“Build Our Future” grants include two MEI2 energy companies

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On June 25, 2024, Governor Wes Moore announced that the Maryland Department of Commerce awarded 11 grants totaling $9 million through the Build Our Future Grant Pilot Program. The recipients represent projects that will support innovation infrastructure development in eligible technology sectors.

Two companies founded on UMD research were among the awardees:

  • InventWood, founded by Distinguished University Professor Liangbing Hu in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, received $1 million to construct a pilot manufacturing and innovation center at its facility in Frederick County to produce MettleWood, a 100% wood material that is 50% stronger than steel and provides meaningful carbon sequestration by allowing expanded use of wood in structures.

  • Ion Storage Systems, founded by Eric Wachsman, director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute and a UMD Distinguished University Professor, received $1 million to enhance its solid-state battery research and development and manufacturing facility in Beltsville. Ion Storage Systems produces batteries using a ceramic solid-state electrolyte structure meant to replace the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.

Both ION and InventWood recently received a $20M Department of Energy ARPA-e SCALEUP award to provide a pathway for the commercialization of these promising clean energy technologies.

Grants were also awarded to quantum technology projects, serving to strengthen the reputation of UMD and the state of Maryland as a hub for quantum research and development:

  • The Quantum Startup Foundry, housed at UMD, received $118,600 for the implementation of a “shared lab” concept for quantum technology startups, including equipment, platforms and training. The project is called the University of Maryland Advanced Quantum-Centered Experience for Startups and Students (AQCESS).

  • QC82, a company located at the Quantum Startup Foundry, received $200,000 for the construction of a 1,000 square-foot integrated photonics testing and packaging facility for its unique room-temperature photonic chips for scalable universal quantum computing.

The Build Our Future Grant Pilot Program—part of the governor’s Innovation Economy Infrastructure Act of 2023—provides grants of up to $2 million to private companies, nonprofit entities, local governments, or colleges and universities. Eligible industry sectors include advanced manufacturing, aerospace, agriculture, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, blue technology, cybersecurity, defense, energy and sustainability, life sciences, quantum, and sensors and robotics.


Governor Moore's press release can be found here.

This story was also posted on Maryland Today

Published July 1, 2024