Eight teams from the U.S. and India compete to launch businesses for clean energy and water in India

International finals of the Acara Challenge scheduled for May 17 at the University of Minnesota

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Todd Reubold, Institute on the Environment, reub0002@umn.edu, (612) 624-6140
Jeff Falk, University News Service, jfalk@umn.edu, (612) 626-1720

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (5/12/2010) – The University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment will host the international finals of the Acara Challenge 2010 on Monday, May 17 in IonE Seminar Room 380, VoTech Building, 1954 Buford Avenue, St. Paul, MN.

The Acara Challenge 2010 focuses on creating businesses that address clean water and clean energy needs for underserved populations in India. Teams of students from the United States and India will present business plans during the finals, and then the winning groups will travel to India in June to conduct further research. In July, the teams will return to the Institute on the Environment for an on-campus incubation period during which time they will work with a commercialization team to refine and launch their business.

“As the review committee judges the teams in the Finals, we will be focused on practical solutions to energy and water issues in India” said Fred Rose, co-director of the Acara Institute. “The Challenge is a starting point for both the Acara Institute and the students, with the ultimate goal of moving beyond ideas to impact.”

“Seeing the ideas being proposed here gives me hope for the future,” said Julian Marshall, co-director of the Acara Institute and a Resident Fellow at the Institute on the Environment. “These students are working to tackle some of the biggest global challenges we face.”

The teams traveling to St. Paul for the finals include:


  • University of Minnesota/Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee: A lease-to-own and maintenance and repair business for biodigesters that produce biogas for cooking
  • Yale University/TERI University: A New Delhi-based company selling and delivering lunches from kitchens powered by biogas
  • K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management: A business that manufactures and sells solar powered stoves
  • Duke University/India Institute of Technology Delhi: A hybrid stove technology using solar and biomass


  • Vellore Institute of Technology/University of Illinois-Chicago: A community-sized solar still and distribution system for clean water
  • Arizona State University/TERI University: A decentralized treatment system for converting waste water into usable, and marketable, grey water
  • Vellore Institute of Technology/University of Hartford : A system to remove contaminants from tannery wastewater
  • University of Minnesota/Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee: A drip irrigation system for farmers

The Acara Challenge 2010 is part of the Acara Institute at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. The Acara Institute's mission is to develop sustainable business solutions that address global societal challenges through academia and industry partnerships.

The May 17 finals will be available online at https://umconnect.umn.edu/acara. For more information on the Acara Institute and a complete schedule for the Acara Challenge finals, please visit: http://acarainstitute.org/?110410.