Energy Seed Grant Program

The Maryland Energy Innovation Institute (MEI2) is focused on translating university energy research into new clean energy companies in the State of Maryland and thus simultaneously benefiting our environment and creating high paying jobs to help our State economy. The MEI2  energy seed grant program to bridge the gap between academic transformative laboratory research results and prototype demonstrations to obtain investor interest.  The annual call supports multiple seed grant awards with a maximum award ceiling of $100,000 USD as well as potential Phase 2 awards with a maximum ceiling of $200,000 USD for those projects that received a prior seed grant. The total amount of funding available for the FY24 Seed Grant Program is $650,000 USD.  Applications will be accepted each year beginning October-December.

MEI2 Energy Seed Grant FAQ

  • 27 Seed Grants Awarded (22 Phase I; 5 Phase II)

  • Total Funding Awarded by MEI: $2,637,000.00

Economic Development by the Numbers with MEIA (as of August 2023):

  • 27 Companies Formed
  • 134 F/T Jobs created
  • 124 Patents Filed
  • $70.3M Private Investments
  • $76.7M Grants Awarded
  • $4.5M Revenue Generated

Eligibility: All full-time tenure-track or professional track faculty members at any higher education institution with graduate program(s) and relevance to energy technology within the state of Maryland or Maryland based companies affiliated with and commercializing inventions created by those faculty.

Program Focus: The intent of the program is to foster commercialization by translating energy research into a prototype device or process through technology development, creation and/or advancement of university start-up companies within the state of Maryland.

Expectations: The project should advance energy technology and economic growth in Maryland. The device or process should have appropriate intellectual property protection (invention disclosure, patent application, or patent) filed with the applicant institution. At the end of one year, a report that describes work done and includes a plan for the next steps toward commercialization will be the final deliverable for the project. The plan should include: 1) clear assessment of technical readiness (including ultimate cost and scalability) of the product; 2) a survey of potential customers for the product; and 3) a strategy for next steps in financing the plan.

Review: Funding for the seed grants will be awarded on a competitive basis. The MEI2 Investment Committee will review and select proposed projects. Applicants should not expect detailed written critiques of their proposals. Proposals will be reviewed for: 1) innovation and technical merit, 2) the likelihood of attracting follow-on funding, and 3) potential for commercialization. 

For the full announcement and requirements click here

2024 Recipients

  • Low-cost Vacuum Insulated Glass; Lead PI: Ratenesh Tiwari, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: NextGlass, LLC (Phase II)
  • Development and Commercialization of Rechargeable Zn-ion Batteries from Crab Shell; Lead PI: Xin Zhang, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: WH-Power, Inc (Phase II)
  • Renewable Electricity-based Ultrahigh Temperature Plasma Heating to Rapid, Continuous Manufacturing of Battery Anode from Biomass; Lead PI: Hamideh Soltani-Ahmadi, USPlasma, Inc
  • Roll-to-roll Joule Heating Device for Electrothermal Upgrading of Carbon Fibers; Lead PI: Canhui Wang, Johns Hopkins University; Partnering Company: Carbon Plus, Inc.
  • Printed Ultra-Conductive Copper From Recycled Feedstock; Lead PI: Colin Preston and Shenqiang Ren, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: NewCopper LLC
  • Elastocaloric High Temperature Heat Pump; Lead PI: Abimael Santos and Ichiro Takeuchi, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: Maryland Energy and Sensor Technologies, LLC
  • Reducing laboratory energy waste with an fume hood monitoring and incentive system; Lead PI: Kevin Tu, University of Maryland School of Medicine; Partnering Company: Sustainabli

2023 Recipients

  • Natural Gas to Value-Added Chemicals Without Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Lead PI: Eric Wachsman, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: Alchemity (Phase II)
  • Low-cost Vacuum Insulated Glass; Lead PI: Ratenesh Tiwari, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: NextGlass, LLC (Phase II)
  • Advancing Technology for Commercialization of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Production from Industrial Hemp Biomass; Lead PI: Sadanand Dhekney, University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Partnering Company: Atlantic Biomass (Phase II)
  • Large-Scale Biofuel Production Using a Novel Cyanobaterium; Lead PI: Viji Sitther, Morgan State University; Partnering Company: HaloCyTech LLC
  • SulAnchor Cathodes for Solid-State Lithium Sulfur Batteries; Lead PI: Sara Thoi, Johns Hopkins University \, Partnering Company: Lithinity, LLC
  • Development and Commercialization of Rechargeable Zn-ion Batteries from Crab Shell; Lead PI: Xin Zhang, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: WH-Power, Inc

2022 Recipients

  • Machine Learning-Accelerated Development of Non-Flammable Silica Aerogels for Building Thermal Insulation; Lead PI: Po-Yen Chen, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: Liatris Inc
  • Large-Scale Biofuel Production Using a Novel Cyanobaterium; Lead PI: Viji Sitther, Morgan State University; Partnering Company: HaloCyTech LLC
  • Portable Hybrid Vertical-axis Turbine Technology for Efficient Aero-hydro Energy Harvesting; Lead PI: Meilin Yu, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Partnering Company: InoSonic LLC and Solar Oysters LLC
  • Low-cost Vacuum Insulated Glass; Lead PI: Junho Kim, University of Maryland College Park

2021 Recipients

  • Scaled Electronic Inks as Transparent Conductors for the Solar Cell and Energy-Efficient Lighting Industries (PHASE II); Lead PI: Susanna Thon, Johns Hopkins University; Partnering Company: Nano Direct, LLC
  • Insulating Wood Panels for Energy Efficient Wall Retrofits; Lead PI: Amy Gong, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: Invent Wood LLC
  • A Digital Twin For Lithium-Sulfur Battery Management; Lead PI: Hosam Fathy, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Compnay: Digitalis Technologies
  •  Translation of UMD Research Findings into an AI Thermostat Prototype for Thermal Comfort and Load Sheading; Lead PI: Jelena Srebric, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: Build Sci, Inc.

2020 Recipients

  • Multi-Winding Planar Transformer for Energy Router in Smart Homes; Lead PI: Alireza Khaligh, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: AmpX Technologies, Inc.
  • Mind Your Feet – Knitting Meta-Cool into Socks; Lead PI: YuHuang Wang, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: Coolwave Dynamics, LLC
  • Swirl Stove: Swirling combustion for efficient wood burning; Lead PI: Taylor Myers; Partnering Company: MF Fire Inc.
  • Utilizing Industrial Hemp Biomass for High Throughput Biofuel Production in Maryland; Lead PIs: Jurgen Schwarz, Professor and Chair, and Sadanand Dhekney, Professor, Agriculture, Food and Resource Science, University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Partnering Company: Atlantic Biomass Company
  • Poultry Litter to Energy; Lead PI: Seong Lee, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Morgan State University; Partnering Company: Cykloburn Technologies, LLC
  • Thermohalt Li-Ion Battery Management System Development and Customer Test; Lead PI: Rengaswamy Srinivasan, Lead Scientist, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab; Partnering Compnay: Thermohalt Technology, LLC

2019 Recipients

  • RoCo (the Roving Comforter - Phase 2); Lead PI: Reinhard Radermacher, Professor and Director Center for Environmental Energy Engineering, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Companies: Mobile Comfort, Daikin and Alliance Material Handling 
  • A Novel Geared Infinitely Variable Transmission for Tidal Current Energy Harvesting; Lead PI: Weidong Zhu, Professor Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Partnering Company: Talos Industry Corporation
  • Packaging of Solid-State Batteries for Strategic Partner Testing and Product Integration; Lead PI: Greg Hitz, CTO Ion Storage Systems, LLC; University Collaborator: Eric Wachsman, Professor Materials Science Engineering, University of Maryland College Park

2018 Recipients

  • Biogas Enhancement and Ammonia Extraction for Increased Revenue in Waste-to-Energy SystemsLead PI: Stephanie Lansing, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science & Technology, University of Maryland College Park, Partnering Company: Planet Found Energy Systems, LLC
  • Large Area Quantum Dot Solar Cells for Building Integrated PhotovoltaicsLead PI: Susanna Thon, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Johns Hopkins University; Partnering Company: NanoDirect LLC
  • Prototype Study of One-Step Membrane Reactor for Stranded Natural Gas to LiquidsLead PI: Dongxia Liu, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Company: Protonic Membranes
  • RoCo (the Roving Comforter); Lead PI: Reinhard Radermacher, Professor and Director Center for Environmental Energy Engineering, University of Maryland College Park; Partnering Companies: Mobile Comfort, Daikin and Alliance Material Handling

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