We're excited to introduce MEIA's participating Startup Teams. MEIA's goal is to help create or expand Maryland-based clean energy businesses. Learn more about the teams below, and you can keep up with teams' progress on the MEIA Blog.
Team Leader Professor Chao Wang
Chao Wang is Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Wang's plastic upcycling technology converts Types 3-7 plastics into BTX liquids, which are high-value hydrocarbons used to make polymers, plastics and fuels. The methodology utilizes novel catalysts and processes to convert plastics to BTX at high energy conversion and molecular transformation efficiencies. This work is currently supported by the ARPA-E REUSE project.
Team Leader Josh Cable
Josh Cable is CEO of InventWood, an innovator of advanced wood materials that offer better performance, lower costs, and greater environmental sustainability over commonly-used alternatives. One material, MettleWood, is up to 2x stronger and 5x lighter than high strength steel, presenting numerous commercialization opportunities in the construction, vehicle, and aerospace industries.
Team Leader Professor Bing Hu
Professor Bing Hu is Professor of Materials Science Engineering at UMD-College Park and co-founder of HighT Tech Furnace, which creates oxide powders and ceramics using its proprietary high temperature shock process. This team will focus on commercializing proprietary furnace technology to enable the production of catalysts, ceramic materials and for the sintering of solid state batteries.
Team Leader Joe James
Joe James is ATP-MD, LLC’s founder and inventor of its patented Combined Remediation Biomass and Bio-Product Production (CRBBP) Process, by which one plants and then multi-tasks special bio-crops to do good things for the health and well being of people, the planet and communities, less expensively. Those good things include capturing lots of atmospheric and flue gas CO 2, to combat Climate Change, while remediating air, soil and water, then converting the resulting biomass, sometimes using a patented carbonization technology, he has licensed, into a variety of cost-advantaged, circular economy bio-products, including a superior, bio-based alternative to carbon black filler powder.
In Baltimore, ATP-MD, LLC, with Exelon Foundation Climate Change Investment Initiative help, is commercializing an urban CRBBP Process application, capturing atmospheric CO 2, when remediating brownfields, and large-emitter flue gas CO 2, using Vertical Bio-Crop Farms (VBF’s).
Team Leader Sergio Baron
Sergio Baron is co-founder and CEO of Dynami Battery Corp. Dynami has created the first industrial scale technology to produce microstructured lithium battery electrodes. The Honeycomb Electrode(tm) has secondary pore networks which create up to 80% faster charging/higher power, and potentially longer cycle life. Dynami's production technology is cost neutral compared to traditional battery manufacturing techniques. Honeycomb electrodes are compatible with most current and future battery chemistries including solid state and the performance gains are additive to the specs of the materials to which it is applied. Fast charging/high power and longer cycle life are enabling technologies for the EV market, aerospace, and grid storage markets.
Team Leader Professor Ning Zeng
Ning Zeng is a professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at UMD and the founder/director of the Carbon Lockdown Project (CLP). He is the progenitor and world’s leading expert in a carbon sequestration technique called Wood Harvesting and Storage (WHS). It’s a hybrid natural/engineering technique, combining the best of human ingenuity with natural efficiency by burying woody biomass for long term sequestration.
Team Leader Professor Chao Wang
Chao Wang is Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Wang's direct air capture of CO2 approach is based on electrochemical systems designed to operate under ambient conditions and is fully compatible with renewable electricity. This reduces energy consumption, lowers capture cost, and makes the process scalable.
Team Leader Professor Eric Wachsman
Eric Wachsman is a Distinguished University Professor of Materials Science at UMD College Park and the founder of Alchemity. Dr. Wachsman’s solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) generate electricity from natural gas and other fuels with greater efficiency and higher-power-density at lower-temperatures. These exceptional attributes enable these SOFCs to address numerous markets from residential CHP and portable power to automotive and aviation hybrid-propulsion systems.
Team Leader Professor Dave Tilley
Dave Tilley is the co-founder and CEO of Living Canopies as well as an Associate Professor in the Environmental Science and Technology Department at the University of Maryland--College Park. He invented the Living Umbrella technology based on an epiphany he had while suffering the extreme heat of a Las Vegas pool deck in 2015. The latest eco-technology is the Cool Green Shelter for Bus Stops, which protects waiting riders, manages stormwater, captures carbon, reduces air temperatures, provides free solar power for charging personal devices and collects environmental data.
CEO Frank Yang
Founded in 2018 and headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Liatris Inc. is a start-up company based in Bethesda, MD, USA developing advanced materials for thermal insulation which are easy to install, efficient, non-flammable and non-toxic.
Team Leader Keith Gregorczyk
Ionic Devices is commercializing a novel methodology to produce lithium-ion batteries by leveraging semi-conductor manufacturing methods. These batteries have energy and power metrics that are orders of magnitude higher than conventional solid-state systems and are comparable to current market standards for liquid systems.
Team Leader Andrew Wills
Andrew Wills is Director of Finance at Manta Biofuel, which is commercializing a technology and process for producing algae-based biofuels that was developed at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). These algal biofuels are produced using a low-cost high-throughput magnetic harvester with proprietary nanoparticles, as well as a low-cost hydrothermal liquefaction reactor. These innovations, along with a simplified biomass growth process, enable Manta Biofuel to produce a product that is cost effective in a competitive market. The algal biofuels serve as a replacement for crude oil in a variety of applications and Manta Biofuel is concentrating initially on heating oil. The algal filtration process can also be used to filter wastewater.
Team Leader Bob Gatte
Bob Gatte, recently retired CTO of WR Grace, is CEO of HighT-Tech Catalyst. HighT-Tech's patented method of manufacturing and tuning of high entropy catalyst materials will create high performance, perfectly mixed and stable multi-element catalysts. This technology enables energy-efficient, clean and low-cost catalyst manufacturing; enables discovery of new materials and performance optimization; enables multiple catalyst functions within one material; and enables alloying of low-cost elements to replace noble metals.
Team Leader Professor Weidong Zhu
Weidong Zhu is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UMBC. The transmission technology, called infinitely variable transmission or IVT, mechanically converts a changing tidal current input speed to fixed output speed. The IVT improves tidal current energy harvesting, reducing the cut-in speed of a tidal energy device to accommodate low tidal current speeds, converting variable low-rotation speeds of turbines to constant high-rotation speeds of generators, and eliminating impacts of tidal current speed fluctuations on generators. This technology also applies to high torque, low speed heavy duty vehicle engines where typical gear systems are susceptible to slipping or stripping.
Team Leader Professor Chunsheng Wang
Chunsheng Wang is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UMD-College Park and founder of WISE Battery. This technology is a novel battery system based on a water in salt electrolyte, nicknamed WiSE. This electrolyte, used in combination with a LiCl-LiBr-Graphite cathode and Li or Al anodes, could double storage capacity. The technology increases safety dramatically (it is non-flammable), allowing for applications where the battery gets physically damaged such as defense applications. The safety and cost profile may also make this battery a good candidate for utility and home energy storage, for electronics applications in polar or desert environments, or for electric vehicles. The use of safe, inexpensive materials could also reduce the cost of battery management and improve reliability.
Team Leader Pranay Kohli
Pranay Kohli is CEO of ACTIVEcharge, which offers an innovative approach to monitoring wind turbine blade health. This technology converts vibrational and rotational energy into electrical energy so that the sensors and data transmitters mounted hundreds of feet inside the blade do not need batteries or any additional electrical equipment to power the sensors. This reduces the long-term blade monitoring part of operation and maintenance (O&M) cost by 80%. Additionally, this eliminates the need for battery replacement and costly turbine shutdowns, increasing owner profits by approximately 1.5%/year. The technology is currently in prototype stage and looking to deploy a pilot with a turbine over the next 12 months.
Team Leader Adam Landsman
Adam Landsman is President of PulseIQ!, a unique and innovative energy management and information service company. It delivers significant energy efficiency and cost savings by utilizing the power of big data and analytics from their proprietary networked thermostats combined with a state-of-the-art suite of HVAC sensors, controls, automation and optimization. They also offer intelligent system monitoring and alarms allowing them to identify issues before they become larger problems. With rising energy costs and aging infrastructure, this service presents an opportunity for older buildings to improve their physical and financial health while also improving their social and environmental impact.
Team Leader Professor Dongxia Liu
Dongxia Liu is a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UMD-College Park. This technology takes methane and converts it to fuels and other carbon products via a single-step reactor. It is an H2-permeable membrane reactor technology that integrates reaction and separation into one operation unit to achieve high efficiency, low cost and a one-step process for natural gas conversion, other greenhouse gas conversion or ammonia (fertilizer) production. This technology has achieved >10% methane conversion and >90% product selectivity without catalyst deactivation in >50 hours continuous operation in direct non-oxidative conversion in the H2-permeable membrane reactor. This technology has great market potential in cases of methane flaring during oil extraction or in cases of chemical refinement. It turns a waste product into viable potential resources and decreases methane flaring, a large contributor to climate change.
Team Leader Professor Meilin Yu
Meilin Yu is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UMBC. Weidong Zhu is also a founder of this Startup. The Navita Tech Hybrid Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (HVAWT) is a hybrid of two classic vertical axis wind turbine designs – Darrieus H-Rotor plus Modified Savonius. The Navita Tech turbine outperforms traditional VAWTs by providing lower cut-in speed, higher power co-efficient, less noise, and longer system life due to its more rigid structural design. Distributed wind customers require turbines to be placed where the customer needs them, not where the wind resource is optimal. Thus, the best turbine is the one that performs best under the widest variety of conditions.
Team Leader Professor Deepa Madan
Deepa Madam is Assistant Professor of Engineering at University of Maryland Baltimore County. Dr. Madan has developed and patented a safe, flexible, and high performance rechargeable zinc batteries (RZB) using safe, and biodegradable chitosan gel electrolyte. This RZB molds into any shape or size of wearable devices and provides freedom for design engineers to customize their wearable devices. The materials involved in fabrication of the RZB are cheap, easily available, and bio-degradable which allows for cost effective fabrication of RZB.
Maryland Energy Innovation Accelerator
5000 College Ave., Suite 31010, College Park MD 20740