The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) today announced nearly $200,000 in grants to Massachusetts entrepreneurs to advance clean technology innovation.
“Massachusetts-based clean energy entrepreneurs are driving the sector forward,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, who chairs the MassCEC Board of Directors.
“There are 80,000 clean energy workers in Massachusetts, and programs like Catalyst will help continue the growth of this booming industry.”
“The award winners announced today are striving to create the next generation of solutions to global clean energy challenges and this critical early-stage funding will speed the pace of innovation,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton.
The MassCEC Catalyst Program, which is funded by MassCEC and managed by MTTC, awards early-stage researchers and companies grant awards up to $40,000 to help demonstrate the commercial viability of clean energy technology developed at startup companies or spun out of research institutions.
Previous Catalyst award winners have gone on to raise over $10 million in follow-on funding from various sources, including angel investors, venture capitalists and grants from federal programs including The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the National Science Foundation and the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR).
“As prior awardees have shown, this funding can be truly catalytic in helping to build entrepreneurial ventures in Massachusetts. These grants, while very small, enable inventors to take technologies from idea to early prototype to demonstrate that the technology works. The results of these grants then enable the inventors to raise additional commercialization funding,” said Abigail Barrow, director of the MTTC.
Recipients must use funding for projects that move their technologies towards commercialization.
The Catalyst Program also serves as a commitment to NECEC Institute’s Cleantech Innovations New England program, which looks to accelerate New England’s clean energy economy to global leadership by building an active community of stakeholders and a world-class cluster of clean energy companies.
“MassCEC’s Catalyst program provides valuable support to cleantech entrepreneurs and innovators in the earliest stages of development, connecting them to critical resources to help validate their technologies,” said Peter Rothstein, President of the New England Clean Energy Council and the NECEC Institute. “We welcome this new round of awardees into the regional cleantech innovation community and look forward to working with awardees as they grow.”
The following researchers will each receive $40,000 grants:
Eliza Becton, Refresh Water, Somerville — Refresh Water’s vending kiosks store plastic bottle flat and empty, and expand and fill them with filtered, flavored, and/or carbonated water at the point of sale. These kiosks can cut the carbon footprint of bottled water by 80 percent.
Douglas Lamm, Lamm & Associates, Somerville — Lamm & Associates has developed a retrofit insulation process that safely micro-injects a polyurethane foam into under-insulated wall cavities, reducing energy costs by over 30 percent at a significantly lower cost than alternatives. Contrary to current spraying and injection practices standard in the industry, the company’s method can target unexposed and partially-insulated wall cavities.
Melinda Hale, Loci Controls, Inc., Somerville – Loci Controls automates the monitoring and control of methane collection systems in landfills, optimizing gas production in real time. The system will increase electricity revenue, control odors, reduce emissions, and increase landfill compliance.
Martin Bazant and Cullen Buie, “Hydrogen Bromine Reversible Fuel Cell for Low Cost Energy Storage” (MIT) — Bazant and Buie have invented and demonstrated a new fuel cell that eliminates the need for a membrane, the most costly component of existing systems.
Daniel Shani, Energy Intelligence, Boston — Energy Intelligence has developed a road-mounted hardware system that harnesses braking power from vehicles and generates significant amounts of energy. The weight of passing vehicles depresses a hinged metal plate on the surface of the road, which moves hydraulic fluids to build up pressure and run a generator.
Created by the Green Jobs Act of 2008, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is dedicated to accelerating the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects in the Commonwealth—while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts. Since its inception in 2009, MassCEC has helped clean energy companies grow, supported municipal clean energy projects and invested in residential and commercial renewable energy installations creating a robust marketplace for innovative clean technology companies and service providers.