Won $10,000 each
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 4, 2017) — Western Kentucky University’s undergraduate team and University of Kentucky’s graduate team took home the top prizes of $10,000 apiece at the Alltech Innovation Competition 2017.
The WKU team of Taylor Wathen, Blake Knott and Zachary Wathen, and their advisors Dawn Langkamp Bolton and Whitney Oliver Peake, won for undergraduates with Tech Gnar. The program and database uses hundreds of complex measurements to suggest songs to users that are tailor-made to their musical interests. They are planning to launch their website and an app at the end of the year.
The UK team of Fletcher Young and Zach Yonts, and their advisors Mariam Gorjian and Warren O. Nash III, won for graduates with Stillage Solutions. By using leftover stillage from the brewing and distilling process to produce activated carbon, the team hopes to develop a low-cost, high-quality and more environmentally friendly activated carbon product than what is currently developed using coal, coconut shells and wood. The product could be used in everything from water and gas filtration systems to fuel cells and supercapacitator-driven devices, such as cell phones.
For the first time, Alltech also awarded the Disruptor Award—a reflection of this year’s theme at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, “Disrupt the Disruptors”—to the team with the most innovative venture. This year’s award of $2,000 went to Bellarmine University’s undergraduate team for their EcoCups idea, a biodegradable version of the popular K-Cups used for coffee. The team consisted of Ariana Sherrard, Michaela Julian and Michael Ann Humphreys, and their advisor Dr. Michael Mattei.
The competition began in 2013 in Kentucky and Ireland, and challenges undergraduate and graduate university teams to develop forward-thinking business plans on innovative ideas that will improve local economies and have the potential to change the world.
Alltech also holds sister competitions in Ireland, India and Brazil, reflecting Alltech’s commitment to lifelong education and the inspiration of innovation and entrepreneurship across the globe.