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LAUNCH: Energy Challenge
NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of State, and NIKE, Inc. have partnered on a unique initiative called LAUNCH. The LAUNCH: Energy Challenge, has begun and focuses on sustainable energy challenges for the developed and developing worlds.

LAUNCH’s mission is to search for, showcase and support innovators poised for potential large-scale impact on humanity’s most pressing sustainability challenges. Previous LAUNCH modules in 2010 and 2011 focused on Water and Health. This time, LAUNCH is searching for entrepreneurial efforts focused on the development of innovative products services, and programs in the energy sector.

LAUNCH: Energy will select entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world –w ho will be chosen based on their innovative approaches, products, and programs – to attend the LAUNCH: Energy Forum. During the two-and-a-half day event, the selected LAUNCH Innovators will present their innovative solutions to the ‘Launch Council’ which includes leading figures from the business, international development, policy, engineering, science, communications and sustainability sectors. The Forum sessions are designed to provide advice to innovations on the business and program challenges and to identify future opportunities.

LAUNCH: Energy seeks transformative innovations to improve access to energy, energy efficiency, and/or energy technologies, for both the developed and developing worlds. LAUNCH is seeking innovations in the following categories:
  • Energy Generation: Renewable energy sources and technologies;
  • Energy Harvesting and Storage: Methods and processes to collect and store energy;
  • Industrial Application: Self-sufficient industrial facilities and/or hubs (such as energy management systems and self-powered wireless sensors);
  • Communication applications; Self-contained generation systems (for settings from individual homes to small communities, including next generation cookstoves for the developing world, MicroGrid solutions, and other solutions for the developing world);
  • Financing: New business models or financial strategies that promote creation of or access to innovative systems or technology;
  • Education to inform, align and encourage best energy practices by consumers, utilities, and policy makers;
  • Deployment: Programs, tools and networks to enable adoption and use.
Prospective LAUNCH innovators can learn more about the LAUNCH: Energy Challenge (including the application process, format, and evaluation criteria information) and can submit an application via the LAUNCH website at http://www.launch.org.

Proposals will be accepted until September 9, 2011 when the challenge will close. Finalists will be announced in early October. Innovators selected will be invited to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 10-13, 2011 to participate in the LAUNCH: Energy forum.