HNEI researcher leads team selected for UH Ventures Accelerator 2020 cohort

Hawai‘i Innovation Lab, led by Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute postdoctoral researcher Arif Rahman, was selected for the 2020 cohort of the UH Ventures Accelerator program. Through their company, Rahman and collaborators developed low-cost, liquid metal, optical coating for flexible mirrors used to generate solar energy.

Conventionally, curved glass mirrors, which are expensive and prone to damage, are used in concentrated solar power (CSP) power plants to focus the sun’s light. A cheaper alternative is mirror film on an aluminum back, which provides the same reflectivity, and enhanced durability. The Hawai‘i Innovation Lab developed a low-cost reflective coating technique that, if successful, will reduce the cost of CSP mirrors by 40-50%.

Being able to participate in UH Venture Accelerator cohort is instrumental in our endeavors to drive the commercialization of the technology and innovation,” said Rahman. “An incredible team of business mentors is helping us through extensive mentoring, education, and networking in order to accelerate the market readiness of our technology. We hope to expedite our go-to-market game plan utilizing the training received during the program and lasting relationships with UH Ventures after the program.”

The UH Ventures Accelerator is powered by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at the Shidler College of Business. Five Hawai‘i startups were selected for the spring cohort. Designed for early-stage, University of Hawai‘i-affiliated ventures, the program provides tailored mentorship, intensive startup education, and seed funding.

“During the application and selection process, we were most encouraged by the diversity of startups being built by students, alumni, faculty and staff across the 10 campuses within the UH System,” said UH Office of Innovation and Commercialization Interim Director Steve Auerbach. “We look forward to supporting more entrepreneurial activity to help our economy get back on track after the current crisis.”

Read more in the PACE announcement.