT Energy Initiative awards 10 seed fund grants for early-stage energy research May 4th, 2017

Nanomechanics, Inc. Unveils New Product at ICMCTF Show April 25th: Nanoindentation experts will launch the new Gemini that measures the interaction of two objects that are sliding across each other – not merely making contact April 21st, 2017

Nanomechanics Inc. President Warren Oliver, PhD to Present at ICMCTF: Nanoindentation experts will discuss new testing system that measures the interaction of two objects that are sliding across each other – not merely making contact April 17th, 2017

Academic/Education

MIT Energy Initiative awards 10 seed fund grants for early-stage energy research May 4th, 2017

Bar-Ilan University to set up quantum research center May 1st, 2017

California Research Alliance by BASF establishes more than 25 research projects in three years April 26th, 2017

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Announces Total of 172 Teams Selected to Compete in Solar in Your Community Challenge: Teams from 40 states, plus Washington, DC, 2 Territories, and 4 American Indian Reservations, Will Deploy Solar in Underserved Communities April 20th, 2017

Announcements

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Energy

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable May 24th, 2017

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

Fed grant backs nanofiber development: Rice University joins Department of Energy 'Next Generation Machines' initiative May 10th, 2017

Discovery of new transparent thin film material could improve electronics and solar cells: Conductivity is highest-ever for thin film oxide semiconductor material May 6th, 2017

Events/Classes

Nanomechanics, Inc. to Exhibit at the SEM Conference: Nanoindentation experts will attend and exhibit their instruments at the Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics in Indianapolis May 25th, 2017

Leti to Demo 1st Wireless UNB Transceiver for ‘Massive Internet of Things’ at RFIC 2017 and IMS 2017: Leti Will also Present Three Papers & Two Workshops on 5G Communications IC Design, from RF to mm-Wave, During IMS 2017 and RFIC 2017 in Hawaii May 24th, 2017

Leti Will Demo World’s-first WVGA 10-µm Pitch GaN Microdisplays for Augmented Reality Video at Display Week in Los Angles: Invited Paper also Will Present Leti’s Success with New Augmented Reality Technology That Reduces Pixel Pitch to Less than 5 Microns May 22nd, 2017

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research and Microscopy and Analysis Present the Webinar: “Video-Rate Atomic Force Microscopy Enables New Research Opportunities” May 9th, 2017

Solar/Photovoltaic

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable May 24th, 2017

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

Fed grant backs nanofiber development: Rice University joins Department of Energy 'Next Generation Machines' initiative May 10th, 2017

Discovery of new transparent thin film material could improve electronics and solar cells: Conductivity is highest-ever for thin film oxide semiconductor material May 6th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project