NASA iTech Forum Showcases Innovators’ Top Energy Solutions

NASA iTech has selected the top three teams out of a group of 10 finalists for their innovative energy projects and ideas. The 2018 NASA iTech Cycle II Energy is a collaborative effort between NASA and the U.S. Department (DOE) of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to find and foster innovative solutions for critical energy challenges on Earth and in space.

Leaders from NASA, DOE’s ARPA-E and experts in the field of advanced energy technology gathered on Friday at Citi’s headquarters in New York City to evaluate the finalists’ ideas submitted in the following focus areas: Fuel Cells and Regenerative Fuel Cells, High-energy-density Batteries and Supercapacitors, Solar Power Systems, Small Fission Power Systems, Innovative Power Management and Distribution and X-Factor Energy. The final category included entries that may not fit within a specific energy focus area but clearly demonstrate the potential to fill a critical need for NASA and humans on Earth.

“The iTech Energy competition is the first time we've focused on a more specific topic -- power and energy storage technologies -- and brought DOE in as part of the process," said Therese Griebel, associate administrator for programs for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “The energy focus attracted a large number of interested teams, which made it difficult to get to the top three. We congratulate all of our competitors for getting this far, and we look forward to learning more about the development of their technologies.”

The top three winners of NASA iTech’s 2018 Energy Cycle are listed in alphabetical order:


iFeather, Boulder, COIn-situ Fabrication of Extraterrestrial Aerogels for Transparency, Heat, and Energy Regulation (iFEATHER) for Habitat, Aeronautic and Space Vessel, and Space Suit Applications
Focus area: Innovative Power Management and Distribution 

Stanford University - Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford, CA
Two C: Transportation Electrification through Ubiquitous Wireless Charging 
Focus area: Innovative Power Management and Distribution 

WBGlobal Semi, Inc., Lakewood Ranch, FL
Commercializing High Power Silicon Carbide (SiC) Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJTs) and Power Modules for Power Management and Distributed Power Applications
Focus area: Innovative Power Management and Distribution 
 

“NASA is proud to provide a platform for innovators that exposes them to a cadre of industry experts who will be instrumental in the development of their technologies,” said Kira Blackwell, NASA iTech program executive for STMD. “NASA’s chief technologists and the U.S. Department of Energy’s leading subject matter experts provided the teams with a better understanding of requirements for potential infusion of their technologies within a space environment.”

 

Judges selected the top three innovations based on criteria including technical viability, the likely impact on future space exploration, benefits to humanity and commercialization potential. The teams representing the top three entries selected at the end of the forum received a trophy during the recognition ceremony on June 14.

 

“Our mission at ARPA-E is to change what’s possible. We’ve been delighted to collaborate with NASA for the iTech challenge, to highlight and empower the people driving energy innovation across our country,” said Conner Prochaska, senior advisor and chief of staff for ARPA-E. “We look forward to future collaborative opportunities with NASA so, together, we can continue to cultivate the next generation of energy technologies for Americans on the ground and in space.”

“It was an honor for Citi to host ‘Energy-Tech’ thought leaders -- policy makers, academics, scientists, investors and innovators -- for NASA iTech challenge,” said Jay Collins, vice chairman of Corporate and Investment Banking at Citi. “We were proud to work with NASA on such an important effort to move energy technology out of the lab and into scalable solutions for the Moon, Mars and the planet Earth. Congratulations to the winners, whose technological leadership and entrepreneurialism made us all proud.”

NASA iTech is an initiative by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and is managed by the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia.     

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