Picasolar Named Finalist for Edison Award
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Picasolar Inc., a solar start-up company affiliated with the University of Arkansas, has been named a 2015 award finalist by the internationally renowned Edison Awards.
The distinguished awards, inspired by Thomas Edison’s persistence and inventiveness, recognize innovation, creativity and ingenuity in the global economy. Picasolar has been recognized as a finalist for its patent-pending hydrogen super emitter, said Douglas Hutchings, Picasolar’s chief executive officer.
Award winners will be announced April 23 at the Edison Awards Annual Gala, held in the historic Ballroom of The Capitale in New York City.
“We are honored to be named a finalist for this prestigious award,” Hutchings said. “Our technology could save an average-sized solar panel manufacturer $120 million annually, making the panels, and solar energy, more affordable for consumers.”
The emitter, invented by Seth Shumate, a graduate student at the University of Arkansas and chief technology officer for Picasolar, could improve the efficiency of solar cells by 15 percent. If successful, the emitter represents the single largest technology leap in solar power in 40 years, Hutchings said.
Both Picasolar and its sister company, Silicon Solar Solutions, are Genesis Technology Incubator clients at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park at the University of Arkansas. Hutchings founded Silicon Solar Solutions in 2008 while a graduate student at the university.
Picasolar’s hydrogen selective emitter is a finalist in the hydrogen power category, competing against Hyundai Motor America’s Hyundai Tucson fuel cell and Upp, by Intelligent Energy.
“It’s exciting to see companies like Picasolar continuing Thomas Edison’s legacy of challenging conventional thinking,” said Frank Bonafilia, Edison Awards’ executive director. “Edison Awards recognizes the game-changing products and services, and the teams that brought them to consumers.”
Picasolar won more than $300,000 in cash while competing for the University of Arkansas at graduate business plan competitions in 2013, including $250,000 for winning the MIT NSTAR Clean Energy Prize.
Hutchings earned a doctorate in microelectronics-photonics at the University of Arkansas in 2010. Shumate is a doctoral candidate in the microelectronics-photonics program, offered by the College of Engineering and J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
Edison Award nominees are judged by more than 3,000 senior business executives and academics from across the nation whose votes acknowledge the finalists’ success in meeting the award’s stringent criteria of quality.
Two other firms associated with the U of A have won Edison Awards.
In 2014, NanoMech, a company founded by Ajay Malshe, Distinguished Professor of mechanical engineering at the U of A, won a silver Edison Award in the processing materials category for TuffTek, its patented nanoengineered advanced coating technology incorporated into cutting tools and wear parts for machining materials used in automotive, aerospace, energy and other sectors, and critical wear parts for machines and vehicles.
In 2012, cycleWood Solutions Inc., a company founded by University of Arkansas graduates Nheim Cao and Kevin Oden, won a bronze Edison Award in the safety and sustainability category for its trademarked single-use Xylobag, a strong and tough compostable substitute for traditional plastic bags.
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