The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) today announced $200,000 in grants for four early-stage clean energy companies as part of AccelerateMass, a program designed to provide funding to Massachusetts-based startup companies that recently graduated from business accelerator programs that focus on developing clean energy innovations.
“Massachusetts has a rich history of innovation and is proud to support entrepreneurs working hard to develop new, creative clean energy solutions,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “A vibrant startup scene is an important driver for any innovative economy and we are pleased these grants can help play a role in sustaining a competitive and innovative clean energy economy.”
“Massachusetts is a leader in clean energy innovation, and by providing this funding we are able to help accelerate groundbreaking technologies designed to meet the Commonwealth’s most pressing energy challenges,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is committed to supporting the small businesses that are creating jobs and economic growth in the Commonwealth.”
MassCEC’s AccelerateMass was developed to support early-stage companies that have graduated successfully from business accelerator programs, which provide technology development mentorship, business plan development guidance as well as cash prizes to promising startup companies. While the program was only open to eligible recent Massachusetts-based MassChallenge and Cleantech Open Northeast graduates during its first year, the 2017 AccelerateMass program opened to five additional accelerators: Techstars Boston, TiE ScaleUp, Valley Venture Mentors, VentureWell’s ASPIRE Program, Village Capital’s Energy Program, and all Cleantech Open chapters across the United States.
“Supporting early-stage clean energy entrepreneurs encourages the innovation the Commonwealth needs to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “This funding will also help to drive these breakthrough technologies to market opportunities, delivering new, clean energy solutions for residents across the Commonwealth.”
“By supporting these early-stage companies, we are able to address a persistent funding challenge for young companies that seek to bring their ideas to the marketplace,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “This program seeks to build on the momentum of companies that are driving their business plans forward through these startup support programs located across the Commonwealth.”
MassCEC awarded the following companies $50,000 each in an initial investment. MassCEC may award up to an additional $100,000 each in the future to the companies that reach specific business milestones including producing prototypes and raising additional capital.
North Grafton-based Battery Resourcers is developing a lithium ion battery recycling process – which produces 20 times less carbon dioxide than common battery recycling processes – to benefit North American electric vehicle manufacturers.
Waltham-based CoolComposites is developing an insulation additive known as CoolFlux, which improves the performance of insulation by up to 40 percent.
Boston-based Electra Vehicles is developing a battery technology designed to reduce system costs by 42 percent and weight by 50 percent, while doubling battery lifetime and improving safety for electric and hybrid vehicles.
Longmeadow-based Idle Smart is developing an engine start/stop technology that eliminates unnecessary idling among trucking fleets, saving over 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel per vehicle per year and reducing downtime as a result of dead batteries or during extreme cold temperatures.
“Battery Resourcers is at the forefront of developing technology to significantly reduce the environmental impacts of the battery recycling process,” said Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury). “I congratulate this Grafton business on receiving this grant funding, and appreciate their commitment to reducing carbon emissions. I also commend MassCEC and the Administration for their ongoing commitment to advancing clean energy initiatives in the Commonwealth.”
“We welcome this investment in one of the many innovative local businesses we have in Western Massachusetts,” said Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow). “Massachusetts is leading the nation in providing smart solutions to our clean energy crisis, and innovators like Longmeadow's Idle Smart is no exception to the rule.”
“It is gratifying to know that a startup business within our community has been chosen as a recipient of a Massachusetts Clean Energy Center grant,” said Representative David Muradian (R-Grafton). “I am excited for Battery Resourcers of North Grafton, and I look forward to hearing about all of the amazing endeavors this company plans to make in the near future.”
“This funding encourages businesses to come up with creative ways to create clean energy solutions,” said Representative John Lawn (D-Waltham). “I am happy to see Waltham based company, CoolComposites, has come up with such an innovative solution improving the performance of insulation, this is a great way to help Massachusetts residents conserve both energy and money.”
According to the 2016 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, the clean energy sector in Massachusetts has grown 75 percent since 2010 and employs 105,212 workers across the state. The Massachusetts clean energy sector is an $11.8 billion industry, representing 2.9 percent of the state’s workforce and 2.5 percent of the state’s overall economy. According to the report, Massachusetts is No. 1 in the United States for per capita early-stage clean energy venture investment, beating out California. Early stage investment in Massachusetts clean energy companies grew 166 percent over the previous year in 2016.
“The AccelerateMass grant program provides the financial support that early-stage startups need to build off the success of participating in the region's top accelerators and move towards commercializing their clean energy technologies,” said Scott Bailey, Managing Director of MassChallenge Boston. “Entrepreneurship is the key to driving economic growth, creating new job opportunities, and solving some of the biggest issues our society faces. It's great to see organizations like MassCEC helping to further accelerate this impact, and I congratulate this year's recipients.”
“We are delighted to count MassCEC as a partner,” said Marilyn Waite, Senior Manager of Energy at Village Capital. “The funding provided through AccelerateMass is vital to scale solutions to our most pressing energy challenges. Village Capital alumni companies now have access to resources from one of the leading institutions in the nation committed to clean energy.”
This funding builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to support the Commonwealth’s vibrant clean energy innovation sector including recent investments announced in clean heating and cooling, energy storage and electric vehicle technologies. In August 2016, Governor Baker signed bipartisan comprehensive energy diversification legislation that promotes the administration’s commitment to reducing energy costs while strengthening the state’s clean energy economy and progressing towards Massachusetts’ greenhouse gas reduction requirements.
AccelerateMass is funded through MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust, which was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1997. The trust is funded by municipal electric departments that have opted to participate in the program, along with a systems benefit charge paid by electric customers of investor-owned utilities in the state.