Icorium Engineering Company selected for prestigious Rice Business Plan Competition

Icorium Engineering Company, a sustainable engineering startup and spin-out company from the University of Kansas, is one of just 42 student-led startups from around the world selected for the prestigious Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC). The competition, now in its 24th year, gives collegiate entrepreneurs real-world experience by pitching to investors, receiving feedback and advancing their startups. For the 2023 competition, over 450 teams spanning the globe applied for 42 invited slots. Icorium is the only startup from a Kansas university invited to compete.

“Accepting a spot in this highly selective competition is a true honor,” said Kalin Baca, Ph.D., MBA, the co-founder and chief operating officer of Icorium Engineering Company. “This experience will be incredibly beneficial, and no matter the outcome, our team will be able to take what we learn and apply it to accelerate the growth and advancement of Icorium.”

With access to mentors, real-world experience and investment opportunities, the RBPC helps student founders realize their potential. The 42 selected teams will compete for over $1.5 million in cash and prizes. The first-place winner earns a $350,000 investment, but every startup is guaranteed at least $950 in prizes, including equity-free cash prizes, potential investments, and in-kind contributions.

Icorium will compete in the ‘energy, cleantech, and sustainability’ category. The company is developing and commercializing novel separation technologies for recycling complex chemical mixtures, such as refrigerants, which have significant global warming impacts. Production of many hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, like those used in air conditioners and grocery store coolers, are being aggressively phased out over the next decade because of global warming concerns. However, these refrigerants will be needed to operate existing cooling systems for decades to come, both in their existing form and as components of next-generation low-global warming potential refrigerants. Because recovered refrigerant mixtures must first be separated into their individual components at very high purities before being recycled, this will create demand for hundreds of millions of pounds of certified recycled refrigerant each year that cannot be produced by any other currently available technology.

Baca, who is a recent KU Ph.D. graduate, will pitch to investors alongside Abby Harders, who is a current Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas and an Icorium R&D Engineer. The competition is scheduled for April 4-6 at Rice University in Houston.

About Icorium Engineering Company

Icorium Engineering Company is a sustainable engineering startup and University of Kansas spinout with a mission to make true circular economies a reality for refrigerants, propellants, and other critical chemical materials. Icorium is developing novel solutions to enable efficient and effective analysis, separation, and purification of the most challenging and complex chemical mixtures at commercial scale. The company is located at KU Innovation Park in Lawrence, Kansas. Learn more at https://icoriumengineering.com/.