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The David McFadden Energy Entrepreneur Challenge

Tuesday, May 13, 9:00-11:30 a.m. - NEXT Theatre 

Honouring past OCE Board Chair David McFadden, the David McFadden Energy Entrepreneur Challenge invites university and college students from across Ontario’s academic institutions to address challenges facing the energy sector. Each year a particular challenge is selected and students pitch their entrepreneurial ideas and solutions to be judged against David’s own philosophy of innovation: that it be economically viable while also leading to the betterment of society in creating a safer, better place. 

Students enter their idea in a three-minute video uploaded to YouTube. Up to 10 finalists will now meet face-to-face with expert advisers, who will help them improve their proposals and strengthen their concepts.  

At Discovery, each finalist receives five minutes to pitch their concept to a panel of energy sector experts and investors. This panel will choose one winner who will be presented with the David McFadden Energy Entrepreneur Award at Discovery and receive $25,000 and a suite of business services to advance the winning business concept.

See complete competition details on OCE's website.

2013/14 Challenge

The theme for this year’s Energy Entrepreneur Challenge is “Energy as Enabler” (or Enlightened Energy). Many of us take for granted the energy we need to heat and air condition our homes and businesses; power our industries; and propel our vehicles. However, in many areas of the globe, energy is scarce or even unavailable.

Your challenge is to create energy solutions that are practical, affordable and sustainable. Your energy solution should also be exportable and adaptable to the needs of different parts of the world. More than just commercially viable your solution should also help contribute to safer, healthier and more environmentally sound communities.

Judging Panel

Moderator – Sean Conway, Visiting Fellow, Centre for Urban Energy, Ryerson University 


  • David McFadden, Chair, International, Partner, Gowlings LaFleur Henderson LLP
  • Brian Armstrong, Corporate Director & Vice Chair, Ontario Centres of Excellence
  • Cara Clairman, President and CEO, Plug'n Drive
  • Carole Champion, Energy & Environment Sector Lead and Director, Industrial Engagement, Ontario Centres of Excellence

2014 Winner

ENTERPRISE: PetroPredict
LEAD: Dominic Toselli
INSTITUTION: University of Waterloo
TEAM: Andrew Andrade, Vikrem Trehin


Using historic production and geological data that companies already own collected from seismic charts, well logs and other sources, PetroPredict uses machine learning and data mining techniques to predict casing integrity issues in conventional oil wells (these include horizontal wells and vertical wells, but exclude thermal wells and truck and shovel operations) and quantify the risk of their occurrences.

Other Finalists

ENTERPRISE: Stack Solutions
LEAD: Ross Cheriton
INSTITUTION: University of Ottawa
TEAM: Mark Yandt


The SunStack is a modular energy conversion system that leverages the low cost of photovoltaic (PV), mini modules, small battery packs and basic power electronics to achieve a truly scalable energy solution.

LEAD: Greg Connell
INSTITUTION: McMaster University
TEAM: Chris Cavalieri, Miguel Meza, Wei Luan


FlipVision signs are reflective and therefore use the energy of the sun to their advantage. Each tiny, reflective pixel is actuated by electromagnets that give the billboard the same flexibility as current digital displays, resulting in the same or increased revenues. FlipVision displays are also much more energy efficient than those using LED technology, and are capable of reducing the total energy consumption by up to 90 per cent.

ENTERPRISE: Ontario Solar Experts
LEAD: Phil Audet
INSTITUTION: St. Lawrence College


The Solar Photovoltaic Energy & Water Purification System from Ontario Solar Experts will address the problem of access to electricity and clean drinking water by producing both electricity and purifying salt or waste water into clean drinkable water in a self-contained and portable system that uses only solar radiation to operate.

LEAD: Sameer Gulamani
INSTITUTION: York University
TEAM: Brian Camenzuli, Adam Camenzuli


The KARIBU Solar Power modular solar lamp allows for the “business in a box” model by separating an income-generating component, the solar panel, from the rest of the solar lamp (rechargeable battery & illuminator). It also allows for different products like a larger solar panel, brighter light or other features (flashlight, radio, etc.).

ENTERPRISE: EnergySavers
LEAD: M. Ryan Manchee
INSTITUTION: Ryerson University
TEAM: Edmund Konroyd-Bolden, Prajesh Mehta 


The EnergySavers model creates a customized approach to reducing the energy consumption of homes while creating immediate savings for homes via cash flow positive financing mechanisms, and improving the value and efficiency of the Ontario housing stock.

ENTERPRISE: Therma Solaris
LEAD: Patrick Trahan
INSTITUTION: University of Ottawa


Therma Solaris’ product can reduce heating and cooling consumption in residential buildings under five stories by up to 80 per cent. This is achieved by leveraging daily temperature variations and storing it in gravel for use at a later time.