Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) announced the Phase 1 winners of the Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Round 3. 

Twenty-three incubators and accelerators from across the nation were each awarded $150,000 for programs designed to support energy startups and entrepreneurs in their communities. Applicants included traditional business accelerators and incubators, as well as innovative entrepreneurship communities and startup advocacy organizations. 

The EPIC program is designed to encourage energy innovation ecosystems, increase local business productivity, and improve the commercial success of energy startups. This is the third consecutive year of the competition, which continues to expand its impact with each iteration. EPIC Round 3 is a multiphase, year-long program that concludes with the opportunity for grand prize winners to negotiate a cooperative agreement with OTT worth up to $1 million.  

“Incubators and Accelerators are uniquely positioned to provide startups things they can't get anywhere else -- mentorship, technology validation, and other critical business development support.” said DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of OTT, Dr. Vanessa Z. Chan. “The EPIC program allows us to provide consistent funding to organizations who are developing robust programming, resources, and support for innovative energy startups and entrepreneurs.” 

Phase 1 Winners 

Winners demonstrated a dedication to clean energy entrepreneurship by developing creative, impactful plans for startup support, including actionable steps for implementation.  

EPIC R3 Map Final

Phase 1 winners span across the U.S. and its territories, representing a wide range of regions and energy tech industries.

AirMiners PBC (San Francisco, CA) – Engaging states in the National AirMiners MVP program to support carbon removal startups that impact their communities, helping realize climate action goals. Launch Alaska (Anchorage, AK)Developing ‘Industry Innovation Challenges’ as part of Launch Alaska’s existing Tech Deployment Track, in which startups will compete to solve climate challenges faced by specific Alaska communities.    
Alpha-X (Alpharetta, GA) ­– Providing support for energy ecosystem startups to develop hardware and hard-tech specialized programming through 24-module Applied Leadership Program Hardware Accelerator program.mHUB (Chicago, IL) – Establishing a Climate & Energy Pilot Launchpad Program (CEPL) Bootcamp pilot, matching startups with partners to receive support and product development grants that help prepare technology for demonstration.
Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM) – Focused on emerging energy and water technologies through Arrowhead RenewTech Incubator to help solve community and industry challenges. Missouri Innovation Center (Columbia, MO) – Funding the AG-POWERUP (Agricultural Growth Powered by Energy Upstarts) program for energy innovative entrepreneurs that benefit the agricultural sector.
Black & Veatch: IgniteX Accelerator (Overland Park, KS) – Co-developing projects with startups to offer grant funding, investor introductions, fundraising guidance, project development, marketing, and industry support with a focus on later stage technologies.Newlab (Brooklyn, NY) – Supporting carbon management or hydrogen startups to develop pilot projects in Louisianna through The Energy Delta Program by developing diagnostic tools, four playbooks, and a pilot concept framework. 
BRITE Energy Innovators (Warren, OH) – Harnessing connection points for underserved startups that have ideated within universities through direct mentorship and access to a robust community of support.Northwest Cleantech Innovation Network  (Portland, OR) – Supporting startups in the Pacific Northwest through a collaboration formed by VertueLab, the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds, and the CleanTech Alliance.
Centrepolis Accelerator and NexCorps Inc. (Southfield, MI) –  Support for companies developing "dual purpose" critical materials and component for mobility, electrification, and industrial decarbonization technologies.Parallel18 (San Juan, Puerto Rico) – Launching Project Switch, an energy innovation incubator led by Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust supporting entrepreneurship support organizations and individuals. 
ClimateHaven (New Haven, CT) – Providing business support services to companies in Connecticut, with sector-specific support in the field of sustainable and green chemistry. Prize winnings for this team were made possible by the DOE’s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office.Spark Innovation Center (Knoxville, TN) – Creating a Prototyping Initiative at the Spark Innovation Center to help cleantech startups bring their products to market faster.
Dominion Energy Innovation Center (Ashland, VA) – Funding a DEIC hyper-scaled 10-week program focused on startups related to or supporting data center energy usage, and trial a pre-accelerator mentoring program.Texas Innovates: Carbon and Hydrogen Innovation and Learning Incubator (Houston, TX) – Driving innovative startups to the DOE recognized HyVelocity program and other regional decarbonization efforts.
Dream.org (Pittsburgh, PA) Creating a launchpad program focused on helping disadvantaged entrepreneurs start and run clean energy and green infrastructure companies in the greater Pittsburgh region. Prize winnings for this team were made possible by the DOE’s Office of Energy Justice and Equity.Tribuquent Corporation: Terra EPIC (Tulsa, OK) – Helping startups tackle technical and market challenges while building strong regional partnerships, including with Tribal Nations, providing access to research and development, expert mentorship, research facilities, and more.
Elemental Excelerator (Honolulu, HI) – Partnering with local organizations in the Southeastern USA, Elemental is launching a new suite of Scale Up Services to help energy technology companies navigate the pre-development, project finance, and project development stages of commercialization.U.S. Research Impact Alliance Corp (Morgantown, WV) – Developing an entrepreneur in residence (EIR) program to support inventors in reviewing national lab & university IP, creating go-to-market strategies, partnering with SME networks, and planning for licensing and commercialization. 
FusionForge (Fort Collins, CO) – Offering a national fusion technology entrepreneurship program and cohort community to support teams in business planning, attracting high quality ventures, and securing cooperative agreements. Prize winnings for this team were made in possible in part by the DOE’s Office of Science’s Fusion Energy Sciences program.Urban Future Lab at NYU Tandon and SecondMuse (Brooklyn, NY) – The GROW-TOGETHER accelerator merges the innovative forces of hardtech clean energy startups with the manufacturing industry in the Northeast US by mandating joint applications from startups and manufacturers, ensuring both parties collaborate from the outset. 
Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) (Boston, MA) – Establishing a geothermal drilling center of excellence (CoE) in the northeast that would support job training, entrepreneurship and growth in the geothermal workspace. Prize winnings for this team were made possible by the DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office. 

EPIC Phase 1 winners will now advance to Phase 2 of the prize, where they’ll implement their programming and design a project continuation plan over the next 7 months. In September they will submit their plans with the hope of being selected to negotiate a three-year cooperative agreement with OTT, worth up to $1 million each. 

Startup Pitch Competitions

Phase 2 of the EPIC Prize also includes two national pitch competitions where a total of $165,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to winning startups. Competitors will aim to demonstrate a clear understanding of their technology, the market, and the pathway to tech commercialization. ­­––

Any previous EPIC winner can nominate one hard-tech startup for the pitch competitions. These events are a great opportunity for incubators and accelerators to elevate their most promising partners and highlight these ground-breaking energy startups. 

The first EPIC Round 3 pitch competition will take place in June at the 2024 Small Business Forum & Expo in Minneapolis, MN.

Learn More

The American-Made program fast-tracks innovation through prizes, training, teaming, and mentoring, connecting the nation's entrepreneurs and innovators to America's national labs and the private sector. Teams competing in EPIC Round 3 have access to the American-Made Network, which provides tools, resources, and support to accelerate real-world solutions and achieve clean energy goals.

EPIC Round 3 is part of OTT's broader Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) program which provides funding and support to place-based incubators to encourage robust growth of regional energy innovation ecosystems across the United States.

Visit Energy.gov to learn more about OTT's overall mission to spur commercialization of impactful energy technologies and expand public benefit of DOE’s research, development, demonstration, and deployment portfolio.

About the Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions

The Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) is one of the largest supporters of technology commercialization in the federal government. Founded in 2015, OTT bolsters the technology industry's market skills and enables clean energy technologies to progress through research, development, demonstration, and to deployment into the private sector to meet our nation’s climate goals. Visit us at energy.gov/ott to learn more and subscribe to receive our latest opportunities and accomplishments via email. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Media contact: OTT@hq.doe.gov