MassCEC Awarded $200,000 in Clean Energy Research Grants to Massachusetts Clean Tech Innovators

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Robert Fitzpatrick
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Feb 7, 2013 –

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) today announced $200,000 in new grants to Massachusetts entrepreneurs as part of their commitment to NECEC Institute’s Cleantech Innovations New England program. These grants are issued through the MassCEC Catalyst Program, which funds the commercialization of new clean energy technologies from Massachusetts’ startup companies or being spun out our world-class research institutions.

“The clean energy innovations developed in Massachusetts are driving the clean energy sector forward,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, who chairs the MassCEC Board of Directors. “There are 5,000 clean energy companies in Massachusetts and these types of programs help support and grow this bustling industry.”

“Massachusetts innovators are working hard to address the energy challenges facing the world and these Catalyst awards will help advance the next generation of energy solutions for the global marketplace,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton McDevitt.
The MassCEC Catalyst Program, which is funded by MassCEC and managed by MTTC, awards early-stage researchers grant awards up to $40,000 to help demonstrate the commercial viability of their clean energy technology.

“These small grants are very important in moving a technology from the idea stage to having a prototype that shows that the technology works, this type of funding is exceedingly important in supporting commercialization in the Commonwealth,” said Abigail Barrow, director of the MTTC.

Recipients must use funding for projects that move their technologies towards commercialization.

“Catalyst plays a key role in engaging the cleantech community to help bring new technologies to market,” said Andrew Wilson, Executive Director of the NECEC Institute. "The Cleantech Innovations New England program congratulates this round of awardees."

The following researchers will each receive $40,000 grants:

Qichao Hu PhD, SolidEnergy Systems Corporation “Safe and High-Energy Density Polymer Ionic Liquid Rechargeable Lithium Metal Battery for Wide Temperature Operations”
SolidEnergy is a Massachusetts-based startup commercializing a safe and long-lasting battery technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The polymer ionic liquid (PIL) battery has two times the energy density of a traditional lithium-ion battery and can safely operate over a wide temperature range. The company plans to use the Catalyst grant to build early-stage commercial form factor prototype batteries.
Patrick Quinlan, Jason Laverty, William Stein, and Danielle Thorburn, SolaBlock LLC “Solar Wall Technology Demonstration” 
SolaBlock is a new approach to producing solar energy in cities – manufacturing building materials with permanently bonded solar cells. Funds from MassCEC will be used to design and construct a small test building in western Massachusetts. Data from the site will be used for proof of concept and future design modifications.
Linda Hutchinson, Stephen Fehr, PE; Syntha Corporation “Software Platform for Reducing Power Plant System Fuel Consumption and Emissions and Enabling Dynamic Electricity Pricing for Smart Grid”
Syntha Corporation's patented software method enables electric utilities to reduce both fuel consumption and emissions by improving the efficiency of overall electricity generation system-wide. Nationally, this could result in savings of over $10 billion in fuel consumed annually, reduce carbon emissions by up to 2 percent and support dynamic pricing for the Smartgrid. The MassCEC Catalyst grant will enable Syntha to expand its prototype and demonstrate it to participating electric generating companies.
Sanjeev Mukerjee, Ph.D., Urszula Tylus, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Northeastern University “Development of Advanced Electrocatalysts for Oxygen Depolorized Cathode”
The MassCEC grant to the Laboratory for Electrochemical Advanced Power (LEAP) at Northeastern University will be used to commercialize recently-developed polymer metal composite catalysts for applications as oxygen depolarized cathodes (ODC), which can provide enormous energy savings in the generation of electricity.
Per Onnerud, cloteam “Lower cost, Higher safety Energy Storage Module”
This grant will fund the engineering design and development of a lower cost and higher safety energy storage systems using battery technology. Funds from MassCEC Catalyst Grant will be used for performance and cost modeling, prototype assembly and testing. With improved performance, in combination with greater safety and cost reductions in battery storage, cloteam’s innovations will enable electric drive and energy storage globally.

The goal of the MassCEC Catalyst Program is to help technologies progress along the development curve to a point where additional commercialization funding can be obtained.