Clean Air Innovators Win $45,000

Zions Bank was pleased to be a sponsor for the inaugural year of the “Bright Skies” Utah Clean Air Innovation Contest. Three winners were awarded $45,000 cash for their innovations they hope will improve Utah’s air quality. Other sponsors were Chevron, Grow Utah and the Utah Clean Air Partnership.

“Although we selected only three winners, this is a win for us all,” said Ted Wilson of UCAIR. “It’s a win because capable people are picking up the challenge to improve air quality. It’s a win because our younger generation feels their innovations and ideas are welcome. And it’s a win because we are finding new and innovative solutions for improving air quality. That’s what this Bright Skies contest was all about — a win for us all.”

 

By Mike Winder

Zions Bank’s Director of Entrepreneurship Programs

 

Idle Free Heat the Big Winner

The $22,500 grand prize was awarded to Idle Free Heat, a company that’s developed a device that drastically extends the time a vehicle’s heating system can provide heat inside the cab without the engine on. This reduces the need to idle the engine to keep the air warm while waiting inside the vehicle.

“We’re really excited to win this contest,” said Joel Ewell, founder of Idle Free Heat. “We’ve been working on this idea for a long time, and we believe it will make a real difference in air quality, especially on cold days. A lot of people care about air pollution but they choose to idle their cars simply to stay warm, which is understandable. Our device solves that problem and allows them to turn off their car but still stay warm.”

 

Other Finalists Offer Bold Solutions

Two runners-up, ShareLift and Nikola Motor Company, were each awarded $11,250. ShareLift is a ridesharing app to carpool skiers and snowboarders to and from resorts. Automatic payment, ranking, pickup locations and other features are built into the app. Nikola Motor is the first company in the world to engineer and develop a 100 percent zero-emission, electric power semitruck.

The other five finalists were:

Echelon Engine, a new combustible engine with a modified crankshaft that ignites when the connecting rod is at a more efficient point in its rotation.

Mobilight Hybrid Light Tower, a mobile lighting tower that integrates a combustion engine with the latest solar, LED and battery technology.

GasPro, a filtration system that filters hydrogen sulfide and siloxane contaminants from byproduct biomethane gas at county sewage plants.

Ecotrike16, an innovative solar electric vehicle. It uses so little power that a single roof panel provides enough power for urban travel.

 Cold Start Emissions Eradicator, a device that captures the emissions from catalytic convertors on cold vehicles and stores the emissions until the convertor is hot enough to safely burn them.