Back to top

Berkeley Lab Hosts Cleantech Pitchfest

Berkeley Lab's popular Science at the Theater travels across the Bay to San Francisco's Marines' Memorial Theatre to present the Lab’s first Cleantech Pitchfest. Which of 6 big new ideas designed to help transform our carbon-drenched, overheating world should get the first shot? Six Berkeley Lab scientists have 8 minutes each to persuade you that their technology has the most promise and social value.

 
The event, co-sponsored by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, will be held on Wednesday, June 1 from 7-9 p.m. There will be time for questions.
 
 
MyGreenCar: Test driving “virtually” to compare real fuel economy and EV range
A Berkeley Lab scientist specializing in all things vehicular—from powertrain technologies, vehicle electri­fication and vehicle-grid integration to advanced engine technologies, personalized fuel economy and EV range prediction—Samveg (Sam) Saxena is leading the development of a new app called MyGreenCar. MyGreen Car predicts personalized fuel economy and eliminates EV range anxiety as a barrier for prospective car buyers. He also leads the development of V2G-Sim, a research platform for understanding how vehicles will interface with the grid.
 
Recycling CO2: Fueling your car on recycled CO2
Kendra Kuhl co-founded Opus 12 to ­find out if an electrochemical process, operating inside a desk-sized reactor, can do on an industrial scale what is often hailed as the Holy Grail of carbon-recycling research—convert CO2 captured from smokestacks into ethanol and other valuable products. A self-proclaimed chemistry geek in high school, the Berkeley Lab scientist honed her big idea while completing her PhD at Stanford.
 
DIY Efficient Windows: Applying paint-on coatings for energy-efficient windows
Replacing millions of porous windows with energy-effi­cient versions in older buildings and homes can be prohibitively expensive. Berkeley Lab’s Raymond Weitekamp, a Caltech PhD, has a new approach: an inexpensive, paint-on, energy-ef­ficient coating that can be applied simply and evenly without the help of a professional—while the windows are still in place. The paintable, clear material contains photonic crystals, developed by his startup company PolySpectra.
 
Nanoscale Sponges: Capturing carbon with metal-organic frameworks
Removing excess carbon from an overheating atmosphere is an urgent and complicated problem. The answer, according to Berkeley Lab’s Jeff Urban, could lie at the nanoscale, where specially designed cage-like structures called metal organic frameworks, or MOFs, can trap large amounts of carbon in microscopically tiny structures. A Harvard PhD with expertise in thermoelectrics, gas separation and hydrogen storage, Urban directs teams at the Molecular Foundry’s Inorganic Materials Facility.
 
CalWave: Harnessing energy from ocean waves
At CalWave, Marcus Lehmann is developing the WaveCarpet, which harnesses the power of ocean waves to produce electricity and freshwater. Avoiding the pitfalls of other wave-energy projects, the WaveCarpet operates submerged, allowing it to survive stormy seas while causing no visual pollution or posing any collision danger. Recently CalWave was selected as one of nine ­finalists to compete for DOE’s Wave Energy Prize—a 20-month design-build-test competition. Earlier this year, the German-born Marcus.
 
Energy-Efficient Desalination: Making fresh water from salty sources on the cheap
Current desalination techniques require huge amounts of energy and generate large amounts of environmental waste. Berkeley Lab’s Chinmayee Subban, a Cornell PhD, leads a desalination research project that doubles the effi­ciency of salt removal—while reducing energy use—by incorporating an innovative mix of low-cost materials. The technique could help relieve the stress on global water supplies by reclaiming brackish water in the US and other countries and providing clean water in the developing world.
 
The event will be held at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter (at Mason), San Francisco, CA 94102, near Union Square - Embarcadero BART station, Stockton Sutter Garage, Union Square Garage. The event is free, but RSVP is required at http://cleantech-pitch.eventbrite.com/?aff=Cal6116.