WWU student, alumna awarded 'Best Cleantech Idea' in UW Business Plan Challenge

Western Today staff

Western Washington University student Joe Meyer (Economics and Environmental Studies, Seattle) was a member of a team that won “Best Cleantech Idea” and $2,500 in the University of Washington’s Business Plan Challenge.

“The project is a lot of what Huxley [College of the Environment] has been teaching in classes on making environmental and social benefits,” Meyer said. “It shows promise that business leaders are taking time out of their day to review and judge these plans as potential business models.”

The team, led by Western alumna Kathlyn Kinney, brought together students from three different schools. Kinney is currently a graduate student at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute in Seattle. The team also consists of Meyer, Colby Ochsner (Bainbridge Graduate Institute), Jessica Anundson (Bainbridge Graduate Institute) and Branden Audet (UW).

The team’s project created a plan that would make biomethane useable for vehicles, which could earn up to five times as much in profits as it does when turned into conventional electricity.

Biomethane is a gas released from biological waste, such as animal manure. Kinney said there are 700 biomethane collection centers in Washington.

At the UW Business Plan Challenge, teams pitched proposals to judges in a trade-show-like situation. Teams were judged on how well the business idea was thought out, if the team demonstrated knowledge of the industry and potential customers, if there was a real opportunity for a business and how well teams answered the judges’ questions.

The team presented a 15-minute pitch of their project to a group of seven judges. The round was open to teams and judges only.

For more information about the biomethane team or the UW Business Plan Competition contact Eric Leonhardt, director of Western’s Vehicle Research Institute, at (360) 650-7266 or eric.leonhardt@wwu.edu.