WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) along with fellow founding partners NASA, the U.S.
Department of State, and NIKE, Inc. announced today the ten innovators selected
to participate in their LAUNCH: Energy challenge. LAUNCH is a unique initiative
formed to identify solutions to the world’s most urgent sustainability
challenges. The focus of this year’s challenge is energy, and the finalists have
been chosen for their groundbreaking ideas for the provision of more sustainable
energy sources and improved access to energy for both developed and developing
The LAUNCH program identifies innovations poised to create transformational
change in critical sustainability issues, connects innovators to thought leaders
and advisors, and then provides resources and guidance in order to accelerate
the implementation of the technologies and projects. The LAUNCH: Energy Forum,
which brings together innovators and council members, will take place at the
Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 11-13.
“Access to sustainable sources of energy is one of the 21st century’s
greatest challenges, and this group of innovators stands a real chance of making
a significant impact in meeting that challenge,” said Dr. Alex Dehgan, Science
and Technology Adviser to the Administrator at USAID. “USAID is committed to
supporting visionary ideas in the energy sector. We look forward to working with
this remarkable group of people and to playing our part in accelerating their
The innovator organizations, the individuals representing them and their
innovations are listed below.
- Gram Power: Yashraj Khaitan – A micro/mini-grid solution
for underserved communities that utilizes modular battery storage technology,
energy management intelligence, and a pre-payment model.
- Hydrovolts: Burt Hamner – An affordable “Switchblade”
turbine and “Flipwing” turbine rotor that enables reliable hydroelectricity
generation from canals and other managed-flow water courses.
- Turbococina: Rene Nunez Suarez – A revolutionary clean and
efficient wood combustion cookstove.
- Point Source Power: Craig Jacobson – An economical fuel
cell for emerging markets that allows battery charging in cooking pits or fires.
- The Solanterns Initiative: Nina Marsalek – An initiative
dedicated to replacing 1 million of Kenya’s kerosene lanterns with solar powered
lights and to creating micro-entrepreneur jobs.
- Powerzoa: Jamie Simon – A smart system that allows
enterprise-level energy managers to automate control of energy down to the
appliance level, stopping power waste.
- Promethean Power Systems: Sorin Grama – A rural
refrigeration system for commercial cold-storage applications in off-grid and
partially electrified areas of developing countries.
- Thermofluidics: Mark Bryant – A pumping device that uses
low-temperature heat to generate fluid motion with very few moving parts.
- ITN Energy Systems: Ashutosh Misra – A revolutionary
flexible electrochromic film for windows that allows active control of the sun’s
transmitted light and heat.
- NanoTune Technologies: Frank Wang – A new generation
ultracapacitor with five to seven times greater energy storage capacity than
During the three day forum, innovators will discuss their proposed solutions
to energy issues with LAUNCH Council members, who represent the business,
investment, international development, policy, engineering, science,
communications and sustainability sectors. The sessions are designed to identify
key challenges and opportunities for the entrepreneurs’ innovations in an effort
to accelerate these transformative innovations into the world with impact and
Profiles of the innovators and their innovations can be found at www.launch.org . Real-time Forum information will
also be available on the website, while video of the innovators’ presentations
will be available soon after the forum. Interested members of the public can
watch portions of the Forum live online-please check www.launch.org near the
start of the forum for the UStream feed URL.
To learn more about LAUNCH, visit: www.launch.org
For more information about USAID, visit www.usaid.gov.
For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit: www.nasa.gov
For more information about the U.S. Department of State, visit www.state.gov
For more information about NIKE, visit www.nike.com