The Department of Energy is proud to announce that SiNode Systems from Northwestern University has won the second annual DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. The competition aims to inspire university teams across the country and promote entrepreneurship in clean energy technologies that will boost American competitiveness, bringing cutting-edge clean energy solutions to the market and strengthening our economic prosperity.

SiNode Systems has developed an advanced anode technology that has the potential to dramatically increase the performance of batteries, impacting everything from the cell phones and portable electronics our society relies on, to expanding the capabilities of electric vehicles. SiNode’s lithium battery anode technology addresses the two aspects of battery improvement, energy capacity and power density. 

SiNode Systems’ Si-graphene composite anode provides up to a ten-fold increase in energy capacity compared to the conventional graphite anode, and can increase energy capacity of a complete battery assembly by 50 percent to 100 percent. Their technology will impact the SiNode’s strong business plan and technology, stellar team, and their commitment to their team. SiNode is also a testament to the spirit of entrepreneurship. The team participated in two business plan competitions last year, and when they did not place in the finals, they re-committed themselves to their work, secured a DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant to advance their technology, and this year they swept the Rice Business Plan Competition, winning more than $800,000 in prizes, advanced to the National Competition and were crowned the national winner. 

As the winning team, SiNode Systems was awarded more than $100,000 in cash and services. These prizes include seed money for their business plan and additional prizes from sponsors including technical, marketing, and legal assistance. 

The six regional finalists of the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition were invited to present their business ideas to a prestigious group of judges from industry and academia and in front of a live and live-streamed audience.  Each team created a business plan around a promising clean energy technology. The teams brought forth plans that detailed how they could bring that technology to market, including financing, product design, scaling up production, and marketing.

The six finalists included teams from Northwestern University, Brigham Young University, University of Arkansas, Purdue University, University of California - Berkeley, and North Carolina A&T University.  Funded through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the university-led competition supports the next generation of energy leaders who will boost American competitiveness. Participants in last year’s competition have gone on to raise almost $7 million in follow-on funding, launched 52 started and have created more than 42 full-time jobs.