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July 14, 2017

Founders of NovoMoto to present at WI CleanTech Forum

Written By: Annie Anderson

On Monday, July 24, 2017, from 4 to 6 p.m., the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation will host its WI CleanTech Network Forum. These forums focus on advances in clean technology startups at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, particularly on the needs and challenges of entrepreneurs and others. Clean technology includes things like power systems, controls, alternative fuels, and more.

Two of the presenters at the forum are the founders of NovoMoto, Mehrdad Arjmand and Aaron Olson. Arjmand, who received his PhD in engineering physics in 2016, was advised by Materials Science and Engineering Professor Izabella Szlufarska. Olson is currently a PhD student in engineering physics, advised by Engineering Physics Professor Emeritus Gerald Kulcinski.

The pair founded NovoMoto in 2015 after taking the Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship class in the Wisconsin School of Business to complete their PhD minors. “We came across the idea to provide electricity for off-grid communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The feedback from the judges at the end of the class was very positive which encouraged us to start the company,” says Arjmand.

NovoMoto provides clean, affordable electricity through stand-alone solar powered systems to rural communities in the developing world.

The two saw that many people in that region live without access to affordable grid electricity. Instead, residents use expensive, inefficient, and dirtier alternatives like kerosene or diesel generators. To date, NovoMoto has won more than $127,000 in awards and grants, including one from the U.S. Department of Energy. Arjmand and Olson are currently working on a private pilot with 106 customers in six villages in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

During their presentation, the two will speak on NovoMoto’s recent progress and its business model. The forum is free for UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff and $10 for the public. Register by July 21. Drinks and light refreshments will be available.

For other stories on NovoMoto, please see these from the Clean Energy Trust Challenge and the Graduate School.