CEMS students, postdoc win Crucible Prize awards

Congratulations to the winners of the 2nd Annual Crucible Prize sponsored by Navjot Singh (PhD ChE ’94) and Nithya Iyer Singh (MS Pharmaceutics ’94). The Crucible Prize competition invited participants to present a 10 minute pitch presentation followed by five minutes of Q&A to a panel of two commercialization experts. The top three teams were awarded prizes of $2,000, $500, and $250.

CEMS graduate students Zach McAllister and Mauricio De Leo won the competition with their pitch for "Greener Forward: A sustainable energy storage solution." By powering an ammonia microplant using wind energy during low demand periods, energy can be stored in the form of ammonia for it to be later used as a fuel source as needed. The process increases the yield of ammonia per unit energy by allowing a lower pressure, lower energy conversion relative to the Haber Bosch process thanks to a Mg-based selective ammonia absorbent.

Graduate students Joshua Goetze, Justin Hopkins and Anahita Mobaseri claimed Second Place with their product, "Flash Freeze." Current ice cream makers are plagued by poor heat and mass transfer–leading to long-mixing times and often poorly textured ice cream. By engineering ice cream makers to achieve better mixing, Flash Freeze offers ice cream makers the ability to make single servings of ice cream in under five minutes. This design offers better ice cream, all while being more convenient than current ice cream makers. Together with pre-made flavoring packets, Flash Freeze can bring the ice cream parlor experience directly into people's homes.

Dr. Raisa Carmen Andeme Ela, a CEMS postdoctoral associate, won Third Place for her product, "Smart Wristband: Neutralizing Lactose Intolerance," which monitors accidental lactose ingestion and stops the onset of symptoms. A simple, yet attractive wristband made from biomass-derived rubber, sensitive to, and capable of signaling an increase in hydrogen gas levels emanating from the skin.

CEMS graduate students Huy Nguyen and Mayank Tanwar earned an Honorable Mention for "ZetaChem," which is a high-throughput chemicals manufacturing team whose core expertise is designing inexpensive and optimal pathways for producing a range of chemicals. ZetaChem is a business-to-business start-up designing and developing patent-protected manufacturing technologies licensed to concerned corporations and focused on market surveillance, materials discovery, high-throughput experimentation, patents and licensing, and marketing and sales. ZetaChem provides innovative and economical solutions to the constantly evolving sphere of chemical manufacturing.

Andrew Jones (ChE ’09, Chem ’10), CEO of Activated Research Company and CEO of Carba, and Michael Skinner, Entrepreneur at General Mills, served as judges for the competition. 

Congratulations to all of the participants and winners!