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IIT Madras team wins New York competition

New York: An entrepreneur team from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) has won the NYC Next Idea 2009-2010, an inaugural global business plan competition launched by New York City last year.

City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Thursday announced the winner of the competition in which teams from ten leading international business and engineering schools in Europe, Asia and Latin America participated with teams from India, Spain and France making the finals.

Selected by a panel of judges from New York City's venture capital community, the winning team, Greenext Technology Solutions will receive a $20,000 cash prize.

The IIT team of Aashish Dattani, Sriram Kalyanaraman and Vinayshankar Kulkarni has devised a new system to allow utility companies and energy producers to store and distribute energy through remote sites across the five boroughs safely and efficiently.

"Cities around the world hope to be a place of innovation where entrepreneurs want to go to launch businesses," said Bloomberg announcing the winner at Columbia Business School. "New York City doesn't have to hope, we are that place."

"But it's not enough to be a place where entrepreneurs want to go; we also have to make sure our city and our country is a place they can go," he said.

"That's why we are committed to working with the Obama administration to pursue sensible immigration reform," the mayor said alluding to the difficulties the finalists may face in getting a US visa.

"No one can say for sure whether the finalists' ideas will translate into successful job-creating businesses," Bloomberg said. "What a shame, though, if they and countless others are denied the opportunity even to try."

Greenext Technology Solutions is a clean-technology proposal that is pioneering specialised software and hardware solutions to utility companies, renewable energy producers, energy storage manufacturers, and energy traders.

Their product, XEstor, serves as a common interface to store energy from any source across New York City into large battery storage sites. The product communicates with the electric grid and combines real-time consumer demand information with current energy prices to charge or discharge electricity into the grid.

This flexible mechanism to produce or store energy based on demand can act as a backup power source to bridge supply gaps and maintain the grid's reliability through ancillary services such as regulation and emergency response. IANS
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