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NuMat Technologies’ leadership team, left to right: Ben Hernandez ’13, Omar Farha, Chris Wilmer and Tabrez Ebrahim ’13

NuMat Technologies’ leadership team

2012 Clean Energy Challenge

NuMat Technologies, a student-driven startup, wins a $100,000 prize for technology that could change the economics of gas storage


3/12/2012 - NuMat Technologies, a startup led by two Kellogg JD-MBA students, a Northwestern graduate student and a research professor, has won the $100,000 prize in the student-team division of the Clean Energy Challenge 2012.

The annual competition awards cash prizes to top Midwest clean-technology entrepreneurs. The team will go on to compete in a national competition in June.

“A major energy challenge today is figuring out a way to store fuels that are clean and eco-friendly,” team member Chris Wilmer said. “We’ve developed a plan to identify the right materials to store clean fuel, synthesize them, test them, and produce them on a large scale for industry.”

NuMat Technologies created a proprietary computational screening tool to rapidly identify and test metal-organic frameworks. The technology has the potential to significantly increase natural gas storage capacity in natural gas vehicles, and to fundamentally change the economics in other gas storage and separation applications.

In addition to Wilmer, the startup team includes Kellogg JD-MBA students Tabrez Ebrahim ’13 and Ben Hernandez ’13 and Research Associate Professor Omar Farha. The group received $10,000 in an earlier round of the Clean Energy Challenge in February when they were named the top team from the state of Illinois.

Also making it to the final round of the Clean Energy Challenge was SiNode, another Northwestern student team. SiNode commercialized an anode for lithium-ion batteries that allows the battery to charge more quickly and hold a charge 10 times longer than current technology.

SiNode members include Nishit Mehta ’13, Samir Mayekar ’13, Guy Peterson ’13, Peter Hamann, Zhenyu Hou, Joshua Lau and Thomas Yue Yang Yu.