September 1, 2017
James Sinka, a 5th year chemistry student, became inspired when he learned about new chemistries being used to make photovoltaics. He wanted to improve the technology so that it would be more effective indoors. Dmitry Liapitch, an MBA graduate student studying Entrepreneurship and Innovative Ventures, joined the team as the entrepreneurial lead in order to build a business around the technology and find applications for indoor photovoltaics. Andrew Fleischer, also a chemistry student in his 4th year, joined the team to help with the research and development to make the initial AmbientPV prototypes. Together, these three students make a great team to bring their project AmbientPV to reality. They have been making progress on developing their indoor photovoltaics and are looking forward to taking the next steps towards turning their technology into a successful business.
AmbientPV makes photovoltaic energy harvesters that capture ambient light indoors in order to power wireless electronics. Most wireless electronics suffer from limited battery life, so AmbientPV wants to extend that battery life and eventually eliminate the need for batteries all together by capturing indoor lighting. Their technology is unique because they are able to print and mold modules into custom shapes to fit into wireless electronics. Unlike their competitors, silicon solar cells, which have to be flat and are limited to square shapes. Their goal is to reduce battery waste in wireless electronics and change the way that photovoltaics are being manufactured to further improve the sustainability of the solar panel industry.
AmbientPV started off in the Applied Entrepreneurship course, where James and Dmitry met. Soon after that, they applied to the Nexus-NY clean energy incubator, RIT’s Tiger Tank Competition, and Saunders Summer Startup Program. AmbientPV also competed in the Regional and New York State Business Plan Competitions and also received support from the Simone Center as an NSF I-Corps funded team. These programs allowed us to get the funds we needed to initiate in customer discovery and determine if there is business potential for AmbientPV. Throughout their journey, they were supported by the Simone Center and ongoing dedication from their mentors including Richard DeMartino, Anthony Testa, Dana Wolcott and Jeff Arywitz.
To support Ambient PV and their Crowdfunding campaign, click here!
Stay tuned for next week's Innovation Spotlight Story.