Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Re-generation: The Next Wave of Entrepreneurship is in Sustainability

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Emerging Technology: The Future of Automobiles Car 2.0

Car 2.0
written by Adam Hurwitz

Even though automotive executives initially deemed Better Place’s all-electric solution as “nothing more than a thought experiment,” Shai Agassi  started by redesigning the all-electric vehicle or EV to prove them wrong and make it as good as any gasoline car today. This was done by developing a convenient system (because it is unacceptable to drive your car for an hour and charge for eight) that’s more affordable (not a forty thousand dollar sedan that would be impossible to finance today). This system uses technology that is feasible with current technology and economics. It is readily available to be scaled to mass in order for 99% of the population to drive it.

The former SAP executive and inventor of Better Place, Shai Agassi, bases his infrastructure on a feasible top-down design rather than catering to a niche market, as Elon Musk does with the Tesla roadster sportscar. As Agassi puts it in his Long Beach California TED Speech, there is “no time for a science fair, no time for a magic battery.” The way this new system works is through developing a network composed of two integral parts: 1) charging stations wherever one parks (people tend to drive for two hours, park for twenty two hours) and 2) battery swapping stations to provide range extension (current electric range is 120 miles, which may be good for most, but is not acceptable for all). The automated battery swapping stations allow the user to drive over a platform that replaces the old battery for a new one in 1 minute and 6 seconds. Better Place backs up its claim of “doing swapping less times than you stop at a gas station” by paying you if the number of swaps exceeds 50 per year.
Better Place Electric Vehicle

I was so intrigued by this revolutionary model that I decided it essential to extend my college group trip in Israel on the last Friday I was there in order to find Better Place and head back by the start of my semester on Monday. Despite Better Place’s national consumer launch across Israel very soon, it took two cabbies with the exact address and me having to call Better Place directly to guide us in order to find their headquarters. Not only is the all-electric solution obviously built on sustainable practices, but the headquarters are located out of a retrofitted water tank!

The very friendly representative on my tour explained that, economically, this new model works by separating the ownership of the car and the battery. Currently, when one buys a regular combustion engine, you do not purchase a mini oil well to go along with your car, so why should one’s future consumption be factored into the cost of the battery all at once? With Better Place, you pay for the car and then pay for the battery like you would for a cell phone. As you consume energy from the smart grid and swap out the battery, you pay for the energy. Per mile, under Moore’s law of the doubling of power effect in electronics’ capacity every two years, Agassi predicts the cost to be $.02/mile in 2020 (see video above). But looking at some current EVs on the market, like the Tesla Roadster, which gets around 180 WH/mile at about $.15 kWh, the cost already equals out to $.027/mile at a gas cost of $3/gallon. This means affordability for all could be much sooner than anticipated!

Due to the process of oil extraction, transportation, refining, and distribution of the gas, “from well to wheels, an electricity-powered system has far fewer energy losses along the way than a gasoline-fueled system,” Thomas Friedman writes in Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution– and How It Can Renew America. Also, another piece of information from Thomas Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded that gives me a lot of confidence in the electric revolution is a statement from a Pacific Northwest Laboratory Study that “73% of our cars, trucks, and SUVs could be replaced with plug-in hybrids without any need to build new generating plants or transmission lines, because they would be charged at night with plentiful off-peak nighttime power.”

Agassi’s “Car 2.0” shows entrepreneurs, inventors, and free thinkers in all fields that what merely starts out as an “utopian fantasy,” as  another car executive labeled Better Place, can develop into the fifth-largest start-up in history operating on five continents. Better Place will not only replace the transportation model introduced by Henry Ford, but will radically change the way one looks at international oil-based foreign policy/“petropolitics” and energy consumption as a whole. It would not be surprising to see Better Place catapulted into many facets of energy as a household name such as Richard Branson’s Virgin did for entertainment and lifestyle.
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University of Maryland, College Park: Start-Ups

The past few weeks we have been compiling the entrepreneurial ventures of our current and past students. We know there are many other start-ups out that are out there we have missed, and many more to come. So if you are a student entrepreneur at the University of Maryland, or have a start-up as an alumni please reach out to us on our info page!

P.S. Don't worry, we will be updating this list as well as finish compiling the information for the startups at the bottom of the page as well.

Founded in School
Currently Student Operated
Web / Application Based

Pamble is a Free to play web based poker client. You receive free chips that you can gamble with and convert these chips in to real prizes in our store.

Jam My Jam
 Developed for The University of Maryland's campus-wide mobility contest, Jam My Jam allows students to broadcast their musical predilections to their friends, their classmates, and anyone else who may be sniffing for a new jam.



 Atmo is the modern jukebox. If your favorite venue has set up an Atmosphere, you're just a click away from controlling their music. We'll match you up to your nearest Atmosphere, and you can vote on the music YOU want to hear. Atmo is your musical atmosphere, at a moment's notice.

Tell the Terps: Tell the Terps is a phone app that improves campus life by allowing students and faculty to easily report problems such as security, dorm related, technological, and more to the appropriate office by submitting a picture using your cell phone.

Beagle is an app which lets you post tasks or ask help from fellow students. You can make money by completing other tasks for a price!
Need things delivered to you? Need a last-minute tutoring session the night before a big exam? Need a ride? Maybe you don't have a car, but need somebody to buy your groceries? Just send a request on Beagle.

High Tech Inventions

 Inspired by a maple seed, Roboseed is the world's smallest single-wing rotorcraft.  With a camera installed on board, this patented invention can serve numerous military applications such as surveillance, border patrol, and 3D mapping.  There is also consideration in using this technology to obtain pressure, temperature and other data inside of tornadoes and hurricanes.


AccuStrata is offers an intelligent, real-time optical control system able to improve solar cell efficiency and manufacturing yield of the solar panels.  As a result of our solution, solar cells can produce 10-20% more power

CloudSolar: CloudSolar's patent pending technology uses stable and proprietary fluid additives to increase the efficiency of several heat transfer systems.  These fluids are environmentally benign and non-toxic.  They can be added to existing systems without changing the infrastructure.

Service Based 
InkUp: http://letsinkup.com/index.html
MyFridgeRental: https://www.myfridgerental.com/home.html

Food & Beverage 

 Almuni Start-Ups- Student Operated When Founded

Raw Athletics: http://www.rawathletics.com/
Goozex: http://www.goozex.com/trading/asp/homepage.asp?fic=G
WeBike: http://www.webikedoyou.com/index.html

Alumni Start-Ups

Crooked Monkey:http://www.crookedmonkey.com/
Hook and Ladder:http://www.hookandladderbeer.com/Public/Default.aspx
Fan Mobilizer: http://www.fanmobilizer.com/
Gill Grilling: http://gillgrilling.com/
Seamless Web: http://www.seamlessweb.com/?a=915&gclid=CO7JoeuX_qQCFeJN5QodpxUjhw
Mid Atlantic Property Management: http://www.linkedin.com/company/884868?trk=pro_other_cmpy

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

NED Welcome Message

Hi everyone,

NED is now expanding our list-serv to e-blogging! We will now be able to post about emerging ideas, interesting start-ups, and useful free tools to become more  effective in building our big ideas and just being more efficient in daily tasks.

Feel free to enter your email address in the box below that says "Subscribe via email" and click on the Google follow button to become engaged! Also, contact me at ahurwitz@umd.edu to find out about contributing unique content.


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