The First Look West (FLoW) winners for 2015

Congratulations to our 2015 winners! (L to R): Transformational Idea Award - Nicholas Hutson Flanders from Obtainium; Third Prize - Ankita Ghoshal of Reebeez; First Prize - Amrit Robbins from Axiom Exergy; Second Prize - Toby Sachs-Quintana and David Abram from Nextint.

See more photos from the Competition.

First Place ($75,000): Axiom Exergy

Axiom Exergy, led by a Stanford University team, won First Place with technology that could save the food industry millions of dollars in energy costs. Refrigerating food accounts for a substantial 55 per cent of the energy use in supermarkets. Axiom’s Refrigeration Battery™ “charges” by freezing tanks of salt water at night, when electricity is cheaper, and then it uses those frozen tanks to provide refrigeration throughout the day. The technology reduces energy costs and lowers the risk of food spoiling during power outages, potentially yielding cheaper and safer food for consumers.

Axiom’s patent-pending Refrigeration Battery™ will save supermarkets as much as 20% a year in electricity costs and unknown dollars in food spoilage. Axiom Exergy is installing its first full-scale system at a supermarket in the Bay Area this year, and it has over $1 million in sales pipeline with a leading national supermarket chain.

Second Place ($15,000): NexTint

This Bay Area company is developing a dimmable, retrofittable window film that can tune the amount of light and heat that is transferred through a building's windows to keep occupants comfortable, reduce glare, and save energy and money. Using cost-effective, scalable technology NexTint can retrofit existing buildings to keep not only employees productive, but also meet government regulations.

Third Place ($10,000): Reebeez

Reebeez, an Austin, Texas startup is commercializing a lightweight, solid-state microengine that can revolutionize power propulsion systems in small, unmanned aerial vehicles such as drones. Reebeez’s technology utilizes state-of-the-art thermoelectric generators and thermionics. With a specific energy of 1500 Wh/kg, Reebeez engine can achieve flight times and payloads unrivaled by batteries and fuel cells.

Transformational Idea Award ($5,000): Obtainium

The Obtainium team’s advanced pilot-scale reactor for converting CO2 into ethanol uses unique copper catalysts, and an innovative reactor design that can work at room temperatures and air pressures. It can also bolt on to existing refinery-scale reactors. At scale, ECO2R could convert the U.S. corn ethanol industry’s 45 million tons of waste CO2 emissions into 7 billion gallons of low-carbon fuel per year, a $15 billion opportunity