Allegheny Region Cleantech University Prize (CUP) Collegiate Competition

Congratulations to spotLESS Materials LLC, Allegheny Cleantech UP Competition’s first place team, for making it to the Department of Defense’s final round!


spotLESS Materials LLC
Allegheny Cleantech UP winning teams competing at the national competition in Houston

From June 27-28, seven teams that competed in the Allegheny Cleantech University Prize Collegiate Competition, hosted by the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University Energy Week 2018, traveled to Houston, Texas to participate in the national Cleantech UP Competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy. At Rice University, the top clean technology startups in the nation competed for $135,000 in prizes. Learn about the participating teams.

About The Competition

The 2018 Allegheny Region Cleantech University Prize (CUP) Collegiate Competition took place on Friday, April 6, 2018. View photos from the event:

2018 Allegheny Region Cleantech University Prize Competition

The competition provides the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs and innovators with funding for business development and commercialization training, and other educational opportunities.

The Allegheny CUP Competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Office. The DOE’s Cleantech University Prize aims to inspire the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs and innovators by providing them with competitive funding for business development and commercialization training and other educational opportunities. Carnegie Mellon University is one of eight institutions who are hosting the Cleantech UP competition.

This year, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is offering a single $35,000 prize at the National Cleantech University Prize Competition to one winning team with a prototype.  In addition to the three teams eligible to compete at the National Competition for the DOE prize, each participating regional competition is eligible to send 1-2 qualified teams for this prize track. Note that there is no DoD prize available at the regional competition level. Learn more.

Learn More

Watch this video to hear from the DOE’s Tech-to-Market Program Manager and to learn more about the 2018 competition:

View Dr. Deborah Stine’s presentation slides on the Allegheny Cleantech UP Competition [.pdf].

The Top Reasons Teams Apply:

  • $50,000 First Place, sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, plus potential for additional prizes at the national competition. There are additional cash prizes for second and third place finishers in the Allegheny Competition.
  • The top three teams can compete at the National CUP Competition for a total of $100,000 in prizes. 
  • Introductions to Regional and National Incubators and Accelerators.
  • Technical, Legal, and Business Mentoring.
  • Education on Entrepreneurship.
  • Real-world feedback from judges and investors.

Success Stories

allegheny cleantech up competitors by the numbers
Achievements of the 2016/2017 Allegheny Cleantech UP Competitors By the Numbers

RoBotany (Carnegie Mellon University)

This indoor vertical farming company, who won the $50K Allegheny Cleantech UP in 2017, uses automated robotics and software analytics to transform modern agriculture. Since then:

  • RoBotany has completed a 2,000 square-foot, 25-foot tall Version 2 farm with a full processing line over the summer and are now building a 20,000 square-foot farm that will produce over 2,000 pounds per day. Learn more in TribLive.
  • The Pittsburgh Business Times  recognized CEO Austin Webb as a leader who will shape the future of Pittsburgh with its inaugural class of “30 under 30” awards.
  • Webb was a featured speaker at the LaunchCMU event, “Robotics in Manufacturing” that took place in October 2017. The event showcased artificial intelligence and robotics entrepreneurship while bringing together the investment community, regional business leaders and CMU alumni.

Teratonix (Carnegie Mellon University)

The company’s maintenance-free solution converts ambient radio waves to generate electricity on a spot. After placing second in the 2017 Allegheny Cleantech UP Competition, Teratonix:

Manta Biofuel (University of Maryland)

This Baltimore-based biotechnology firm has developed a three-step method for producing renewable crude oil from algae. At the 2016 Allegheny Cleantech UP Competition, they tied for second place with Waven Technologies, a team from Carnegie Mellon. Since the competition, Manta Biofuel has:

  • Secured a $100K investment from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation.
  • Received a two-year $1M Department of Energy Small Business Innovation Research Grant.
  • Moved 10 staff to their first permanent office space. In this indoor location they can develop and manufacture equipment independent of weather condition. Read more in MDBiz News.

Read about other past competitor’s accomplishments.

The Allegheny Cleantech UP Competition is sponsored by:

Scott Institute-resizedCleantechUP_colorDoD_Logo