CEBIP battery barons inch toward 76West title

In the flow: The StorEn Technologies brain trust, behind the scenes at Stony Brook University's 2017 Innovation Boot Camp.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

A Stony Brook battery business with European roots has made the cut in a state clean-energy contest.

StorEn Technologies, which is peddling a proprietary vanadium-flow battery for stationary energy storage, is one of eight finalists in the 76West Clean Energy Competition, which is spun out of the state’s Southern Tier Soaring initiative – a $3.1 billion investment in business development and community growth across New York’s southernmost economic zones.

The competition offers $20 million in total awards to support “green” energy initiatives, including a $1 million top prize.

Self-billed as “one of the largest competitions in the country [focused] on supporting and growing clean-energy businesses,” 76West is also part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision, a multifaceted, statewide strategy requiring that 50 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2050, along with greenhouse gas reductions and other ambitious environmental goals.

Noting it’s “bringing innovative businesses to the Southern Tier” and “supporting the region’s growing clean-energy economy,” Cuomo lauded the 76West Competition as it moved through its second round.

“This competition is not only spurring job growth and combating climate change, but also attracting topnotch businesses from across the nation to New York,” the governor said this week.

In addition to regional champions from Long Island, New York City, the Southern Tier, the Mid-Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes, the finalists include three out-of-state energy companies applying their technologies in New York.

EthosGen of Pennsylvania captures waste heat from industrial processes and other sources to feed on-site electric generators. Skyven Technologies of Texas provides site-specific solar-powered “heat energy” for commercial uses. And Visolis of California, a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory project, is looking to replace carbon with “bio-based monomers” in high-performance polymers, essentially creating carbon-negative plastics.

Alicia Barton: Tier of joy for clean energy markets.

StorEn, a client of Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program and graduate of the university’s 2017 Innovation Boot Camp, is targeting its evolutionary vanadium-flow batteries – rechargeable batteries that use vanadium ions in different oxidation states to store chemical potential energy – on energy markets “that are already considered economically viable,” according to the governor’s office.

Co-founder and CEO Carlo Brovero started his corporate finance career in the merchant banking division of London’s National Westminster Bank in 1991. Like Brovero, StorEn’s other four co-founders – filling the company’s CTO and senior engineering slots – are Italian nationals, with educational and professional backgrounds covering programming, fuel cell technology, cogeneration tech and other engineering and energy-related disciplines.

In addition to CEBIP, Long Island’s flag-bearer in the 76West Competition finals is a member of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium, and works closely with Università degli Studi di Padova in northern Italy.

The other regional finalists include SolarKal, a NYC-based marketplace offering a range of online efficiency tools for solar energy installers, brokers and small- to medium-sized commercial customers, and the Southern Tier champion: Spencer-based Biological Energy, which boasts a patent-pending wastewater-treatment technology.

Also vying for the $1 million grand prize: Finger Lakes champion MicroEra Power, a Rochester-based startup looking to commercialize novel stationary power-generation solutions for commercial customers, and the SunTegra brand produced by Port Chester-based Integrated Solar Technology, the Mid-Hudson winner known for solar energy-harvesting products that can be worked directly into rooftops, patios and other existing infrastructures.

Finalists were chosen from 15 semifinalists in a business-pitch contest held July 11 at Alfred State College in Allegany County. The finalists pitched again on July 13 to a different panel of judges and six total award winners, including the grand-prize winner, will be announced later this summer.

Alicia Barton, chief executive of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which manages the 76West Competition, said the contest represented “an exciting time for the Southern Tier” and for New York sustainability initiatives as a whole.

“The 76West competition is fostering cleantech economic development while supporting Gov. Cuomo’s ambitious clean-energy goals,” Barton said in a statement. “We can’t wait to see how the finalists progress and become part of New York’s clean-energy sector.”


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