2012 Competition Overview

  • 100+ contestants
  • 83 applicants
  • 34 universities
  • 12 states

Top panel of judges

  • Mohr Davidow
  • Khosla Venture
  • Kleiner Perkins
  • Sierra Ventures
  • CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund
  • The Angeleno Group
  • Southern California's Pasadena and Tech Coast Angels

FLOW's 2012 Winners

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Young entrepreneurs developing energy from waste water treatment, robots for cleaning solar panels and solar cell films with 20% more efficiency took the top prizes at the First Look West (FLoW) regional finals competition. At an awards celebration held at the California Institute of Technology on May 1, Stanford Nitrogen Group, Greenbotics and Xite Solar shared $200,000 in prize money.

The FLoW competition is one of six awarded regionally as part of a three-year, $2 million DOE program. The winning teams from six regions went on to compete at a competition held at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. June 12 & 13, 2012.

We thank all FLoW student teams and their supporters and our sponsors and community members that attended our regional finals on May 1st, 2012.

Stanford Nitrogen Group took the top prize of $100,000

Yaniv Scherson and his team tackled a worldwide pollution problem with engineering smarts that yields a new source of energy while handling a serious waste issue.

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Second Place Winner was Greenbotics

The university team from UCLA and Caltech spotted a $3 billion global market opportunity in cleaning dirty solar panels at solar power plants that are currently operating below their peak performance. Greenbotics was acquired in 2013 by SunPower, the second largest solar power provider in the United States.

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Third Place was won by Xite Solar

The UC Berkeley team has developed a new class of solar cells that could provide the long-awaited breakthrough that will make solar a major source of energy production.

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Promising Idea:

Hawaii's eHale took the inaugural Promising Idea award given to companies whose business vision has potential but is not quite a ready-to-go business. E-Hale is a Hawaiian alternative design group, integrating sustainable materials, ergonomics and S.E.E. (Spot Energy Enabling) © energy storage units within innovative indoor and outdoor, home and office furniture.


Building Robotics: a UC Berkeley start-up, Building Robotics is a software service for commercial buildings that provides an immediate 10-30% reduction in energy costs without requiring any new capital expenditures. During 2013 and 2014, the company raised a total of $5.64 million from investors including Google Ventures, Claremont Creek Ventures, Formation 8, Navitas Capital, Red Swan Ventures and other angel investors.

Contact: Andrew Krioukov andrew@buildingrobotics.com.

Chingoo Research Partners (CRP) has designed, tested, and patented a novel photobioreactor system for the large-scale cultivation of algae-based biofuel.

Roadwise Technologies: A UC Davis spinout, Roadwise has developed a thin film, DynaFilm®, which when installed under asphalt, captures wasted energy from the Sun's heat and the pressure of passing vehicles through the integration of thermoelectric and piezoelectric nanomaterials.

Contact: Ryan Lore: ryanmlore@gmail.com.

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