The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) today announced $200,000 in grants to Massachusetts entrepreneurs as part of their commitment to NECEC Institute’s Cleantech Innovations New England program.
“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 global energy and water challenges and this program will help advance the next generation of solutions,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton.
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 clean energy technology developed at startup companies or spun out of research institutions.
“This funding is truly catalytic in helping to build entrepreneurial ventures in Massachusetts. A major initial hurdle for researchers is commercialization. These small grants take technologies from the idea to prototype to demonstrate that technologies work, helping entrepreneurs attract additional funding,” said Abigail Barrow, director of the MTTC.
Recipients must use funding for projects that move their technologies towards commercialization.
“Catalyst provides valuable support to cleantech entrepreneurs and innovators in the earliest stages of development, providing them with timely and critical resources that help them validate their technologies,” said Peter Rothstein, President of the New England Clean Energy Council and the NECEC Institute. "NECEC and the NECEC Institute congratulate and welcome this new round of awardees into the regional cleantech innovation community."
The following researchers will each receive $40,000 grants:
- Steve Casey, Vecarius, Inc. (MIT) – Vecarius is developing a low-cost heat recovery system that generates electricity from engine exhaust heat and reduces fuel consumption and emission of vehicles by 5 to 10 percent. The system will help relieve vehicle fleet operations from high fuel costs and help vehicle manufacturers meet fuel economy and emissions regulations.
- Olga Sachs, Ph.D., Alison Greenlee, and Christoph Sachs, Ph.D. , SachSiSolar Inc. (MIT) – SachSiSolar’s objective is to develop technology to reduce the costs of solar panels. The company provides manufacturers with an inexpensive retrofit for their production lines to increase the efficiency of solar panels. The technology will drive down the cost of high-efficiency photovoltaics and enable high-technology manufacturing in Massachusetts.
- Miguel Galvez, B.S. and Joanna Wong, Ph.D., NBD Nanotechnologies, Inc. (Boston University) – NBD Nanotechnologies’s objective is to improve the efficiency of HVAC, heat exchangers, steam power condensers, desalination plants and dehumidifiers by encouraging rapid water condensation using an advanced materials coating. NBD Nanotechnologies will use the funding for equipment purchases. (This award was previously announced at the Symposium on Water Innovation in Massachusetts event on June 19 in Boston.)
- Ravindra Datta, Ph.D., (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) – Datta will conduct initial experiments into a new biomass-to-energy process using molten salts that may be more efficient and cost-effective at producing renewable liquid fuels and chemicals than current solutions. Datta will use the funds to complete a laboratory study.
- Latika Menon, Ph.D., Eugen Panaitescu, Ph.D., (Northeastern University) – Menon is a researcher investigating an advanced filtration material that could increase the efficiency of processes to separate water from oil and other complex solutions with immediate applications in the treatment of oil-contaiminated water produced from oil drilling and hydraulic fracturing. (This award was previously announced at the Symposium on Water Innovation In Massachusetts event on June 19 in Boston.)
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.