UTA Student Wins Greenovation Contest

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A University of Texas at Arlington student won the Texas Greenovation Contest, an annual competition aimed at inspiring students, entrepreneurs and business owners to identify green business ideas.

I spent more than five years on this research. Winning this competition is a huge honor

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A University of Texas at Arlington student won the Texas Greenovation Contest, an annual competition aimed at inspiring students, entrepreneurs and business owners to identify green business ideas.

The Texas Greenovation Contest is part of a national Greenovation program spearheaded by IMC, Inc., a state and federally funded organization supporting growth in manufacturers based in Williamsport, PA.

Benjamin Johnston, a PhD student studying biomedical engineering, earned first place with his idea for a microbial fuel tube. His concept breaks down organic waste cast out by food processing companies, waste water treatment plants, and others. The concept helps reduce waste and lessen the impact on the environment with membrane and photovoltaic technologies. Additionally, the hydrogen bi-product of the process could be used to power equipment within an organization. The event was sponsored by the University of Texas at Arlington, the Small Business Development Center for Enterprise Excellence and TMAC.

The judges chose Johnston as the winner for his experience in the field of biomedical engineering, the green applications and the commercialization potential. “I spent more than five years on this research. Winning this competition is a huge honor,” Johnston said.

The competition’s second place winner, Rod Ekern, developed a method to re-purpose household waste water from sinks and bath tubs for use in home landscaping. The third place winner, David Cozad, developed a process to harvest solar power from highway bridges.

Johnston received a prize package valued at nearly $15,000. Sponsors providing the prizes included Planet Eureka, TMAC, Michael A. Fee CPA, Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller, L.L.P., Texas Green Source, Capital One Bank and the U.S. Green Chamber.

The judging panel included a cross section of professionals in the business and green communities. The five judges of the competition were from the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling, an SMU adjunct professor for Environmental Sustainability, an UTA associate professor of Civil Engineering and a CPA from B2B CFO.

Texas looks forward to hosting their next Greenovation Contest in spring 2012.

To learn more about the national Greenovation program encouraging green and sustainable product development regionally – visit http://www.greenovationcontest.com.

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Katie Bell
IMC, Inc.
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