Business and engineering students pair up to create clean energy commutes
Author: Crista Tappan, The School of Business
Posted: July 9, 2019
In April 2019, Portland State University business student Sean Krivonogoff and engineering student Blake Turner won the PSU CleanTech Challenge for co-developing a revolutionary zero-emissions vehicle kit concept.

The kit allows a gasoline-powered engine to burn hydrogen, resulting in a zero-carbon vehicle that doesn't modify any existing components and allows users to switch between gasoline and hydrogen for convenience (when you need to go somewhere without access to hydrogen). By converting vehicles in San Francisco and Los Angeles alone, Turner Automotive’s new kit could prevent up to 40 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. The kit can convert any internal-combustion vehicle into a zero-emission vehicle. 

Krivonogoff’s journey to becoming a co-founder of Turner Automotive started when he enrolled in a product design course at The School of Business. The class propelled him to become a volunteer manager at PSU’s Electronic Prototyping Lab, where Krivonogoff and Turner first met. They quickly saw how their different skill sets of business and engineering could compliment eachother. 

While Turner focused on the engineering side of their business, Krivonogoff focused on business operations, public relations and supply chain. He developed relationships with key vendors, formed a roadmap in navigating the tech market and researched demographics to help set a clear path for Turner Automotive from prototype to implementation. 

“To impact a technology and service that innovates how the masses had previously used a product is a humbling and exciting experience,” said Krivonogoff. 

Krivonogoff, who is in his junior year, credits the Management and Leadership Program at The School of Business for giving him the skills necessary to take on his role in Turner Automotive.

“Research, analysis, finance and business ethics have all played a role,” Krivonogoff said. “Visualizing how I can apply my new knowledge to real life applications has been important in my growth.”

The future is bright for Krivonogoff and Turner Automotive.

“With a business degree and a focus in social innovation and entrepreneurship, I will learn and adapt a triple bottom line mindset that produces efficiency, effectiveness and philanthropy,” Krivonogoff said. “I believe Turner Automotive can achieve this and build a road to clean energy.”

On June 28, Turner and Krivonogoff won second place overall and people’s choice at InventOR, a state-wide challenge designed to increase the number of inventors and entrepreneurs across the state. 

Krivonogoff is finding success through his role on the Portland State Aerospace Society team, which recently competed in the international Base 11 Space Challenge  – winning third place for their liquid-fueled rocket design