MassCEC Announces Winners of 2014 InnovateMass Program

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Robert Fitzpatrick
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Funding for new energy technologies draws $1.2M in additional investments
Apr 7, 2014 –

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) CEO Alicia Barton today announced four projects that will receive more than $500,000 in funding as part of the InnovateMass program, which seeks to advance deployment of innovative clean energy technology in the Commonwealth.

The funding will allow the technology teams to test and showcase their early-stage technologies in preparation for commercialization and sales into the marketplace.

“Massachusetts companies are creating solutions for the world’s clean energy needs, while creating local jobs as these businesses grow,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, who serves as chair of the MassCEC Board of Directors. “

“The Commonwealth has long been a staging ground for innovation,” said CEO Barton. “These exciting projects will ensure that continues through the next generation of cutting-edge technology.”

Through the technology team partnerships created in response to this program, the InnovateMass grants will leverage an additional $1.2 million in private and public investment or in-kind services and equipment and fund projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Under InnovateMass, technology teams were eligible to receive up to $150,000 in funds for projects designed to address energy challenges facing the Commonwealth. The development of clean energy technologies requires a successful demonstration and validation of the technology in order to make it viable for investment and ready for mass production.

Teams were required to provide a match of at least 50 percent of the project’s cost.

The technology teams receiving funding are:

  • Billerica-based Nuvera Fuel Cells Inc. (with Toyota Motor Sales, AvCarb and Northeast Electrochemical Storage Cluster) – $150,000 (with a $830,740 match) to assist in demonstrating an innovative electrochemical hydrogen compression system for use in fuel cell electric vehicles. This project will include the development of Massachusetts’ first public hydrogen refueling station at its Billerica headquarters. 
  • Somerville-based Sparkplug Power Inc. (with the Holyoke Gas & Electric Department and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst) – $150,000 (with a $223,000 match) for the deployment of residential energy storage systems that will charge Lithium batteries during periods of low electrical demand, with the utility controlling whether households get their power from the electric grid, the battery or a combination of the two at any given time resulting in energy cost savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions.
  • Amherst-based Black Island Wind Turbines (with Applied Dynamics Corporation) – $150,000 (with a $75,000 match) to finalize the design of a highly-reliable small wind turbine for use in remote locations, military applications and areas that experience extremely high winds.
  • Needham-based SolarOne Solutions (with the City of Somerville and CIMCON Software) – $88,779 (with a $57,772 match) to fund networked, off-the-grid solar-powered lighting for pedestrian and bicycle paths. The lighting systems will allow for excess energy to be used to power other devices, such as security cameras, while providing more affordable lighting for pedestrian and bike paths than conventional electricity delivery infrastructure.

"I am very pleased that Black Island Wind is one step closer to bringing the wind turbine design that can survive Antarctica to the general public," State Senator Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) said. "A small scale, rugged and efficient wind turbine has been a missing piece in the alternate energy market."

“Somerville has a longstanding commitment to sustainable, green, and environmentally-friendly practices and policies, and we’ve seen a large number of entrepreneurs, local businesses and start-ups and clean-energy companies take root in the city,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “New England’s largest cleantech incubator, Greentown Labs, is now growing in Somerville. We have some of the most innovative and talented minds in the nation right here in Somerville, working to make our community, our state, and our nation healthier and more sustainable, and we are proud of Sparkplug Power, Inc., and grateful to MassCEC for affording them the opportunity to continue their great work.”

The Massachusetts’ clean energy economy grew by 11.8 percent from July 2011 to July 2012, according to the 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, which shows the growing sector employs 80,000 people at 5,550 clean energy firms across the Commonwealth.