Last Thursday night was the UC Davis’s Big Bang Awards Event, the culmination of all the effort since November of last year.  Over 50 teams were winnowed down through the process to five finalists. Besides cash awards for first and second place, the audience chooses a “People’s Choice” winner.  In addition, there were nine sector awards and 8 awards for those that entered posters. In all over $100,000 was given out.

CleanStart sponsors one of the sector awards each year and gives $2,500 to the best team that had clean technology at the heart of their business.  This year, DTE Materials won the CleanStart Prize. They developed hemp plant-based fibers that result in  higher performing, cost-effective, and more sustainable home insulation than existing cellulose insulation as a substitute for petroleum-based fiberglass insulation. Their insulation alternative can address the concerns of health and sustainability without sacrificing cost and performance. They also won the overall Energy Prize of $10,000 sponsored by Sierra Energy.  For more on DTE and its bio-based insulation, you can look at their website and at a short video on YouTube.

Thomas Hall


Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStarts Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.