EBP Commercialization Model Presented at NREL Forum

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Eastman Business Park and two clean energy tenants that reside on its campus figured prominently in the 27th annual Industry Growth Forum hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Oct. 28-29 in Denver CO.

EBP director Michael Alt served as both a presenter at a roundtable discussion, and then as a judge for a business case competition involving 30 emerging clean energy startup companies. The 30 companies were chosen via an application and review process to present their business cases to a high profile panel of investors and industry experts. Among those selected were EBP tenants NOHMs Technologies, developers of ionic electrolytes and high capacity cathodes for lithium ion batteries; and Graphenix Development, whose nanostructured carbon ultracapacitor electrode provides 30% higher energy density than current market leaders.

EBP’s unique commercialization accelerator model known as the Innovation, Manufacturing and Materials Science Institute (IMMSI) – which helped attract companies such as NOHMs and Graphenix to the site – was referenced frequently during the two-day event.

In his presentation, EBP’s Mike Alt underscored the need to explore emerging partnerships between corporations and early stage companies, and how these partnerships can be leveraged to unleash technological innovation.

“That’s exactly why our IMMSI model was established – to address these barriers to full commercialization for the benefit of small companies, the skilled workforces in our communities and our nation’s economy,” Alt said.

InnovatioNews, an online trade journal covering the event, took to social media agreeing with Alt’s assertions. Throughout the day, the journal’s Twitter account was active, posting comments such as:

In his keynote address on Wednesday, David Danielson, Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, focused on the same topic, stating that a “new model” for scale-up is needed across the country, where the resources and assets of large corporations are shared with small, emerging growth companies to create “critical mass.”

Due to market obstacles, private sector financing is typically limited or unavailable to nurture new energy innovations from early-stage research to proof of concept and on to full commercial scale, Danielson said. This creates market gaps that prove too difficult for early stage companies to overcome; thus promising technologies frequently fall to the wayside.

NREL’s Industry Growth Forum has been the nation’s premier clean energy investment gathering, offering an array of organized networking opportunities, a full slate of presentations highlighting clean energy technology and business developments, and a comprehensive agenda featuring thought leaders who will address the most important topics in the industry today.

“The Industry Growth Forum continues to play a critical role by creating opportunities that connect the key players in the clean energy business community,” said Kate Cheesbrough of NREL’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, which organizes the annual event. “We are bringing entrepreneurs directly together with financiers, policymakers and technology experts. By doing this, we lay the foundation for the future conversations, partnerships and eventual business decisions that will strengthen the industry as a whole.”

Since 2003, more than $5 billion in growth financing has been awarded to early stage, pre-commercial and expanding clean and alternative energy companies because of the networking opportunities afforded companies during the annual conference.

View the NREL wrap up release.

Posted in: Eastman Business Park, Energy Storage