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Engineering Teams Pitch Business Plans to Save Lives and the Planet

May 03, 2019

University of Idaho College of Engineering students earned money toward innovative business plans during the College of Business and Economics' Idaho Pitch Competition and Startup Vandal on April 26.

Both teams tied for first place in the Startup Vandal technology track, earning $4,250 each.

Engineering student Ed Hall and business major Alex Boatman accept Idaho Pitch award.
Engineering student Ed Hall and business major Alex Boatman accept Idaho Pitch award.

Team, "Infection Prevention," including mechanical engineering seniors Ed Hall and Elena Tipton, biological engineering senior Amy Macias and business senior Alex Boatman took second place in the Idaho Pitch, earning and additional $800 and first place in the Startup Vandal category, Idaho Capital Ventures Most Promising Technology, earning $500.

Their urinary catheter designed to flush the urethra to rid the urinary tract of harmful bacterial buildup has the potential to save lives and millions of dollars in treatments. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections are the most common hospital acquired infection, affecting 80 percent of patients receiving catheters and causing over 13,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

Engineering students Kenny Sheffler, Holly Terrill, Devin Richards, Anson Lunstrum and Kaitlyn Lindholm accept their Idaho Pitch award.
Engineering students Kenny Sheffler, Holly Terrill, Devin Richards, Anson Lunstrum and Kaitlyn Lindholm accept their Idaho Pitch award.

A second team, "Trash 2 Gas," took third place in the Idaho Pitch and an extra $600 for their business plan to bring more education into local elementary and high school classrooms on how food waste can be turned into energy.

The interdisciplinary team of engineering students includes Anson Lunstrum, Kaitlyn Lindholm, Devin Richards, Kenny Sheffler, Holly Terrill and Bishal Thapa.

Their business plan would bring anaerobic digestion into local sixth through 12th grade classrooms. Anaerobic digestion is the natural process of breaking down organic material in closed spaces where there is no oxygen. This process also creates a biogas composed of methane and carbon dioxide that can be used as a natural energy to produce heat or electricity.

By having a digester in the classroom, students could insert their own food waste and see the process take place. The digester would also include devices to measure the biogas output, so students could see the energy they are creating.

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at uidaho.edu