Mud Power wins $100K Prize at MegaWatt Ventures Clean Energy Business Plan Competition

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Partnering to promote innovation and economic competitiveness worldwide, the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Central Florida, announced the winning team of the first annual MegaWatt Ventures clean energy business plan competition.   Mud Power, led by University of South Florida students Marlyn Colon, Matthias Elliot, Robert Byrne and advisor Dr. Andres Cardenas, was the recipient of the $100K prize money.  Mud Power’s technology concept is to use microbial fuel cells (MFCs) for powering sub-surface instrumentation deployments. According to the distinguished judging panel, comprised of America’s top clean energy executives and leading investors across the country, Mud Power presented a strong business plan and technology that demonstrated clean energy practices with an upside potential for commercial success.

 Based out of St. Petersburg, Florida, Mud Power is developing a system for long-term renewable power that could be used by the U.S. Military, Homeland Security, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and numerous other institutions. This technology will reduce ship costs from repeated deployments and allow enhanced monitoring of the world’s water bodies. The company plans to develop several models of MFCs to meet the demands of various buyers, offering customers huge savings and essentially limitless power for sub-surface marine instrumentation. Colon, Elliot, and Cardenas have completed a lab bench-top prototype, which was presented to a panel of judges at the competition.

 "We are thrilled beyond belief to have won the MegaWatt Ventures’ competition. It has fueled our motivation to work even harder at accomplishing our goal of launching our product to the market.” commented Colon. “The funding received from MegaWatt Ventures will be used to help further develop and commercialize our Microbial Fuels Cells. This product will offer users and customers the potential of enormous savings and essentially limitless power for their sub-surface marine instrumentation.” 

Held on October 20-21st at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, Florida, the MegaWatt Ventures business plan competition featured eight teams from across the state, who partnered with Florida’s research universities to create clean energy technologies. Each team received $10,000 in startup funding to create their prototypes and presented their technology and business plans to prestigious panel of business and technical judges from The Dow Chemical Company, Venrock, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Pangaea Ventures, Arsenal Venture Partners, Siemens, Mitsubishi Power Systems, The Walt Disney Company, Turbine Technology Services and General Physics.

 “This competition helped not only these companies in their quest to commercialize, but also to raise awareness of the exciting business opportunities emerging in the renewable energy sector to many other entrepreneurs in Florida”, said Tom O’Neal, Executive Director of the program. 

For more information sponsorship opportunities or applications for the 2012 event or clips from the 2011 inaugural event, please visit or contact Andrea Wesser at 407-882-0594 or via email at   

MegaWatt Ventures: MegaWatt Ventures is an annual clean energy business plan competition that is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Central Florida in conjunction with the University of Florida, University of South Florida, Florida State University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and the Florida Institute of Technology. The competition has an over-riding mission of encouraging the commercialization of innovative energy-related technologies from the lab bench into the marketplace. Students, entrepreneurs and faculty are eligible to participate in this exciting annual program that brings innovation, entrepreneurship and the energy industry together to create new ventures that have the potential to create new jobs and help solve today’s global energy issues. For more information, please visit or call 407-882-0594.