University of California, Riverside

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

UCR Team Wins at ClimateLaunchpad

UCR Team Wins at ClimateLaunchpad

UCR Team Wins at ClimateLaunchpad

October 28, 2016

A material created by two UCR engineers won second place overall and the “audience favorite” award at the 2016 ClimateLaunchpad competition, held by Climate-KIC, a European public-private innovation partnership focused on climate change. The competition took place Oct. 7-8 in Tallinn, Estonia.

The Sponge research team (left to right) Cengiz Ozkan, Fabian Villalobos, Andrew Patalono, Daisy Patino, and Mihri Ozkan.

Cengiz Ozkan, professor of mechanical engineering, and Mihri Ozkan, professor of electrical engineering, received the award for ‘Sponge,’ a highly porous, carbon-based material that is super hydrophobic. It repels water, but also absorbs harmful contaminants. Sponge can be used to prevent oil spills and safely absorb contaminants from the ocean.


Around 700 projects were submitted to Climate Launchpad 2016; 90 became semifinalists and 15 finalists. The jury selected the three best teams to win cash prizes and the top 10 teams to join the Climate-KIC Accelerator.

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