Cleantech Open Northeast Celebrates 2022 Winners
More than 300 people from across the northeast cleantech innovation ecosystem came together at the high-energy Cleantech Open Northeast Regional Finals event to celebrate cleantech innovation. Four startup companies with disruptive innovations in the fight against climate change took home the top prizes in this year’s 18th annual Cleantech Open Northeast Accelerator Awards.
The winners were HiT Nano from Bordentown, New Jersey, which delivers industry-leading, cost-effective and high-performance materials to address critical energy storage and conversion challenges (e.g., Li-ion battery electrodes, catalysts, and thermal energy storage materials); Kasava Engineering from Hamburg, Germany, which has developed the most efficient and powerful transmission solution for key and underserved areas of the transportation industry that will allow electric and hybrid trucks to go 20% further per charge while reducing CO2 emissions; NTP Technologies from Mystic, Connecticut, which has optimized the scalability of nitrate and nitrite generation in liquid form as fertilizer for use in agriculture (zero salts and 100% organic) using non-thermal plasma for residential, commercial, and industrial use; and Verde Technologies from Burlington, Vermont, which produces light-weight solar panels that reduce installations by ⅓ and are applicable for any roof type, making it affordable for all.
Each of these four companies will receive $10,000 in cash plus additional in-kind services. NTP Technologies is also the first Agriculture/Food/ Land Use prize winner, a prize worth $10,000 sponsored by the Sire Foundation, bringing that team’s total winnings to $20,000. All four of these startups will go on to represent the Northeast at the 2022 Cleantech Open Global Forum in San Jose, CA October 25-27. There, they will compete with emerging environmental and energy technology firms throughout the nation for the national grand prize. Verde Technologies also took home the People’s Choice Award, determined by an audience vote at the ceremony.
This year, 32 companies graduated from the program from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont, as well as international locations including Canada, Germany, India, and South Africa.
“With increasing pressure to address the climate crisis, Cleantech Open Northeast startups are poised to make a positive impact in the fight against climate change,” stated Beth Zonis, Senior Director, Cleantech Open Northeast, NECEC. “Our startups have developed key business skills and connections that should be foundational to their growth and success.”
The focus of 2022 was on impact: business success metrics; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); and environmental benefits. To this end, the accelerator teaches startups fundamental skills in the areas of financial modeling, talking with investors, building diverse teams and incorporating DEI into the organization's culture; and calculating greenhouse gas emissions reduction potential.
In 2022 the Cleantech Open Northeast team conducted research on the success and impact of alumni startups since the beginning of Cleantech Open in Cambridge in 2005. It is clear that the program is effective. Cleantech Open Northeast alumni exceed industry performance with diverse leadership and meaningful impact.
“The support and enthusiasm of the community are incredible. The startups are off to a great start,” Zonis continued.
The four winners were selected by a judging panel of top cleantech and climatetech investors at the virtual Cleantech Open Northeast Regional Finals. On September 28 at the semi-finals 43 judges from across the US and around the world came together virtually to see 32 separate teams make their pitch. They had previously reviewed the startups’ curriculum deliverables. The semi-finals judges selected the top six teams to have the opportunity to pitch in front of a live audience and a panel of finals judges.
The finals judges were Aly Bryan of Closed Loop Ventures, Hilary Flynn of MassCEC, David Miller of Clean Energy Ventures, Bala Nagarajan of NextEra Energy Investments, Carlos Nouel of National Grid, and Ryan Taylor of Azolla Ventures.
Beyond the four winners, two runners up (florrent and Sensible Photonics) and two other teams that pitched at the semi-finals (Clean Valley CIC and G-Force Waste Sorters) have been invited to represent the Northeast in the competition at the Cleantech Open Global Forum, bringing the total to eight that will pitch for the national grand prize. Finally, Nectar and Solais Ventures were given Honorable Mention. All Cleantech Open Northeast graduating teams are invited to attend the Global Forum to meet investors, showcase, and expand their professional networks.
Several mentors were also recognized. Lead Mentors of the Year are Jess Charlap and Tom Pavilon. Specialist Mentors of the Year are Sudhir Jain, Amy Perlmutter, and Arthur Woolverton. Rookie Mentors of the Year are Sara Harari and Margarett Jolly. Suzanne Oakley was recognized with a Lifetime Service Award for her many years of dedication to Cleantech Open Northeast and the startups. The mentors are frequently cited as the most valuable element of the program.
More about the 2022 Cleantech Open Northeast cohort
HiT Nano (Winner)
Chemicals & Advanced Materials
HiT Nano Inc, is a small business grown from research undertaken at Princeton University, New Jersey. HiT Nano’s objective is to deliver industry-leading, cost-effective and high-performance materials to address critical energy storage and conversion challenges, e.g., Li-ion battery electrodes, catalysts, and thermal energy storage materials. Our central focus is to develop novel and scalable synthesis technologies specifically needed for the manufacture of functional materials and chemicals.
Kasava Engineering (Winner)
Kasava Engineering has developed the most efficient and powerful transmission solution for key and underserved areas of the transportation industry. This innovation reduces the cost of transportation for shipping via sea, rail or trucks, while reducing CO2 emissions. It will also enable electric and hybrid trucks to go 20% further per charge. It is simple to produce, reliable, durable and reduces maintenance cost compared to existing solutions.
NTP Technologies (Winner)
Farming is the leading cause of air and water pollution due to the large amounts of greenhouse gas generated during synthetic fertilizer production and the contamination of our waterways caused by overfertilization and runoff. NTP has optimized the scalability of nitrate and nitrite generation in liquid form as fertilizer for use in agriculture (zero salts and 100% organic) using non thermal plasma for residential, commercial, and industrial use. Let’s eliminate synthetic fertilizer production
Verde Technologies (Winner)
Currently, there are roughly 4 million mobile homes in the US (and roughly 19,000 in Vermont). We have heard time and time again that this segment is looking for options to install rooftop solar but often can't due to roof structure. With the combination of reducing solar installations by 1/3, making it applicable for any roof type, and having it be lightweight, we will change the game for solar, making it a product that is affordable for all and allowing for a more sustainable future.
Energy Distribution and Storage
HEMPAX innovates to create next generation Ultracapacitors (UCs). UCs are a technology that, over the coming decades, will be critical in addressing bottlenecks in our grid infrastructure which are currently slowing the adoption of renewables and EV charging. Our UCs pair with batteries, enabling utilities to safely and reliably deliver power from renewable sources to an electrifying world, increasing battery lifespan 2x, and reducing battery storage cost, footprint, and safety concerns.
Information & Communications Technologies
Sensible Photonics envisions a world free of catastrophic power equipment failures. History shows these failures can lead to major consequences, including wildfires costing billions of dollars. Despite the risks, complex design of today’s fiber optic sensing solutions makes comprehensive monitoring cost prohibitive. At a price target of $100 per sensor, our patented fiber optic sensing solutions fill the need for low-cost, real-time, embedded monitoring for early failure detection and prevention.
Clean Valley CIC
Nova Scotia, Canada
By 2050, there will be 10 billion people on this planet needing a sustainable source of protein. The onshore aquaculture industry is poised to meet this demand. However, they have an optimization problem when it comes to water quality treatment. Treatment systems are incredibly expensive, utilize non-disposable plastic beads, and are too specific in their treatment. It does not need to be this way. At Clean Valley we've developed a biofilter so fishfarmers can treat the waste but keep the flavor.
G Force Waste Sorters
A market disruptor to the waste industry, G Force Waste Sorters is an innovative, immediate solution for current critical waste crises. Multinational consumer goods companies are tasked with, and challenged by, recovering post-consumer waste for its supply chain, in order to manufacture new goods. G Force Waste Sorters recovers high value post-consumer recyclables from trash at major sports and entertainment venues, diverting up to 80% of a venue's trash from landfill.
Most multi-unit buildings can only handle 10% of EV charging needs. With 100% of car sales targeted to be electric by 2035, that's a massive problem for landlords and tenants. Clay energy plans to close that gap. We build on-demand EV charging for multi-unit buildings that scales with tenant EV adoption. Using batteries as an intermediary between the building’s electrical system and EVs, allows us to increase charging capacity without electrical upgrades.
Solais is developing a technology called Pyrogest which is essentially an integration of Anaerobic Digestion and Pyrolysis. Together, the technology processes wasted biomasses like pre and post consumer food waste, crop and forest residue and manures that cause enormous GHG emissions while maximizing Renewable energy recovery and creating a broader spectrum of products like Organic Biofertilizers and Biochar. We are researching isolating Hydrogen from gas fractions for Fuel cell storage.
About Cleantech Open Northeast
Cleantech Open Northeast is the Northeast region of Cleantech Open and is managed by NECEC as the on-the-ground affiliate. Cleantech Open is the world’s oldest and largest cleantech accelerator and is dedicated to providing entrepreneurs and technologists with the resources needed to launch a successful cleantech company. Its mission is to find, fund, and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges. Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise, and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Fueled by a network of more than 2,000 volunteers, Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s cleantech sector a thriving economic engine. Between 2005 and 2022, Cleantech Open Northeast has trained 555 early-stage clean technology startups through its annual business accelerator. 71% of Cleantech Open Northeast alumni are still in business or have had a successful exit. Cleantech Open Northeast alumni have raised more than $1.05 billion, created more than 3,100 clean economy jobs, and generated more than $486 million in revenue. For more information, visit cleantechopen.org
NECEC leads the just, equitable, and rapid transition to a clean energy future and a diverse climate economy. NECEC is the only organization in the Northeast that covers all of the clean energy market segments, representing the business perspectives of investors and clean energy companies across every stage of development. NECEC members span the broad spectrum of the clean energy industry, including clean transportation, energy efficiency, wind, solar, energy storage, microgrids, fuel cells, clean buildings, and advanced “smart” technologies. For more information, visit www.necec.org.