A group of students from UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business and the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) took first place to earn the 2013 Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development.
Ronald Gillespie, BSIM ’14; Ethan Jacobs, CEAS ‘13, MBA ’14; and Qingshi Tu, CEAS ’15; presented their Bearcat Clean Energy startup business idea called Effuelent in Miami, Florida, on September 9, 2013 to win $40,000, topping teams from University of California Berkeley and Florida International University (FIU) to win.
Effuelent, a Waste to Energy company, extracts fat, oil and grease from wastewater to produce a low-cost biodiesel feedstock. Currently those substances are regarded as waste and end up in landfills. Through technology developed by UC CEAS Professor Mingming Lu, Effuelent uses a waste grease extraction process produce a low-cost alternative (soy, rapeseed and corn oils) to expensive agricultural based biodiesel feedstock.
Judges say their “idea offers value across the supply chain, not only acting as a remedy for wastewater treatment plants, but also contributing to the energy, security and environmental sustainability of the United States.”
Gillespie says the team plans to use the award to “continue developing our technology, buy promotional materials for our startup and cover expenses for traveling to conferences and professional networking events.”
The competition, now in its second year, is open to students nationwide. To date, nearly 600 students from 204 academic institutions have participated.
The Odebrecht Organization, was created in 1944 – the Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development program was created in 2008 in Brazil, and has since expanded to 10 countries.