The Shell GameChanger Accelerator Powered by NREL (GCxN) recently announced its first round of startup companies. The goal of the first cohort of this multi-million dollar, multiyear clean-tech accelerator is to focus on technologies enabling the grid of the future through long-term energy storage and controls. Following an extensive global selection process, GCxN has named four companies to its inaugural cohort.
GCxN partners early-stage companies with experts from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Shell’s GameChanger program to provide promising startups with access to financial resources, state-of-the-art facilities and world-class technical experts.
The assistance is designed to help companies de-risk technology development while accelerating their path to market.
Each participating startup will receive as much as $250,000 in non-dilutive funding to aid in development and demonstration of its technology, with the opportunity for future follow-on funding and beta-testing with a strategic program partner, in addition to access to expertise and laboratory capabilities at both NREL and Shell.
Companies selected for this round are:
- Antora Energy (Fremont, Calif.): Antora Energy is building large batteries for the grid at remarkably low costs using modified solar panels to efficiently change heat to electricity. This technology will both improve grid resiliency and provide long-duration energy storage at approximately five percent the cost of conventional batteries. Antora Energy was referred to GCxN by Cyclotron Road.
- e-Zn (Toronto, Ontario): The first company in the world to “metallize” electricity, e-Zn’s zinc-based energy storage system is both affordable and flexible — it can be deployed in any geographic setting and succeed in small or large-scale systems, while also delivering energy for hours, days, weeks or longer. e-Zn was referred to GCxN by MaRS.
- Electrical Grid Monitoring Ltd. (Rosh Haayin, Israel): EGM created its Meta-Alert system to secure real-time communications and perform self-learning analytics on the whole grid. The collected data produces insights for optimal grid management and operation. EGM was referred to GCxN by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
- Feasible, Inc. (Emeryville, Calif.): Feasible, Inc. is developing a technology platform that uses sound waves and data analytics to deliver insights about batteries across the value chain. At scale, Feasible’s technology will enable widespread adoption of clean energy sources by improving the performance and safety of battery packs and decreasing their lifetime cost. Feasible was referred to GCxN by Cyclotron Road.
Unlike most accelerators, companies cannot simply apply to GCxN. Instead, companies must be recommended by a member of the Channel Partners network (cleantech incubators, accelerators and universities), with finalists selected after rigorous review by technology experts at NREL and Shell. The selected startups are focused on developing long-term energy storage and smart grid controls.
“We’re very excited to begin work with this first round of GCxN companies,” said Richard Adams, director of NREL’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center. “It is our goal to fill this program with game-changing ideas, and our first cohort of startup companies demonstrates real potential to enable the grid of the future through their unique technologies.”
“GCxN’s first cohort of companies have impressed us with their innovative ideas, their technical know-how and their eagerness to advance cleaner energy technologies,” said Lene Hviid, global manager for Shell GameChanger.