by Jodi Ackerman Frank
Directed Energy is one of six cleantech business incubators across the State supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
The cleantech incubator, based at the University at Buffalo (UB), provides grants to companies that are likely to accomplish notable goals with a small amount of funding. Here is a sampling of companies that Directed Energy supports, with links to more information. The incubator also is part of the State’s focus to revitalize the economy in the Buffalo-Niagara region.
First Big Customer to Jumpstart Sales
Sometimes companies need a final boost to bring their product to manufacturing capacity. Directed Energy helps out such companies by becoming the first “big customer.” In the case of Isolation Sciences, which has developed the Continuous Access Port (CAP) for laboratory fume hoods, Directed Energy “bought” 30 CAPs. The deal was the company would have to find a way to manufacture the units and find actual customers to sell to. The CAP, a device that attaches to the bottom of the door of a hood, conserves energy consumption by as much as 80 percent. Read more.
Investing in Buffalo
One statewide initiative that Directed Energy feeds directly into is the Buffalo Billion. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo made an unprecedented $1 billion commitment to spur a new-growth trajectory for jobs and investment throughout the Buffalo-Niagara region. Read more.
A Little for a Lot
OPEN (OPEN) is developing a new nanoengineered solar-cell material that could be a game changer in the photovoltaic market. In 2012, Directed Energy offered OPEN $2,000 to cost share the hiring of a consultant to help the company write a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposal. The SBIR program, administered through 11 federal agencies, offers funding — up to $2 million — for early-stage breakthrough technology. Read more.
Tapping into “Hidden Gems”
Graphenix Development (formerly Graphene Devices) is tapping into the region’s advanced manufacturing facilities and research centers to produce new products. The startup is using a proprietary method for increasing ink conductivity to enhance a wide range of technologies, including advanced ultracapacitors. Graphenix, which has a manufacturing facility at Eastman Business Park in Rochester, is working with Kodak to manufacture ultracaps using a similar process for rolling film. Read more.
Energy Efficiency in Industrial Buildings
S3J Electronics is an LED company in Lancaster that makes customized LED and LED fixtures for warehouses and manufacturing facilities with a focus on low-cost fixtures and significant energy savings. S3J projects is already proving smart savings for its clients. In one ongoing project, S3J is working with Staroba Plastics in Holland, N.Y., to upgrade the lighting in Staroba’s factory. The switch from incandescent high-bay lighting to LEDs is expected to save the company $84,000 annually, with energy use reduced by 75 percent. Read more.