Archer Technologies recognized for developing range extender technology for electric cars

December 17, 2013

An Ohio University student team has been named a finalist in the 2014 Ohio Clean Energy Challenge, sponsored by the University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio.  

The student team, Archer Technologies, is the brainchild of Ohio University junior Austin Stahl of the Honors Tutorial College (HTC).  Stahl is majoring in journalism, and pursuing certificates in entrepreneurship and environmental studies.  During summer break, Stahl developed an idea to use solar panels on electric cars as a way to extend range.

With his return to campus in the fall, he recruited team members from the Honors Tutorial College and his entrepreneurship class. The team includes Noah Rosenblatt, who brings finance, management, and strategic leadership expertise.  Rosenblatt is an entrepreneurship major.  Austin Way, an engineering physics major, provides engineering support. Other team members include Alex Harshaw (media arts and studies and entrepreneurship), and Joost Lighart (international business).

“It’s really impressive that the team has made it this far,” said Scott Miller, director of Energy and Environmental Programs at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. “They were fighting a number of headwinds.  It is a testament to the students’ tenacity, a great skill to have.  They’ve all been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug, and are learning great skills.  ”

Some issues included trouble with patents and challenges to technology accessibility.

“The team has been extremely innovative,” said Faith Knutsen, champion for the Challenge at Ohio University and associate director at TechGROWTH Ohio, a public and private partnership administered by Ohio University’s Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs that connects entrepreneurs with resources and support.  “They have had three iterations of new business ideas.  This third one is based on an exciting collaboration between professors, a local technology company, and these young entrepreneurs.” 

The idea that won Archer Technologies a chance to present at the 2014 Ohio Clean Energy Challenge is using Stirling engines, named after original inventor Robert Stirling, to extend the traveling distance of electric automobiles. 

“Through this process, I’ve learned that persistence pays off,” said Stahl. “You’re only as good as your network.  Every time we hit a dead end, our mentors would help guide us or put us in touch with different resources.”

According to Knutsen and Miller, Archer Technologies is the first team from Ohio University to participate in the contest.

“It’s really important as a university to demonstrate our support for these students, particularly if we say we support entrepreneurship,” Miller said.  “These students are competing against outstanding universities and this has the potential to raise the prominence of Ohio University to encourage others to look at Ohio University as a destination for entrepreneurship, and energy and environmental programs.”

Archer Technologies will compete on January 29, 2014 at Cleveland State University for a $10,000 prize.  If chosen as the winner, the team would go on to the Midwest regional competition with a prize of $100,000, and potentially the national competition with another $100,000 prize.

“[These students] have epitomized entrepreneurship and flexibility,” said Knutsen. “It’s a real accomplishment for them to have advanced this far.”

About the Center for Entrepreneurship

The Center for Entrepreneurship at Ohio University is a partnership of Ohio University’s College of Business and Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.  The center builds upon and raises to new levels longstanding efforts at the University and throughout the region to provide entrepreneurial education, business assistance services, and investment capital for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.  Coordinating University resources through the center creates exciting new opportunities for internationally competitive entrepreneurial studies, enhanced commercialization of faculty research, and coordinated support for entrepreneurship, business development, and job creation.  The Center for Entrepreneurship leadership team consists of Lynn Gellermann, executive director, Luke Pittaway, director, Patrick Kreiser, director of academic programs, and Kevin Aspegren, director of student engagement.  For more information on the Center, including upcoming events, please visit www.ohio.edu/entrepreneurship or http://bobcat-entrepreneur.com/.


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