CSIT’s $435K R&D program to award vouchers to emerging clean energy companies

Program aims to connect emerging businesses with N.J. universities, federal labs

The Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology — in an effort to connect early-stage clean energy companies to the state’s universities and federal labs — will start taking applications next month for a $435,000 program that will help connect the groups.

The Clean Tech Research & Development Voucher Program was designed to help these emerging companies more easily access resources such as specialized equipment.

The program will begin accepting applications on April 5. CSIT said the four-week delay will give applicants adequate time to prepare their applications, as they will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. (Click here for the application.)

CSIT will host an informational webinar at 10 a.m. March 16 to offer tips and advice to potential applicants. Registration information can be found here. A recorded version of the webinar and copy of materials presented will be made available on the CSIT webpage following the event.

The program was developed in coordination with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which oversees CSIT, and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

The program will fund work on projects that are developing or testing clean technologies intended to recapture or avoid emissions of greenhouse gases and/or criteria pollutants, or to enable such avoidance or recapture.

To be eligible for the Clean Tech R&D Voucher program, applicants must be registered to conduct business in New Jersey and must have no more than 50 full-time employees at the time of application. Additionally, 100% of the project work for which the voucher is being sought must be conducted in New Jersey.

Full eligibility requirements can be found here.

The following technology areas are eligible under the program:

  • Chemicals/advance materials;
  • Energy distribution/storage;
  • Energy efficiency;
  • Energy generation;
  • Green buildings;
  • Transportation;
  • Waste processing;
  • Water and agriculture.

A New Jersey clean tech asset map listing university and federal laboratory resources in the state also will be available on the CSIT website.

Here’s how the program works:

Eligible applicants will receive vouchers to subsidize the costs associated with one or more of the following services or activities in a participating New Jersey university or federal laboratory facility:

  • Use of facility equipment for testing and development;
  • Training in preparation for independent use of the facility.

Each eligible applicant can apply for multiple vouchers, up to a cap of $15,000 within any 12-month period — and an approved voucher will be valid for a period of three months.

CSIT Chairman Gunjan Doshi said the goal is to match emerging companies with the state’s established assets.

“New Jersey is known the world over for its high-caliber research universities, and it is incumbent upon us to provide Garden State companies at their earliest stages with access to these invaluable resources,” he said. “CSIT is proud to work with its partners at the NJEDA and the NJBPU to bring this important and impactful program to fruition.”

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the program will help the state’s innovation economy.

“We developed the Clean Tech R&D Voucher Program first and foremost to support the many innovative clean technology companies working to impact the global marketplace,” he said.

“At the same time, it will increase access to, and awareness and utilization of, the state’s physical clean tech innovation-related amenities. This program will be a terrific tool for attracting companies to the Garden State, a top priority as we continue to recapture New Jersey’s role as a leader in innovation.”

In May 2018, Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 28, which directed the NJBPU, in partnership with other state agencies, to develop this statewide clean energy plan and shift away from energy production that contributes to climate change.

In 2020, Murphy unveiled the state’s Energy Master Plan, which outlines key strategies to reach the administration’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2050. The cost of the plan has not been released.

NJBPU President Joe Fiordaliso said the Clean Tech Research & Development Voucher Program will help the state reach its energy goals.

“Up-and-coming New Jersey companies bring fresh ideas to the table and fostering opportunities for them is critical as we continue to shape a clean energy future,” he said. “We want to ensure that these businesses have every resource at their disposal as they develop important clean technologies. Programs like the one announced today are an important step toward fulfilling the governor’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.”

CSIT was established in August 2018, comprised of representatives from the public and private sectors, as well as academia. The commission is tasked with leading the way in promoting the state as a home for academic and technological research, development and commercialization.

CSIT reestablishes the former New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology.