Solar Cells, Wound Repair Winning GVC Technologies

Graduate student teams from the University of Arkansas and the University of Maryland earned first place in the energy and security categories at the 2010 GVC hosted by ORNL March 24–26. The competition, in its fourth year, attracts students developing new technologies and venture investors with expertise in the market. The first-prize winners each received $25,000.

Douglas Hutchings, Stephen Ritterbush, and Seth Shumate from Arkansas won first place in the energy division for Silicon Solar Solutions. "Our method replaces the expensive top layer of solar cells with a thinner, large-grain polysilicon at lower temperatures, which reduces cost and is appealing to manufacturers," said Ritterbush.

Matthew Dowling, Peter Thomas, and Oluwatosin Ogunsola of Maryland won first place in the security division for Remedium Technologies, Inc., which produces a sprayable hemostat. Dowling and Thomas, doctoral students in bioengineering, said that their Kytoclot technology is a portable, pressurized foam that compresses and protects internal wounds. Typically such wounds have required surgery. "The Department of Defense would be our first potential customer because this product quickly stops bleeding," Dowling said.

Twenty-two teams from five countries were semifinalists. "We have expanded our reach globally with applications from 44 teams in eight countries, and that's a record," said Tom Rogers, director of industrial partnerships and economic development within the Partnerships Directorate. "Judges have said the technology this year is far superior to prior years." More than 50 judges, including from 15 venture capital firms, selected winners.

Rogers said several past teams have formed companies; Remedium has capital from startup investors and Silicon Solar Solutions is talking to manufacturers.

Students met with Laboratory Director Thom Mason and attended a Venture Showcase highlighting new ORNL technology. Prize money and travel stipends were funded by DOE, the Department of Homeland Security, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Battelle Ventures, the National Institute for Hometown Security, the National Venture Capital Association, the East Tennessee Economic Council, and Meritus Ventures, LP


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