New Program Will Support Entrepreneurial Training for Scientists and Accelerate Deep Decarbonization

June 28, 2021

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $9 million is available to establish the Carbontech Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program to support scientists who have breakthrough innovations to contribute to building New York as a hub for carbon-to-value technology. The new program will provide technical expertise that bridges research and development with the commercialization of products, grow entrepreneurial training for scientists, expand the State's innovation ecosystem, and accelerate economy-wide deep decarbonization. Today's announcement supports Governor Cuomo's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050 as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

"Revolutionizing the development of products made from carbon capture will create the landscape to achieve deep decarbonization in our fight against climate change," Governor Cuomo said. "Attracting scientists with cutting-edge skills and knowledge to realize new products is essential to growing our green economy, and we are bringing their research out of the lab to pave the way for a more climate resilient future to benefit all New Yorkers."

"Fighting the effects of climate change will require bringing the brightest scientific and entrepreneurial minds to New York," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Our Carbontech Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program will not only spur innovative solutions to help New York meet our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it will further position New York as a global green economy leader."

The Carbontech Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program will provide support services to researchers at universities or other institutions to commercialize the technologies they produce. The program is the second component of the State's $19 million Carbontech Development Initiative, which was announced earlier this year. Administered and funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the two programs will work together to play a significant role in creating a sustainable carbon-to-value innovation ecosystem boosting research, technology transfer and commercialization.

Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO of NYSERDA said, "New York State must innovate to achieve our climate and clean energy goals, and the Carbontech Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program will develop the resources needed to grow the market for carbon-to-value products. By focusing on bringing together novel ideas with entrepreneurs, we are fostering a new pipeline of sustainable, emission reducing products that will help New York shrink its carbon footprint and build healthier communities."

NYSERDA is seeking proposals for an organization to run the Carbontech Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program, which will be selected through a competitive process. The entity will be responsible for finding entrepreneurial innovators to participate in the program and supporting them as they advance their products to market. Experience and skills required to manage the program include distributing research funding, delivering entrepreneurial training, and providing a supportive network of peers and advisors. Additionally, the chosen organization will also be responsible for securing public and private sources of funding to grow the program's long-term operation.

NYSERDA will accept applications through August 2, 2021. A scoring committee will evaluate submitted proposals based on the applicant's experience and expertise in running entrepreneurial fellowship programs, the ability to deliver the services requested, and the proposed budget and resources. Applicants should incorporate a diversity-forward approach and describe how they intend to build diversity, equity, and inclusion imperatives into the fellowship program to help support New York State's equitable and just transition to a clean economy.

Carbontech describes a family of technologies that can convert different forms of carbon into a diverse array of valued products and services in a climate-beneficial way. These technologies include but are not limited to: low-embodied carbon cement, sustainable building materials, recyclable plastics that sequester carbon, and high-value specialized products such as carbon fiber, among others. Converting carbon can contribute to the State's goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. According to the New York State Decarbonization Pathways Analysis Summary of Draft Findings released in 2020 and commissioned by the New York State Climate Action Council, removing carbon from the atmosphere could account for up to 15 percent of the reductions needed under the Climate Act and carries an economic opportunity estimated at $1 trillion in the U.S. and $6 trillion globally.

New York prioritizes investments in research, development, and commercialization to support startups accelerating the clean technology innovations needed to meet the state's goal for economy-wide carbon neutrality. Support through NYSERDA's Innovation program helps early-stage companies with technical assistance and business development resources through entrepreneurial support, and manufacturing scale-up. Through its entrepreneurial support programs, the State has invested more than $28 million since 2009 through NYSERDA, supporting nearly 349 companies and generating more than 1,140 jobs. More than $780 million in private investments and $200 million in project finance capital have been created while helping bring more than 440 new and improved clean energy products to market, including LED lighting systems, home appliances, longer-lasting batteries, and more efficient heating-and-cooling systems. 

Funding for this initiative is provided through the State's 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund. More information about this funding is available on NYSERDA's website.

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

Governor Cuomo's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $21 billion in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2019, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.