An NDSU student team recently was chosen for the VentureWell E-Team grant for their Bio-Shield Roofing Systems. The system involves creating shingles for houses made from biomass. The team receives $5,000 and three months of coaching to help develop the idea.
The student leader of the project is Laura Friedmann, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. “This project uses natural fibers to create a sustainable composite roofing material to replace the use of asphalt shingles. Flax and hemp fibers are coated with a thermo set resin of epoxy in a mold to form the shingle,” she said. “We have worked on this grant since September and are absolutely thrilled that we got accepted and have the opportunity to make this idea a reality.”
The project originated with Chad Ulven, professor of mechanical engineering and the project’s faculty adviser, because of his research focus on natural fiber composite materials. Friedmann was given the project from the previous year’s graduating students and focused on gaining funding and guidance to take the prototype and put it out into the market.
“To do this, Dr. Ulven and I got a group of students together from architecture, business and engineering to form a team to tackle the VentureWell E-team grant,” Friedmann said.
Each student tackled a different task that best suited their expertise. The architects made up multiple aesthetic shingle designs, the business students focused on the market potential and customer base and the engineering students worked on improving the strength characteristics of the shingles.
The Venturewell E-Team grant program assists multi-disciplinary student-led teams who want to bring their innovation to the market. Each year, the program awards more than $700,000 in non-dilutive E-Team grants to early-stage student science and tech startups who are on the way to launching their innovations with a health, social or environmental impact.
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