Seven cleantech startups affiliated with VertueLab, the nonprofit climate impact accelerator that helps fast-track development of clean technology solutions to reverse the climate crisis, were recently awarded $1.5 million in grants from Business Oregon’s Enhanced Phase 0 Program. VertueLab is the nonprofit climate impact accelerator.
Among the winning technologies are a foundation system for wind turbines that uses less concrete, a mobile natural gas refueling system for vehicles, a turbine that generates power from inside municipal water pipes, a process for producing nontoxic sunscreen, and an aviation system that saves jet fuel by allowing pilots to land during dense fog.
“To see so many cleantech startups recognized at this level reinforces our region’s leadership position as a national innovator of new clean technologies that can speed the transition to a low-carbon economy,” said David Kenney, president and executive director of VertueLab (formerly Oregon BEST). “We’re grateful to Business Oregon for its support of the women and men innovating these technologies, because, when it comes to climate change, we need to get these solutions to market faster.”
Most hardware-oriented clean technologies require capital investment to move from lab to market. But private investors are hesitant to fund such technologies until they have reached significant development milestones. This creates a capital gap that slows both development and deployment.
“By supporting the earliest stages of product development, both VertueLab and Business Oregon are filling a critical capital gap and accelerating clean technologies so they are ready for conventional investors sooner,” Kenney said.
Although the impacts of climate change are driving a new wave of interest in clean technology investment, most capital is focused on deployment of more mature technologies, with little funding going to supporting the next wave of innovations.
“In response to a new generation of impact investors, foundations and individuals who want to know their money is having real impact on the planet’s health, we are creating the VertueLab Climate Impact Fund, which will help connect philanthropic capital to innovators creating solutions to some of the most pressing climate-related challenges,” Kenney said.
The companies affiliated with VertueLab receiving the Phase 0 grants from Business Oregon are:
- Inpipe Energy of Beaverton: $100,000 for technology that generates electricity from water flow in municipal pipes
- Rute Foundation Systems of Portland: $100,000 for modular wind tower foundations that reduce the use of concrete
- Onboard Dynamics of Bend: $100,000 for mobile natural gas compressors that improve transportation fueling
- Kerr Avionics of West Linn: $100,000 for technology that saves jet fuel by enabling pilots to detect runway lights obscured by fog
- Diatomix of Beaverton: $99,958 for green chemistry additives for paints, coatings and cleaners that improve indoor air quality
- Gadusol Laboratories of Corvallis: $58,825 for nontoxic sunscreen technologies and products based on naturally occurring sunscreen ingredients in marine life
- Chargeway of Portland: $75,000 for software that makes electric charging easier to understand and access for electric car owners