4 N.J. startups selected for 2021 Northeast cohort of Cleantech Open

Four New Jersey startups have been selected for the 2021 cohort of Cleantech Open Northeast — a regional cohort of Cleantech Open, the world’s oldest and largest cleantech accelerator.

ExoCell, 13 Mari, Forest Founders Rewards and Princeton NuEnergy (more details on all four at the bottom of this story) were among 52 startups selected from a pool of 71 applicants. This year’s cohort is the largest in the history of Cleantech Open Northeast.

Cleantech Open officials said the program is dedicated to providing entrepreneurs and technologists the resources needed to launch a successful cleantech company. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges.

Cleantech Open officials said the group provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies.

The 2021 cohort includes startups from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as several companies based outside the region, including Canada.

Ventures participating in the 2021 cohort represent a range of cleantech sectors, including energy distribution and storage, chemicals and advanced materials, information and communications technologies, energy efficiency, transportation, green building, waste, agriculture, water and energy generation. A full list of participating companies is available here.

Northeast Clean Energy Council President Peter Rothstein is confident the cohort will do great things.

“The Northeast is leading the nation in accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy, thanks to our unparalleled network of cleantech innovators,” he said. “Cleantech Open Northeast plays a key role in supporting and training the next generation of these cleantech entrepreneurs, and we are thrilled to welcome the 2021 cohort of startups to the accelerator program.”

The six-month accelerator will remain virtual throughout 2021. During the program, startups will access training through webinars and business clinics, gain insight from expert mentors, build connections with strategic investors, angel groups and venture capital firms, and receive products and services from in-kind sponsors.

Through the support of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the 2021 accelerator program will introduce new curriculum content developed by New York State Pollution Prevention Institute focused on helping startups measure their greenhouse gas emissions reduction potential and implement a new tool developed by Clean Energy Ventures that allows companies to gauge their environmental impact. Cleantech Open Northeast will also implement a special focus this year on helping startups build diversity, equity and inclusion values into their companies.

Each year, the accelerator program culminates in a regional pitch competition where startups showcase their ventures before a panel of judges that select four regional winners to each receive a $10,000 cash prize. In 2021, thanks to a grant from the Sire Foundation, CTONE will also add a new $10,000 prize to a carbon sequestration startup that completes the annual accelerator. The regional winners and finalists will continue on to compete for the national grand prize at the Cleantech Open finals.

Here’s a greater look at the four New Jersey startups that were selected:

13 Mari Ltd.

Website: https://13mari.com

Sector: Transportation

Description: Making you twice as rich by reducing drag and fuel consumption of your maritime fleet. We make local, smart hull modifications that reduce the drag, so the vessel consumes less fuel. The modifications are done during the scheduled dry dock maintenance window. Our compensation is realized by the ship owner-operator savings and, as such, the service is low risk. Speaking of risk, the modifications do not compromise the hull and are totally passive and reversible, but we doubt you’ll ever want to do this.


Website: https://www.exocellpower.com

Sector: Energy distribution & storage

Description: ExoCell Power develops and manufactures a hydrogen fuel cell device, the Thin Flexible Fuel Cell, that extends drones’ flight time by four times. The TFFC has a radically improved architecture, which is sheet-like, ultralight and air-breathing. Years of development eliminated cleanroom processing while increasing power. Commercial users need longer flight, and drone manufacturers will implement new technology. We are ready for scale up and, with the right resources, can take drones to the next level.

Forest Founders Rewards

Website: https://www.forestfoundersrewards.com

Sector: Agriculture, water & waste

Description: The majority of consumers in the U.S. want to take action to support the environment, with consumerism being the leading cause of climate destruction. The problem is, nobody knows what to do to reverse that trend. Forest Founders Rewards lets consumers plant trees on behalf of their favorite businesses just by shopping at those businesses. We use a combination web app and QR technology to let consumers plant trees when they perform a business-defined action at the shop of their choice.

Princeton NuEnergy

Website: https://www.pnecycle.com

Sector: Chemicals & advanced materials

Description: Princeton NuEnergy is developing a novel lithium-ion battery recycling process to directly recover and regenerate used battery materials. Compared to current industrial battery recycling processes, PNE’s process is simpler, more cost effective and more environmentally friendly. With our process, critical battery materials such as the cathode and anode can be recycled, restored and reused in new batteries, without the need to break the materials down into the raw elements.