Electric choices are nothing new to current college students in America. Most have been taught to conserve and recycle since they were in diapers, and so are well-versed in green living.
It only makes sense, then, that they would create some of the most ingenious new ideas for energy, which is something that many universities and colleges have begun to tap.
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, the University of Maryland is currently holding a $100,000 clean energy challenge open to students from American universities and colleges, spurring them to develop better business plans for companies that are trying to promote clean energies for the United States. According to the University of Maryland, these business plans must focus on better energy efficiency, renewable energy, and greater advancements in alternative fuels.
One of the largest green energy competitions is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Clean Energy Prize. The competition has been an annual event since 2008, and has been challenging young minds to think outside the current energy market, to innovate novel solutions to the world's power needs.
During the annual competition, students from many of America's top schools will create companies that produce a variety of energy efficient products, focus on renewable energy development, or look at how clean energy development can be improved, according to MIT. Coming from schools such as Duke, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon and Harvard, the 20 semifinalists for this year's competition have created affordable solar panels for low-income residents and solar catalytic reactor systems. Other teams have created companies that retrofit old light and flag poles into wind turbine power generation stations, and created more energy-dense batteries that can possibly be used to make electric vehicles more alluring.
Last year's Clean Energy Prize $200,000 winner was CoolChip Technologies, a company that found a way to cool IT data centers much more efficiently by using now-patented technology to stifle the Central Processing Unit, which has a tendency to heat (and overheat) a system.
According to MIT, its annual competition has spurred large advances in the renewable energy and energy efficiency markets. While the competition has awarded approximately $1 million in prize money over its lifespan, businesses created or jump-started through the competition have accounted for $90 million in venture and government spending, according to the competition's official website.