The ACC Clean Energy Challenge drew competitors from six states and the "terrific 10" teams met to compete head-to-head to compete for the $100k DOE grand prize at North Carolina State University on Tuesday April 9th. The ACC Clean Energy Challenge included eight ACC schools, and two competitive outsiders. The first ten teams spent the first part of the day pitching individually in front of a panel of judges, and these judges selected the "final four" to pitch their ideas in front of a new set of judges and the public audience. The final four teams included:

  • Clemson University: Brewcovery - Developing bio-separations and bio-digestion processes to recover and refine value-added co-products from the bio-based food industry and brewery waste.
  • Duke University: Refrakt - Developing portable membrane distillation technology for industrial operations to provide wastewater treatment and reuse solutions.
  • North Carolina A&T University: Bioadhesive Alliance - Developing a bio-based adhesive that is green, low-cost and durable, and can be used as a substitute to petroleum-based asphalt binder.
  • North Carolina State University: Granular Systems - Developing a patent-pending energy analysis system for industrial and manufacturing facilities that tracks equipment performance, helps optimize operations and helps lower energy usage.

After intense deliberations, Bioadhesive Alliance Inc. emerged as the grand prize $100k winner. The company is developing and manufacturing “PiGrid”, a bio-based adhesive that is green, low cost, and durable and can be utilized as a substitute to petroleum-based asphalt binder. PiGrid’s bio-adhesive is a sustainable resource for petroleum-asphalt binder that provides the pavement industry a lower production cost and an enhanced performance product, and it provides a solution for hog producers, governments, and trade associations looking for appropriate solutions for waste management from traditional swine waste decomposition lagoon designs. Bioadhesive Alliance Inc. will now move onto the National Competition in June. 

The second place winner from Clemson University, Brewcovery, took home a $5k prize for placing second. Brewcovery's innovative system creates energy and value from the bio-based wastes from food industries and breweries while reducing the carbon footprint of these facilities as well as the carbon footprint and economics of the end users of the products sold. These products include bio-lipids for biofuel production, organic nitrogen and phosphorus rich soil amendments, and high protein animal feeds. Brewcovery will be invited to attend the National Competition, but is not eligible for the final prizes. 

The ACC Clean Energy Challenge is the Southeastern region of the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition.