Last week we participated in a Clean Energy Business Network “Fly-in” along with 11 other startups. The participating startups had received funding from the Department of Energy for research and development projects. The event and our travel expenses were made possible by a grant from Gates Ventures.
In some ways, this event was in response to the President’s budget which proposed the elimination of Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and an 11% decrease in overall funding for the Department of Energy (DOE). Attendees met with members of their state’s congressional delegations to discuss the impact that DOE funding has had on their companies. Kay met with Senator King and his staff, Senator Collins’ staff and members of Representative Pingree’s staff. She spoke about the importance of preserving or increasing the DOE funding, and the critical role it plays in increasing our innovation base for a clean energy future.
Introspective Systems has received $1.4 million in funding for research on transactive energy management systems and the dynamic stability of managing the US electrical grid. Recently, we received funding for a project on Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), a technology that pumps water into hot rocks thousands of feet below the earth’s surface and uses that warmed water to drive conventional steam turbines. Introspective Systems will develop monitoring software that enables EGS systems to be cost competitive and fully integrated into the electrical grid.
This funding led to the creation of 10 full-time jobs and 3 contractor positions. It has also been a catalyst for our product development and our ability to obtain contracted work with clients. We’ve formed strategic partnerships and built a pipeline of projects across the globe within the microgrid market.
At the fly-in, we met founders of innovation-based companies like Gary Cola, President of Flash Steelworks/Flash Bainite. His team develops technology to make steel lighter and stronger, with dramatic potential benefits for fuel efficiency. We also met Nalin Kumar of UHV Technologies whose company won multiple DOE and ARPA-E awards to develop an X-ray technology that can easily sort light metal alloys used in cars to increase fuel efficiency and strength. Ted Sorenson’s engineering firm owns and operates several low-impact hydropower plants many of which have been supported with grants from the DOE’s Hydro Incentive Program.
We can’t speak to the politics of the proposed federal budget line items but we can advocate strongly to keep or increase DOE’s funding and so can our 10 employees whose jobs were created as a result of it.