Two programs announced today will help green technologies get to market, IN2 and Lab-Corps.
In a first in the banking industry, the Wells Fargo Foundation is funding a cleantech incubator in partnership with National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), called Innovation Incubator (IN2). Its $10 million grant makes the program possible and will support entrepreneurs that have early stage technologies related to greening commercial buildings.
Selected companies will receive up to $250,000, R&D support at NREL’s state-of-the-art lab and mentoring from Wells Fargo. An independent advisory board will choose the companies from universities and regional accelerators.
After reaching technology milestones at NREL’s lab, companies will be able to test them in real world conditions at Wells Fargo buildings.
In the first year the focus is on cost-cutting technologies that improve peoples’ health and cut emissions, such as net-zero energy solutions in lighting, building envelope, water, materials and waste efficiency, operations and maintenance, and indoor environmental quality. Over time, the program will expand its portfolio of companies and the scope of clean technology sectors.
The grant is part of the foundation’s "2020 Environmental Commitment" to support environmentally-focused nonprofits and universities with $100 million by 2020. Grants support innovative projects and programs that promote clean technologies and break down barriers to a green economy.
On the corporate side, Wells Fargo committed to finance $30 billion by 2020 for projects that span renewable energy projects to efficient buildings. It also has the strongest policy against financing mountaintop removal coal mining.
Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lab-Corps
This $2.3 million pilot program will help researchers in DOE’s National Labs get their products to market.
"The Energy Department’s National Laboratories are science and engineering powerhouses," says David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, but they need help getting them out of the lab and into the marketplace.
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab is the first to harness a virus to generate electricity:
Research teams will be able to get market feedback on their technologies and pursue development of startup companies, industry partnerships, licensing agreements, and other business opportunities.
Over the next year, six national labs will assemble, train, and support entrepreneurial teams to identify private sector opportunities for commercializing promising technologies in sustainable transportation, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Each Lab-Corps team will receive comprehensive training and access to commercialization resources, such as technology validation and testing, techno-economic analysis, and other incubation services.
NREL is managing the program, which starts at Argonne, Idaho, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore and Pacific Northwest National Labs.
Earlier this year, DOE’s Energy Frontier Research Centers, which support basic research that lays the groundwork for energy breakthroughs received $100 million. ARPA-E also supports transformative research projects too early for commercialization.
Read our article, Department of Energy’s Labs Wins 38 Awards for Outstanding Technology Development.