CSU Chemistry Graduate Students Win Energy Institute Award

Image of Ryan Pearson and Matthew ryan in Washington, D.C. at the ARPA-E summit


On April 10, 2018 chemistry graduate students Ryan Pearson and Matthew Ryan were selected as the winners of the 2018 CSU Demo Days Energy Institute Award for Graduate Student Poster of the Year! Their research, a paintable do-it-yourself heat-reflective retrofit coating for older energy inefficient windows, was showcased that day along with over sixty competing graduate students. The CSU Energy Institute selects one graduate student poster each year at the CSU Ventures Demo Day to receive a $500 stipend for excellence in linking their research to a potential market opportunity in the energy sector.  The award is based equally on: a) potential of the research to result in an energy innovation, b) quality of the displayed poster, and c) student verbal communication skills and demonstrated technical knowledge during interactions with judges. Associate Director Jeff Muhs of the CSU Energy Institute wrote that “The judges were extremely impressed with Ryan’s poster, the potential of the technology to save energy in buildings, and his ability to articulate both how the technology works and its relevance to the energy-efficiency market.”

The Solution is ClearSlide of Pearson and Ryan research presentattion

Ryan and Matt, both 4th year graduate students in the Miyake Lab, are also taking their research to the next level! Currently, Pearson and Ryan are in the semi-finals of the Caltech First Look out West (FLoW) Department of Energy’s Cleantech business plan competition. FLoW is an immersive program that helps academic and first-time entrepreneurs start cleantech companies, from the transformational idea to customer discovery using Lean Start Up methods.

Ryan explains in his TEDxCSU talk that their technology addresses the issue of window inefficiencies which costs the U.S. market over $40 billion a year and results in the equivalent of over a 100 million cars worth of emissions annually. Unfortunately, replacing old inefficient windows can be expensive and requires a professional. This is where Ryan and Matt’s do it yourself heat reflective coating technology comes in. Using patented technology based on the natural phenomenon of structural color, they can use commodity plastics which can be found on the shelf of your local grocery store and turn it into a spectrally selective filters which are able of reflecting heat causing UV and infrared light (which makes up ~57% of the solar spectrum) and allows color to pass right through unencumbered – giving a transparent, colorless coating. Matt and Ryan are currently continuing to advance this technology as well as explore other potential markets outside of the window space.

To read about all of this years winners at the 2018 CSU Demo Day, please visit SOURCE.