Shell GameChanger Accelerator Announces Participants For 6th Cohort

Shell GameChanger Accelerator Announces Participants For 6th Cohort - Carbon Herald
Source: GCxN

The Shell GameChanger Accelerator Powered by NREL (GCxN), a multi-million dollar, multi-year program developed in collaboration between Shell GameChanger and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has selected four startups to participate in the program’s sixth cohort.

GCxN provides promising early-stage cleantech startups with access to technical experts and state-of-the-art facilities to reduce technology development risk and accelerate commercialization of new cleaner technologies. 

The selected startups are focused on developing innovative technologies that sequester carbon into building materials and convert waste and/or bio-renewable feedstocks to desired energy and chemical products.

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The startups are referred by Channel Partners, an extensive ecosystem of cleantech business incubators, accelerators, and universities, with finalists undergoing review by technology experts and NREL and Shell representatives. Invited companies are provided access to $250,000 each in non-dilutive funding to conduct technical assistance projects. 

The sixth GCxN cohort includes:

  • DTE Materials, based in Fresno, CA, has developed a technology that converts agricultural and forest waste into sustainable, carbon-negative construction materials. GCxN will assist DTE Materials with a thorough life cycle analysis considering procurement, conversion of biomass, manufacturing, implementation, and disposal, as well as using NREL’s steam explosion reactor to produce bio-aggregates using DTE’s feedstock materials. 
  • Hexas Biomass, based in Olympia, WA, has created a nature-based alternative for wood, food crop, and fossil fuel-based feedstocks for biofuel production. GCxN will support Hexas Biomass with feedstock treatment and conversion to sugars and lipids leveraging NREL’s Integrated Biorefinery Facility and fermentation systems.
  • Invizyne Technologies, based in Monrovia, CA, is a cell-free enzyme platform that enhances biomass conversions, vastly improving the economics of bio-based chemical production. GCxN will enable researchers to evaluate various separations approaches to enhance product throughput as well as conduct techno-economic and life cycle analysis modeling of Invizyne Technologies’ production process.
  • ZILA BioWorks, based in Renton, WA, has developed a bio-epoxy resin from hemp seed oil that has a 60% smaller carbon footprint in comparison to petroleum-based epoxies. GCxN will help ZILA BioWorks determine the suitability of formulations for thicker and larger sections of wind turbine blades and perform mechanical, load-frame testing to characterize the strength of Zila BioWorks’ bio-resin relative to existing industry resins.

“In this cohort, we’re harnessing NREL’s vast research capabilities to tackle some of today’s paramount sustainability challenges,” said Johanna Jamison, GCxN program manager at NREL. “We’re fostering collaborations in unprecedented areas to advance cutting-edge cleaner technologies with the potential to dramatically impact the future energy landscape. The work we’ll conduct with the newly selected companies underscores the role of innovation in meeting our global sustainability goals.”

“Tackling the climate challenge requires multifaceted solutions. At Shell, we believe technology that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will be essential for lowering emissions from energy and chemical products,” said Yesim Jonsson, Shell’s GCxN program manager. “The companies in GCxN’s sixth cohort embody these objectives and have the potential to usher in a more sustainable future.”

The sixth cohort brings GCxN to a total of 23 portfolio companies across various technology sectors and stages. The portfolio companies have collectively raised over $317 million since joining the program, translating to a leverage ratio of $67 raised for every dollar of Shell project funding. On average, startups enter GCxN at a 3.6 Technology Readiness Level and graduate at a 5.6. These results, in tandem with the 285 jobs created by the portfolio companies, showcase the program’s substantial impact on the cleantech ecosystem.

Read more: Elemental Excelerator Announces 15 New Climate Companies In 12th Cohort

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