Cleantech Open Northeast Accelerator Awards Prizes to Top Startups Across Multiple Cleantech Sectors in 18th Annual Event
Highest Participation in 18-Year History Amid Surge in Cleantech Innovation
and Complex Capital Environment for Early Stage Companies
$60,000 in Prizes Awarded to Cleantech Startups from
Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia and France
Brooklyn, NY – September 28, 2023 – This week, the global cleantech innovation ecosystem convened for the regional finals of the 18th annual Cleantech Open Northeast Accelerator Awards in Brooklyn, New York to compete for more than $60,000 in prizes and an opportunity to advance to a national finals round of competition. With nearly 50 companies competing for top prizes, this year’s competition had the highest participation of any contest in its history – a reflection of the surging momentum in innovation, entrepreneurialism, and demand for capital in the cleantech sector.
“The graduates of the 2023 Cleantech Open Northeast cohort are the key to our future. With their hard work and focus they are combating climate change, growing the green economy, and driving environmental equity,” said Joe Curtatone, President, NECEC. “They are now NECEC's ambassadors -- leading the just and equitable transition to a clean energy future and a diverse climate economy. We look forward to continuing to be part of their journey.”
“The impressive entrepreneurs in the 2023 Cleantech Open Northeast cohort are not sitting back in the fight against climate change,” said Beth Zonis, Senior Director, Cleantech Open Northeast. “This year’s competition comes at a particularly transcendent time as the urgency for cleantech solutions is evident in our daily lives. The Federal Government is rewarding various types of solutions, and many new investors are joining the cleantech space. The unique demand for cleantech innovation is really exciting.”
“Cleantech Open is proud to partner with NECEC to accelerate cleantech innovation in the Northeast,” said Ken Hayes, Executive Director, Cleantech Open. “Each year the startups impress us with their ingenuity and hard work as we help them transform their ideas into meaningful impact.”
"Accelerators like Cleantech Open Northeast enable clean energy and climate tech innovators across the northeast to consistently punch above their weight. Cleantech Open Northeast offers programming, expertise, and an extensive network that equip climate solution innovators with the tools, skills, connections, and overall support they need to bring their critical climate tech to market, " stated Galen Nelson, Chief Program Officer of MassCEC. He continued, "Because of programs like Cleantech Open Northeast, strategic investments in innovation are accelerating Massachusetts toward our goal of net zero emissions by 2050."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Chief Program Officer Anthony Fiore said, “We are proud to support Cleantech Open Northeast because its program and entrepreneurs are advancing the essential technologies needed to lower climate emissions and bring clean energy to the forefront. Reducing carbon across all sectors is possible with partnerships like this that are advancing the solutions needed for communities across New York State and the Northeast.”
The focus of 2023 was on environmental equity: fair access to climate solutions; workforce diversity; regulatory and policy advocacy; and fostering a strong climate-focused business community. This year, a record 46 companies from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and international locations including France and Spain graduated from the program.
The finals judges included Spectra Asala of B-Side Ventures, Aly Bryan of Closed Loop Ventures, Henry Heitzer of Energy Foundry, Christine Martini of RenovoBlu, LLC, David Miller of Clean Energy Ventures, and Ryan Taylor of Azolla Ventures.
The winners are Amply Energy from Maine whose software helps contractors quickly create accurate and accessible heat pump proposals for homeowners; Ellexco from Virginia offers a chemical-free, electricity-driven innovative technology to extract lithium directly from aqueous sources; SPACESENSE from France helps companies in agriculture and utilities adapt to climate change by leveraging satellite imagery intelligence 8 times faster and 16 times cheaper; and Zinco Verde from Massachusetts which has developed a process that decreases the amount of energy consumed to synthesize zinc oxide by over 95%. SPACESENSE also won the People’s Choice Award.Each of these four companies was awarded $10,000 in cash plus additional in-kind services and specialty prizes. All four of the Regional Winners se startups will go on to represent the Northeast at the 2023 Cleantech Open Global Forum in San Jose, CA October 23-26. There, they will compete with emerging environmental and energy technology firms from across the nation for the national grand prize.
Epic Renewal was awarded the $10,000 Agriculture/Food/Land Use Prize sponsored by the Sire Foundation, WeNeW Carbology was awarded the Carbon Prize sponsored by the Sire Foundation, and Electromaim was awarded the $10,000 Water Prize sponsored by Xylem.
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 27 at the semi-finals, 50 judges from across the US came together at National Grid in Brooklyn, NY to see the 46 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 semi-finals judges also selected the specialty prize winners.
Beyond the four winners, two other teams that pitched at the semi-finals Power 3D of Pennsylvania and Shred Electric Maine, and three runners-up Active Surfaces of Massachusetts, Cleonmaye Corp., and Haylon Technologies of New Jersey have been invited to represent the Northeast in the competition at the Cleantech Open Global Forum, bringing the total to nine that will pitch for the national grand prize. Since two of the teams invited to compete for the National Grand Prize at the Global Forum are not able to attend, two other teams have been invited: GreenIRR of Pennsylvania and Prezerv of Massachusetts. 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 Tani Chen, Margarett Jolly, and David Levine. Rookie Mentor of the Year is Taiil Kim. Cheikh Dramé was recognized with a Lifetime Service Award for his incredible dedication to Cleantech Open Northeast, the startups, and the overall community.
More about the 2023 Cleantech Open Northeast cohort
Amply's software helps contractors quickly create accurate and accessible heat pump proposals for homeowners, which increases conversion rates and accelerates the transition to clean, efficient, high-performance heating and cooling.
Technologies to extract lithium from unconventional aqueous sources are needed to meet the future lithium demand. Ellexco has envisioned a novel idea to extract lithium from brines. Ellexco offers a chemical-free, electricity-driven innovative technology to directly extract lithium from brines and produce lithium hydroxide, which would lower environmental impacts and carbon footprint.
Maisons-Lafitte, Paris, France
Information & Communication Technologies
Climate change is our generation's biggest challenge & intelligence from satellite imagery is a crucial capability that will help companies adapt and thrive in these uncertain times. The skill, time & cost required to do so, prohibits 90%+ of the companies from leveraging this capability just like it was for ML/DL 15 years ago. With SpaceSense we help such companies in agriculture & utilities adapt to climate change by enabling them to leverage satellite imagery intelligence 8x faster, and 16x cheaper.
Chemicals & Advanced Materials
Zinco Verde is an advanced materials science company. They have developed a process that decreases the amount of energy consumed to synthesize zinc oxide by over 95%. This can lead to a reduction of 1.2 Million Metric Tons GHG/yr. Their patent pending method is mild enough to be electrified since it never gets warmer than a cup of coffee, whereas the status quo runs at 1000˚C. Their ZnO can be doped with other metals enhancing it to make bespoke formulations for each customer including tires, skincare, and textiles
Finalists Also Presented
Energy Distribution and Storage
Power 3D has developed an innovative manufacturing process that can address key battery challenges such as energy density, charge rate, and power capability. By using scalable three-dimensional printing technology, the Company can build ultra-thick electrodes (UTEs) that improve capacity utilization and increase energy density.
Energy Distribution and Storage
We electrify marine operations by replacing gasoline generators and pumps with cleaner, quieter alternatives. Our patent-pending ShredConnect™ technology integrates swappable commercial batteries with renewables to power motors, haulers, and pumps. Our beachhead market is our network of oyster and kelp farmers. We are testing other applications for our ShredConnect™ system, including boat motors and off-road vehicles.
Specialty Award Winners
Agriculture/Food/Land Use Prize Winner
Providence, Rhode Island
The Epic Renewal team are composters building a zero waste world by diverting food waste from landfills and using it to build healthy soils and equitable, resilient food systems. In addition to composting and consulting services, they are leveraging their design and tech backgrounds to develop a critical mobile-native app for composters of all scales to simplify their work while easily measuring and reporting impact.
Water Prize Winner
New York, New York
Electromaim designs, distributes, and installs plug-and-play hydroelectric systems into a building’s existing water and waste infrastructure.They utilize micro hydroelectric generator technology to address the globally used energy-wasting pressure-reducing valves in water distribution systems. Apart from providing building owners with significant profits, this furthers the global effort towards a climate solution and mitigates energy shortages acutely targeting low-income urban neighborhoods.
Carbon Prize Winner
WeNeW Carbology LLC
Agricultural waste is the largest renewable carbon energy source, yet largely remains untapped. Converting biomass waste into renewable transportation biofuels has the greatest net impact on the carbon economy. WeNeW Carbology aims to disrupt the biofuel profitability and sustainability model through the distributed deployment of modular farm-scale biorefineries. Their approach will overcome the technical, economic, and operational challenges currently preventing widespread implementation.
Energy Distribution and Storage
Active Surfaces is commercializing an ultra thin-film solar technology based on decades of MIT research. Their technology provides thin-film solar panels for commercial warehousing applications, which can unlock terawatts of dual land use next-generation deployment. Their innovative manufacturing approach drives down our manufacturing costs, transformational for semiconductor and electronics manufacturing. provide thin-film solar panels for commercial warehousing applications.
Jamaica, New York
Cleonmaye Corp. Research and Development is both a consulting and R&D firm located in Queens, NY. The company was founded to advance research in the area of renewable energy. The design of their vertical axis maglev alternator improves the efficiency of renewable energy production by extending the product life cycle and levelized cost of energy. The maglev alternator/generator is not only ideal for many renewable projects but also vertical takeoff and landing vehicles.
GreenIRR Is a carbon accounting platform for trucking carriers, to measure fleet emissions and generate regulation-compliant reports. As corporations face regulation pressure to disclose all scopes of their emissions, they push this reporting burden down their supply chain, demanding emission disclosures from their trucking carriers. Carriers face the threat of losing customers while being asked to report something without the proper expertise, resources, or understanding. GreenIRR has a distinct competitive advantage in the automated data collection of transportation-related emissions, through direct integration into existing vehicle monitoring systems.
Monroe, New Jersey
Today, most systems rely on sub-par batteries because devices have varying demands on power. To optimize battery and device performance, Haylon has developed a technology that makes it possible to dynamically switch between complementary types of battery cells within a single pack. Based on early tests, they can double battery performance. Their goal is to commercialize radically better, more sustainable chemistries to clean the battery supply chain and electrify new industries like flight.
Information & Communication Technologies
Prezerv is building an innovative platform that provides an automated, accurate 3D digital twin of the underground. Prezerv’s platform is designed to solve the problems caused by non-visible, underground utility pipes unexpectedly encountered during civil and energy projects. Their AI solution will accelerate and save costs for a wide range of clean energy projects and provide significant environmental benefits.
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 2023, Cleantech Open Northeast trained more than 600 early-stage clean technology startups through its annual business accelerator. 74% of Cleantech Open Northeast alumni are still in business or have had a successful exit. Cleantech Open Northeast alumni have raised more than $1.47 billion, created more than 4,400 clean economy jobs, and generated more than $696 million in revenue. Visit cleantechopen.org.
About Northeast Clean Energy Council
NECEC (Northeast Clean Energy Council & NECEC Institute) is a unique blend of a trade organization and a non-profit, dedicated to leading the just, equitable and rapid transition to a clean energy future and a diverse climate economy. We promote the widespread adoption of clean energy and climate technologies, driven by companies that offer innovative and scalable solutions, with the aim of decarbonizing all aspects of society. Our approach focuses on five key areas: Innovation, Policy, Climate Economy Ecosystem, Workforce Development and Municipal Leadership.
Newlab is a center of invention mobilizing people, capital, and expertise to address systemic challenges in energy, mobility and materials. Newlab reaches across industry and sector lines to connect innovators and experts to build, test and scale world-changing ideas. Through its community, platforms and infrastructure, Newlab is breaking down the world’s greatest challenges into projects and experiments that drive meaningful progress today. For more information, visit www.newlab.com.
If you are interested in being involved with Cleantech Open Northeast, NECEC, please contact our Communications Director - Mike Meehan at email@example.com