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Husk Insulation wins $200,000 MIT Clean Energy Prize

Team from University of Michigan focused on advanced bio-based insulation
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The MIT Clean Energy Prize has announced that Husk Insulation was selected from more than 100 student entries from 40 colleges and universities across the country to receive the $200,000 MIT Clean Energy Grand Prize sponsored by NSTAR and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Husk Insulation, from the University of Michigan, plays in the rapidly growing market for advanced insulation, part of the $7 billion U.S. insulation market. Husk's innovative and patented solution converts agricultural waste into cost-effective vacuum insulated panels, a type of high-grade insulation that delivers up to 10 times the insulative effectiveness of conventional insulation. Husk answers the global demand for energy by delivering energy efficiency that could ultimately reduce U.S. energy consumption by more than 57 billion kilowatt-hours. Husk's products will ultimately serve a variety of markets, including refrigeration, housing and transportation.

"Husk's team members are from backgrounds ranging from high-tech to chemical engineering, marketing and finance. The team's experience coupled with their passion for improving energy efficiency through the use of bio-based byproducts has enabled Husk to produce innovative insulation products that will help businesses and individuals make cost-effective and sustainable environmental change," said Shally Madan, VP of Business Development for Husk Insulation.

The MIT Clean Energy Prize competition is a national program focused on students to accelerate the pace of clean energy entrepreneurship. It provides capital resources and support to help the next generation of entrepreneurs jumpstart a business venture on an emerging clean energy innovation with significant market potential.

"I congratulate Husk Insulation and all the participants. NSTAR is proud to help found this competition to encourage our best and brightest young minds to focus on creating a future where energy is clean," said NSTAR Chairman, CEO, and President Thomas J. May.

"The competition this year has really taken hold as the premier clean energy entrepreneurship competition in the world -- run for and by students. Its role to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation is the vision that MIT, NSTAR and the DOE had when the competition was founded just last year," said Bill Aulet, competition chairman and senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

The MIT Clean Energy Prize is being administered in partnership with MIT's $100K Entrepreneurship Competition -- the most well known student business plan competition in the United States that has facilitated the birth of more than 85 companies and created more than 2,500 jobs.

For further information on the MIT Clean Energy Prize, go to

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 20, 2009 (download PDF).

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