Joint Columbia University/NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Center Funds Projects to Turn Cleantech Ideas into Businesses and Grow New York's Economy
May 12, 2014
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the first round of awards from PowerBridgeNY, a recently created Proof-of-Concept Center established to move clean-energy ideas from the laboratory to become successful businesses in New York State. These awards continue to support the development of New York’s cleantech economy to create jobs and businesses focused on emerging clean-energy technologies.
"New York is taking a leading role in supporting the development of cleantech products that are environmentally friendly, reduce energy use and increase reliability of the State’s energy systems,” said Governor Cuomo. “When the best and brightest cleantech researchers in New York State have the opportunity to collaborate with smart, experienced experts in the private sector, the result can be a powerful force for economic development resulting in a cleaner, greener, more sustainable state for future generations.”
PowerBridgeNY was created by Columbia University and New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, leading a consortium of public research institutions throughout the State, and is partially funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The award winners are working on products with the potential to reduce wastewater treatment costs, increase energy efficiency of solar panels, reduce electricity outages, decrease the cost of fuel cells, absorb carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – from the environment, and generate clean energy from railroad track vibrations, among others.
“The funding announced today will help these scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs move their innovative technology closer to market-readiness as they tackle technical clean-energy issues," said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. "Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s support, the proof-of-concept centers are advancing cleantech innovation in New York State, growing new companies and commercializing the next generation of products that will help reduce the State's energy use."
PowerBridgeNY’s award winners receive up to $150,000, mentoring and other business support to develop an innovative cleantech product first conceived through research taking place in New York State.
As Governor Cuomo announced, NYSERDA provided seed money in January 2013 to Columbia, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and High Tech Rochester to create Proof-of-Concept Centers. The funding -- $5 million for each of the three organizations – is for five years, after which the centers are expected to operate on their own. The center in Rochester, called Nexus-NY, is expected to release the names of its first funding award winners.
Businesses were judged on the products' technical potential, the potential appeal to investors and how the scientists could benefit by taking part in this program.
“These award-winning projects, which will improve our environment and strengthen the economy, are precisely what we envisioned 16 months ago when Governor Cuomo pledged the state’s support for partnerships with Columbia, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and High Tech Rochester,” said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger. “We are pleased to be part of this effort and for Columbia’s pioneering researchers in sustainable technology and clean energy solutions to have yet another opportunity to contribute to our community, New York and society at large.”
“PowerBridgeNY plays a pivotal role in the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s commitment to driving innovation,” said Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, Dean of the Polytechnic School of Engineering. “As one of the few proof-of-concept centers throughout the country, PowerBridgeNY will accelerate the translation of research produced at academic labs throughout the State through the difficult early stages of commercialization, meanwhile educating academic researchers in how to deliver their solutions to the pressing problem of climate change. We are proud to join Governor Cuomo, NYSERDA and New York’s premier research institutions in this initiative, and we congratulate the 13 teams selected.”
The research teams that won the first round of PowerBridgeNY funding include:
- Early detection of problems in wastewater treatment microbial processes to reduce energy costs
- Turning carbon dioxide waste and electricity into fuels or chemicals to reduce reliance on fossil fuels
- New, low-cost device to measure energy use during energy audits
- Forecasting machine to improve grid reliability and boost efficiency
NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering:
- Reducing electricity outages
- Wireless recharging of electric vehicles
- Building a more efficient power transformer
City University of New York:
- Reducing dust on solar panels to increase energy efficiency
- Improving energy efficiency of HVAC technology
- Longer battery life; faster recharge time for new lithium oxide batteries
- New material to absorb carbon dioxide emissions
Brookhaven National Laboratory
- Reducing cost of fuel cells and electrolyzers
University of Stony Brook
- Generating clean energy from railroad track vibrations
In addition to funding the proof-of-concept centers, NYSERDA also has invested in a variety of other clean energy entrepreneurship initiatives, including six cleantech business incubators around the state; an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program that links experienced business mentors with cleantech start-ups; and Green Capital Empire, a NYSERDA-sponsored initiative designed to bring early-stage funding to New York-based clean energy businesses.
With this latest initiative, New York’s role as a leader and first mover in shaping the future of energy remains firmly in place. By developing innovative market solutions, the State is delivering on Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s commitment to transform the energy industry into a more resilient, clean, cost-effective and dynamic system. Working with State, citizen and industry-stakeholders, the way of doing business in New York is moving to a more market-based, decentralized approach. This means preserving the environment, decreasing energy costs, and creating opportunities for economic growth for current and future generations of New Yorkers. In advancing these new energy systems and solutions, New Yorkers will have improved energy affordability and efficiency without sacrificing the ability to live in a cleaner, resilient and more sustainable environment.