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First Grantees Selected for Energy Commission’s CalSEED Program



The California Clean Energy Fund has announced the first Concept Award recipients of the California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development (CalSEED) program.

In June, the California Energy Commission approved $1.2 million in grants for innovators and entrepreneurs working to bring early-stage clean energy concepts to market. The eight grants of $150,000 were the first-ever approved from CalSEED, which the California Clean Energy Fund manages for the Energy Commission.

The first eight projects were selected from a field of more than 300 applicants for CalSEED, which is the Energy Commission’s initiative to invest in novel solutions to energy challenges. The selected grants will fund a wide range of research projects, including a new lithium extraction process, a high-efficiency electric power grid control device, and a light-emitting diode (LED) bulb that operates at a resistance level 30 times lower than conventional LED lights.

“CalSEED is providing these first of many entrepreneurs with the opportunity to make a positive impact on California’s carbon footprint,” said California Clean Energy Fund Managing Director Danny Kennedy. “Innovators across grid storage, electric vehicle infrastructure and energy efficiency will move California towards a more sustainable future.”

The CalSEED initiative will provide $24 million in grants over five years to support innovators working on early-stage clean energy concepts.

“This program will help entrepreneurs move their projects from an idea to the marketplace stage and help advance California’s transition to a clean energy future,” said Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller.

The CalSEED funds come from the Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Program, which invests about $120 million annually for innovative clean energy technologies and approaches and that benefit California’s three largest electric investor-owned utilities.

In addition to Concept Award funding, the CalSEED program brings together entrepreneurial training organizations, nonprofits, companies, universities and an ecosystem of clean energy incubators who will provide technical expertise, mentoring, networking and business development support to awardees.

“We are thrilled to welcome our first cohort and support them with funding resources as well as an opportunity plug into a network of experts, join a community of fellow entrepreneurs, and take their next steps to commercialization,” said CalSEED Program Manager Deepa Lounsbury.

Below are the eight projects, which each received a $150,000 grant:

• BK Litec has developed an LED bulb that operates at a thermal resistance level 30 times lower than conventional LED light engines offering a 30 percent efficiency improvement.
• CodeCycle LLC designed an inspection application to streamline the compliance process for building officials, contractors, and engineers. Inputs and inspection processes will be organized atop building plans increasing transparency and time measured with the greatest energy impact.
• General Engineering and Research is creating a novel refrigeration technology using magnets and advanced materials for safer and more efficient low temperature applications such as hydrogen storage.
• Lilac Solutions, Inc is developing a more efficient lithium extraction and manufacturing process that will lower the costs of battery production.
• Moev Inc. created a system that integrates vehicle to grid, stationary storage, distributed energy resources, and grid conditions while monitoring and predicting the changes to the availability of each component.
• Opcondys, Inc. is demonstrating an optical switching device for high-efficiency power grid control and better fault detection and recovery.
• Saratoga Energy Research Partners, LLC is synthesizing carbon nanotubes from carbon dioxide to increase the performance of lithium ion batteries while reducing cost and energy requirements.
• Sunvapor, Inc.’s patent-pending solar collector will reduce the cost of solar steam. Their redesigned parabolic trough collector reduces costs by 75 percent.

Learn more about the awardees: https://vimeo.com/224613446

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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