Clean Energy Trust Announces Clean Energy Challenge Finalists; $250,000 in Total Prizes to Be Awarded March 1

Nearly 60 Clean Energy Businesses from Eight Midwest States Enter Annual Competition

CHICAGO--The Clean Energy Trust today announced 10 finalists will compete March 1 for a $100,000 grand prize at the second annual Clean Energy Challenge in Chicago. The finalists come from six Midwest states and represent a broad range of technologies in the clean energy sector, including biofuels, renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon containment.

"These are highly competitive applications that really showcase the innovation coming out of the region's universities, labs and incubators"

A distinguished panel of independent evaluators selected the finalists from a field of 59 applications submitted by early-stage clean energy companies in eight states. The strong response, combined with the quality of the companies, shows entrepreneurs in the Heartland are seizing the opportunity to develop this emerging industry, said Amy Francetic, Clean Energy Trust executive director.

"These are highly competitive applications that really showcase the innovation coming out of the region's universities, labs and incubators," Francetic said. "The most notable difference this year is the diversity of the new technologies being developed and a big emphasis on bio-fuels. Many of these businesses are developing prototypes, which makes the Challenge's ability to put them in front of venture capitalists and investors especially critical to their development."

Finalist companies will receive mentoring and acceleration services as they prepare to compete before a prestigious panel of judges at the 2012 Clean Energy Challenge on March 1 in Chicago. The judges include leading clean energy investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and energy companies from across the United States. The winner will receive a $100,000 grand prize, provided by the Department of Energy.

Companies that presented at the inaugural Clean Energy Challenge have raised more than $10 million in venture funding to date and are commercializing their technologies.

The 2012 Clean Energy Challenge corporate sponsors include Wells Fargo, Acciona, Skadden, ArcelorMittal, Invenergy, Planet Solar, UK Trade and Investment, Goldwind, West Capital, True North Venture Partners and Marathon Capital.

A limited number of discounted early-bird tickets are now available for the 2012 Clean Energy Challenge. Prizes totaling $250,000 will be awarded during the competition. The winners of the early-stage competition and the Student Challenge will each receive a $100,000 grand prize. In addition, five state prizes of $10,000 each will be given to Student Challenge winners.

About Clean Energy Trust:

The Clean Energy Trust was founded by prominent business and civic leaders to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation in the Midwest. The Trust is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Joyce Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, the Small Business Administration and donations from over 50 investors, corporations, universities and trade groups. For more information, visit

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