MassCEC Announces 13 Clean Energy Innovation Awards

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Robert Fitzpatrick
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Mar 11, 2015 –

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) CEO Alicia Barton today announced $1.2 million in funding for 13 projects across the Commonwealth under a pair of programs aimed at promoting clean energy innovation in Massachusetts.

“Massachusetts is a hub for clean energy innovation and entrepreneurship and Massachusetts is home to at $10 billion clean energy industry that employs more than 80,000 workers,” said Barton. “These grants will help emerging companies and researchers hone the game-changing technologies that will tackle our energy challenges and create local jobs.”

The grants will support clean energy and demonstration projects in Worcester, Cambridge, Medford, Beverly, Salem, Somerville, Boston, Danvers, Newton, Lawrence, Wrentham, Dartmouth and Milford.

Funding for the awards comes from MassCEC’s InnovateMass and Catalyst programs. The InnovateMass program funds demonstration projects that deploy innovative clean energy technologies in Massachusetts helping to bridge the widely-recognized funding gap between early- and late-stage companies, also known as the Commercialization Valley of Death. Since its launch in 2013, InnovateMass has awarded $1.2 million in funding for demonstration projects across the Commonwealth, leveraging $2.4 million in other private and public investment.

Catalyst, which is funded by MassCEC and managed by the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC), provides grants for early- stage researchers and companies to help them demonstrate the commercial viability of clean energy technologies. Since Catalyst’s launch in 2010, MassCEC has awarded $1.9 million to 48 research teams. Past awardees have gone on to raise over $35 million in financing from outside investors, venture capitalists and federal programs. Catalyst awardees have formed seven new companies and received patents and disclosed inventions for 42 technologies. 

“As prior awardees have shown, this funding can be truly catalytic in helping to build entrepreneurial ventures in Massachusetts,” said MTTC Director Abigail Barrow. “These grants, while very small, enable inventors to take technologies from idea to early prototype to demonstrate that the technology works.”

The latest round for Catalyst awards opened on Feb. 25, 2015 and the program is accepting applications on a rolling basis until March 30, 2015. For the first time, two additional awards will be reserved for the Catalyst Water Challenge to support innovative water technologies. All applications are due March 30, 2015.

Taken together, Catalyst and InnovateMass are designed to support companies at different stages of the development cycle. Several past Catalyst awardees have gone on to receive InnovateMass funding in their later product stages.

Organizations receiving funding under the InnovateMass program are:

  • 7AC Technologies (Beverly)  ($150,000 MassCEC grant, with $125,000 in matching funds) - 7AC Technologies is developing an energy-saving evaporative cooling technology – to be demonstrated at Chester Engineering’s commercial building in Salem – for commercial roof-mounted air conditioning systems. 
  • Building Envelope Materials (Somerville) ($50,000 MassCEC  grant, with $25,000 in matching funds): Building Envelope Materials is working with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and the Hudson Housing Authority to demonstrate a quick and affordable method for deep energy retrofits on existing buildings. The method will be demonstrated at an elderly housing complex owned by the Hudson Housing Authority and aims to cut energy use by 30 percent.
  • Fluid-Screen (Boston) ($150,000 MassCEC grant, with $75,000 in matching funds): Partnering with Avecia of Milford and RiverKeeper of Ossining, NY, Fluid-Screen will carry out field trials of their hand-held device that can detect bacteria in water in 30 minutes, as opposed to several days.
  • Loci Controls (Somerville) ($150,000 MassCEC grant, with $79,750 in matching funds): Loci Controls will demonstrate its advanced methane gas collection technique, which uses wireless sensor networks with automatic control valves at the Crapo Hill Landfill in Dartmouth with the goal of increasing landfill revenue , controlling odors and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • NBD Nanotechnologies (Danvers) ($150,000 MassCEC grant, with $150,000 in matching funds): Partnering with the Merrick Group, Inc., NBD Nanotechnologies will pilot their enhanced condensation coating technology at an operating power plant condenser. The technology is expected to improve the energy efficiency of condenser systems, which provide cooling in power plants.
  • Rainbank (Newton) ($31,140 MassCEC grant, with $15,615 in matching funds): RainBank will partner with the City of Lawrence to install a valve system that prevents flooding by retaining and releasing storm water based on drain capacity on the roof of the Parthum School.
  • Bevi (Somerville) ($150,000 MassCEC grant, with $173,940 in matching funds): Bevi, with AquaHealth  in Wrentham, is developing beverage machines that are expected to be more than 80 percent more efficient than standard water systems and will reduce disposable plastic bottle use.
  • UltraCell Insulation (Newton) ($150,000 MassCEC grant, with $75,000 in matching funds): UltraCell is developing a cellulose insulation product that increases energy efficiency and grant funding will allow for further testing and demonstration in a home.

Organizations and researchers receiving $40,000 grants under the Catalyst program are:

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester), Dr. Yan Wang: – Wang has developed a technology that produces iron using less energy and without carbon dioxide emissions. Grant funding will go towards prototyping and demonstration of the technology.
  • Cardinal Wind (Cambridge): Cardinal Wind provides risk analysis software for investors in the wind power industry using technical and meteorological data. Grant funding will help further develop the system’s user interface.
  • Tessolar (Medford): Tessolar has developed an efficient, lower-cost solar panel design that streamlines the installation process for residential, commercial and utility scale, potentially cutting the overall cost of solar electricity by at least 20 percent. Grant funding will be used to develop and test prototypes.
  • Blackburn Energy (Cambridge): Blackburn Energy has created a power generation unit for tractor-trailer trucks that converts the rotating mass of the driveline into electricity. That electricity can power sleeper cabs during overnight idle time, saving an estimated $10,000 and 21 tons of carbon dioxide per truck, annually. Grant funding will help commercialize the technology from a prototype to a fully installed power unit.
  • DropWise Technologies (Cambridge): DropWise is developing a new coating material for heat exchangers, as well as a vapor-based application process. Combined, these innovations will increase the thermal performance of the exchangers, which are used widely in power generation, desalination, chemical refining and refrigeration. Grant funding will enable the production of testing apparatus to analyze the long-term durability of the coating material.