The IN2 programme was launched in 2014 with the goal of expediting the path to market for innovative and promising new energy technologies, giving them the opportunity to create immediate impact. Building on the early success of the programme and partnership, the Wells Fargo Foundation extended IN2’s original $10 million investment in 2017 with an additional $20 million boost to support the programme through 2022. In addition to financial expansion, IN2 is also broadening its scope to include new technology sectors.
IN2 pulls potential participants from more than 40 incubator, accelerator, and university programmes that serve as Channel Partners. To select the best candidate companies, IN2 sorts through applications in a rigorous selection process, which includes final review by an External Advisory Board of industry experts. This is the fourth round in the programme’s history. Selected companies will receive up to $250,000 in technical assistance and project-related support to help with the testing and validation of their concepts -stages where NREL’s broad spectrum of expertise and capabilities play a key role.
“Through partnerships, we’re able to gain insight into industry and inform new research at the lab” said NREL Director Martin Keller. “Strong partners, such as Wells Fargo, keep our technologies moving forward, help create demand for new energy innovations and grow opportunities for new collaboration.”
Companies selected for this round are:
75F (Burnsville, MN): Easy-to-setup HVAC controls systems that addresses occupant experience and operational efficiency.
Ladybug Tools (Baltimore, MD): Computer applications that support environmental design and education.
Next Energy Technologies, Inc. (Santa Barbara, CA): Energy-generating windows.
UbiQd, Inc. (Los Alamos, NM): Nanomaterials for energy harvesting and utilization.
Yotta (Austin, TX): Modular energy storage integrated with solar.
IN2 is an excellent example of how NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility provides space for organisations to bring ideas to NREL and shape them into marketable, commercially-ready technologies. Companies typically spend an average of 18 months in the IN2 programme. To date, IN2 has funded 20 early-stage companies who have gone on to raise $89.5 million in follow-on funding from external sources.
For NREL, IN2 is part of a broad strategy to advance new energy technologies and expand market impact through the laboratory’s active partnership portfolio and collaborations with partners from government, industry, and academia. In FY2017, NREL added 285 new partnerships and 288 new partnership agreements, worth $80 million, bringing its total to more than 500 partners and more than 730 agreements.