The United States Research Impact Alliance (USRIA), a technology development incubator based in Morgantown, West Virginia, will receive $1 million to accelerate NETL-supported clean energy and manufacturing projects to market and stimulate the formation of new businesses to help reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
The funding allocation, announced during U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm’s recent visit to NETL-Morgantown, will support USRIA and its Identification, Maturation, Productization, Alignment, Collaboration and Transition (IMPACT) technology accelerator process, which matures federally funded technologies that have the potential to address climate change and empower underserved communities
USRIA was one of 10 incubators and accelerators across the nation to receive the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) funding. The DOE program awarded a total of $9.5 million to the 10 organizations to harness regional ingenuity and resources, develop pipelines for energy technology to reach the market and stimulate the formation of new businesses that can create jobs in the clean energy and manufacturing sectors.
USRIA’s EPIC proposal was created to launch an accelerator program that targets NETL-developed technologies and DOE Small Business Innovation Research-funded technologies.
“The USRIA team has routinely engaged and collaborated with NETL, research universities and others to acquire firsthand knowledge about the challenges associated with commercializing technologies,” said NETL’s Michael Knaggs, associate director, Research Partnerships & Technology Transfer.
“NETL was pleased to write a letter of support to DOE to award funding to USRIA. This partnership is critical to accelerate the development of clean energy technologies that will bring employment opportunities to West Virginia and the Appalachian region,” Knaggs said.
Through the IMPACT process, USRIA enables federally funded research to be tested through validation projects that are closely tailored to address the needs of energy and manufacturing industries. Participants also receive scientifically validated techno-economic and life cycle analyses, as well as coaching and mentorship from executives-in-residence and venture capital advisors and targeted matchmaking with industry partners.
Using data and training they have received through the program, startups and researchers will be able to communicate their value proposition more effectively when they pitch to potential first customers and pilot project partners at USRIA demonstration days and through targeted introductions to potential early adopters and investors.
The recent funding awards were the second in a two-part program created by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions — in collaboration with DOE’s Building Technologies Office, the Arctic Energy Office and the Office of Electricity — to support energy innovation ecosystems and stimulate energy hardware development in regions across the U.S. Previously, DOE awarded $1 million to 20 incubators and accelerators.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory develops and commercializes advanced technologies that provide clean energy while safeguarding the environment. NETL’s work supports DOE’s mission to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy and environmental challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.