2018-2019 Y-Prize Finalists Take One Technology in Four Different Directions

January 22nd, 2019

Published by Wharton School 

The finalists in Penn’s seventh annual Y-Prize Competition have collectively proposed one of the most diverse slates of applications in recent memory, spanning infection prevention, saltwater desalination, green energy, and tissue engineering. What these ideas have in common, though, is that they all hinge on the same technology: roll-to-roll surface wrinkle printing, developed through a collaboration among several labs at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. This process uses techniques inspired by newspaper printing to produce wrinkled surfaces at an unprecedented scale.


Freshwater depletion is a global issue, and there is a rapidly growing need for additional potable water sources. Desalination has the potential to be a key part of the solution.
This team’s proposed venture, Sansel, provides a scalable technology to create high surface area membranes for use in Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination. Sansel’s membranes increase efficiency, reducing energy and filter costs for desalination plants.