May 05

InSITE fellow Marshall Cox wins $200,000 MIT Clean Energy Prize

Marshall Cox, an InSITE Fellow, Startup Leadership Fellow, and PhD candidate of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University, won the $200,000 Grand Prize at the MIT Clean Energy Prize competition, and with it the chance to compete in the 1st annual National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition held at the White House in mid June.

Cox’s company, Radiator Labs,  is a venture he started in his apartment two winters ago to solve the overheating and efficiency problems associated with steam heat. The low-cost radiator retrofit that he is developing with his team aims to carefully control the amount of heat that transfers into a room from a radiator while optimizing the efficiency of the building heat system, potentially saving up to 30% of the heating costs for steam-heated buildings while dramatically increasing the comfort of the apartments within.  The waste inherent in steam heating is evident to anyone who has ever seen buildings with open windows in the middle of the winter.

Marshall’s research estimates that steam heat wastes approximately $700 million dollars each winter in Manhattan alone.  “Adopting this cost-effective technology in the millions of existing U.S. housing units with steam radiator systems has the potential to save hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs per year and reduce carbon emissions by over 6 million tons – equivalent to taking 1.25 million automobiles off the road,” said Marshall Cox of Radiator Labs. “Winning this competition enables us to help bring this technology to the marketplace so these benefits can be realized.”

“This is an exciting and innovative design that when commercialized will noticeably reduce the cost of heating apartments, offices and other types of buildings in New England and other cold weather regions,” said Tom May, President and CEO of Northeast Utilities, the parent company of NSTAR, a major sponsor of the competition. “This competition has shown once again that the road to clean energy is being paved by young entrepreneurs.”

The MIT Clean Energy Prize is a national competition founded in 2008 by MIT, the U.S. Department of Energy and NSTAR to accelerate the pace of clean energy entrepreneurship. The 2012 edition brought together teams from across the Northeast to compete for $20,000 in category first prizes, as wel as the $200,000 Grand Prize that comes with the chance to compete in the 1st annual National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition held at the White House in mid June.

Now in its fifth year, the MIT Clean Energy Prize has launched about thirty new companies that have raised almost $90 million in venture capital and government funding to develop clean energy products, technologies and services. Open to university students, the competition aims to promote the most commercially viable solutions to reduce fossil fuel dependence, lower carbon emissions and spur economic growth.

Please join me and all other InSITE fellows in congratulating Marshall Cox.

On the news:

Post written by Lila Pla Alemany (Columbia Business School, 2013).


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