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Hydrogen fuel cell venture wins top Panasci competition prize

NanoHydroChem, a startup focused on hydrogen fuel cell technology, took first place in the University at Buffalo's Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition.

The two-member team consists of Parham Rohani, a doctoral student in chemical and biological engineering, and S. Bruce Kohrn, a business strategist. Their venture will receive $25,000 in startup capital and $27,000 in in-kind services.

NanoHydroChem has developed patent-pending technology for producing hydrogen fuel from water, to generate power from fuel cells.

The second-place venture, Chip-Down, is a portable, golf-inspired chipping game that uses a specially engineered, adjustable golf wedge. Its team members, Bernard Cohen and Joseph Ricciardi, are both bachelor's of science and MBA students in engineering and management. They will receive $10,000 to support their venture.

Thirty-three teams entered this year's competition. The field was reduced to five finalists who made presentations to a panel of judges on Wednesday.

The competition was created by the UB School of Management and the UB Office of Economic Development to promote startup growth. It was funded with a $1 million endowment from the late Henry A. Panasci Jr., a UB graduate and businessman.

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