Baker-Polito Administration Announces Funding for Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy Innovation

by Charlie Hipwood

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $1.6 million in funding for 12 energy efficiency and clean energy startup companies and researchers, including five awards focused on advancing innovation in the Commonwealth’s nation-leading energy efficiency sector. The funding, which comes from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Catalyst, InnovateMass, and AmplifyMass programs, will support clean energy innovation in eight cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth. The awards were announced as part of Massachusetts’ celebration of Energy Efficiency Day. 

“The Commonwealth continues to be a home for nation-leading efficiency and clean energy innovation,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These companies will help decarbonize our economy to meet the challenges posed by climate change, while also creating important jobs and local economic impacts today.”

“These programs provide an opportunity to advance the development of small businesses and our clean and efficient energy economy,” said Lietenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We are pleased to ensure these early-stage ventures have the resources necessary to successfully develop their groundbreaking technology and secure follow-on funding.”

The grants are awarded through MassCEC’s Catalyst, InnovateMass, and AmplifyMass programs. Since launching in 2010, the Catalyst program, jointly administered by MassCEC and MassVentures, has awarded $6.15 million to 118 new companies and research teams. Past awardees have raised over $244 million in follow-on funding. Including this latest round, InnovateMass has awarded over $6 million in funding for demonstration projects across the Commonwealth since its launch in 2013, leveraging $7 million in other private and public investment. Past awardees have raised over $160 million in follow-on fundraising. Since 2015, AmplifyMass has provided cost-share support to 82 startups and researchers, awarding $11.2 million and leveraging $107 million in other private and public sources. 

“To achieve the Commonwealth’s ambitious climate goals, we must empower small businesses and academic teams to pursue innovative technologies that drive energy efficiency and make the clean energy economy both affordable and reliable,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Massachusetts is a national leader for cleantech and these programs help ensure the Commonwealth stays on the cutting edge of clean energy.” 

“MassCEC supports clean energy startups in bridging critical funding gaps in their development, allowing them to deliver their carbon saving technologies to market on the accelerated timeframe necessary to meet the Commonwealth’s climate goals,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “We are pleased to support these next-generation projects, which are pursuing groundbreaking climate solutions that will help the Commonwealth increase its resilience and meet the challenges posed by climate change.” 

“The selected deep technology projects continue to demonstrate that Massachusetts leads the nation in translating basic research to the market,” said MassVentures Managing Director Vinit Nijhawan. “These awards are critical for these organizations to develop and demonstrate technical viability of their inventions and to accelerating them to funded, sustainable businesses.”

Five companies awarded innovations grants will provide energy efficient solutions to the Commonwealth’s building sector.

  • Altus Thermal (Melrose) - $65,000 – The company is rethinking energy use in the home. The grant is funded through the Catalyst program.
  • Onboard Data (Cambridge) - $250,000 - The company will demonstrate its automated software that identifies and enables efficient solutions to energy, heating, cooling, ventilation, and other building operations. The grant is funded through the InnovateMass program.
  • ADL Ventures, LLC (Boston) - $125,000 - The grant will support the company’s $1.125 million project from the US Department of Energy to set up an Advanced Building Construction Market Deployment Collaborative. This collaborative aims to accelerate the deployment, demonstration, and standardization of innovative, energy saving construction technologies. The grant is funded through the AmplifyMass program. 
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester) - $150,000 – The grant will support Year 1 of a three-year center on industrial drying efficiency. The center, led by Dr. Jamal Yagoobi, received $3.5 million from the US Department of Energy and is focused on making Worcester a center of innovation for energy efficiency in pulp/paper, food, and related industries. The grant is funded through the AmplifyMass program. 
  • Fraunhofer USA (Brookline) - $127,000 - The grant will support the company’s $500,000 project from the US Department of Energy to pilot customized prefabricated insulated wall block for deep energy retrofits. The grant is funded through the AmplifyMass program.

Other companies and researchers receiving funding from the Catalyst program are:

  • Alloy Enterprises (Somerville) - $65,000 – The company will create an aluminum printing process that will enable light-weighting of airplanes and automotive vehicles. 
  • Castalune LLC (Boston) - $65,000 – The company will complete a predictive software prototype for distributed renewable energy resource optimization.
  • Harvard University (Cambridge) – $65,000 - Dr. Michael Aziz will develop a water-based flow battery that could be used as a cost-effective energy storage solution for electric utilities.
  • FLxDER (Brookline) - $65,000 – The company will create a prototype of its cloud-based software to optimize electric fleet vehicle charging so as to reduce electric grid impacts and costs, and coordinate operation with other distributed energy resources.
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell (Lowell) - $65,000 – Dr. David Ryan will develop a chemical process for hydrogen generation to be used in transportation applications.

Other companies receiving funding from the InnovateMass program are:

  • Titan AES (Salem) - $250,000 – The company will demonstrate its battery monitoring system on second life lithium-ion batteries for residential energy storage applications.
  • Montague Bikes (Cambridge) - $250,000 – The company will pilot its Park & Pedal program which provides electric bikes for commuters. 

Governor Charlie Baker declared October 7, 2020 as Energy Efficiency Day to highlight the importance energy efficiency programs to create economic opportunities and jobs, save residents money on their utility bills, and combat climate change. Since the Baker-Polito Administration took office in 2015, energy efficiency programs through Mass Save® have generated over $14 billion in benefits for Massachusetts ratepayers. There are more than 81,000 energy efficiency sector jobs in the Commonwealth, and Massachusetts has been named the #1 state in the nation for energy efficiency for nine consecutive years by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

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