LTU showcases eco-friendly companies, green technologies

By: Andy Kozlowski | Southfield Sun | Published September 8, 2021

File photo by Patricia O'Blenes

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SOUTHFIELD — A recent event by Lawrence Technological University highlighted the opportunities available to businesses through its C3 Accelerator.

The program, part of the university’s Centrepolis Accelerator, draws upon $1.6 million in grant funding and investments, supporting the development of eco-friendly technologies and services.

Held Aug. 26 in the Centrepolis Accelerator, located at 21415 Civic Center Drive in Southfield, the event was a showcase for companies supported by the program. It also provided an overview of the ever-changing landscape of “cleantech,” “climatech” and “circular economies” — the three C’s of C3.

“Cleantech” refers to technologies and businesses that provide or support clean energy or sustainable products and services. “Climatech” refers to technologies and businesses aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change. “Circular economies” are systems that minimize waste and pollution by keeping products and materials in use and regenerating value-added products.

“Cleantech innovation has come a long way,” Dan Radomski, the executive director of the Centrepolis Accelerator, said in an email. “It is now more important than ever before to offer support and resources to innovators trying to tackle these important issues. The C3 Accelerator aims to make an impact on these.”

Among the speakers at the event were representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions; the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, also known as EGLE; the Clean Energy Trust; and Huron River Ventures.

Others supporting the program include Wells Fargo and the New Economy Initiative. The C3 Accelerator is also committed to supporting cleantech ventures led by women, people of color, veterans and other minority entrepreneurs.

The event featured investor pitches from 10 C3 companies. They included:

• Celcius, developing chemical-free pet care and health products made by infusing deionized water with oxygen ions.

• Change Plastic for Good, developing biodegradable plastics.

• Daika Wood, developing a new process for recycling wood.

• Global Battery Solutions, developing battery technologies.

• Intercells, developing battery technologies.

• Lilypad, developing solar-powered boats.

• Meknology, developing water treatment systems.

• Rhombus Energy Solutions, developing power conversion and energy management systems.

• Solartonic, developing wireless solar energy technologies.

• X3 Energy, developing portable power systems.

Four companies — Celcius, Global Battery Solutions, Intercells and Lilypad — were each awarded $60,000 in C3 investment funds, while Meknology was recognized with the Inclusion Award and Solartonic received the People’s Choice Award.

The C3 program is a “growth stage” accelerator, meaning it only accepts companies at a certain technology readiness level. Once enrolled, companies receive comprehensive support to advance their business and technical milestones for six to 12 months, including funding, product development services, pilot demonstrations, connections to suppliers, customer support, strategic partners, free or discounted software resources, access to workshops, and more.

Dennis Shaver, the expert in residence at the Centrepolis Accelerator, said that it’s important to assist companies innovating in the green space.

“The support and resources that are available to innovators today certainly will help transition to a more circular economy,” Shaver said in an email.

Added Radomski: “Our clients (in the C3 Accelerator) are positively impacting our environment, as well as providing an economic impact to our local manufacturing community by producing their products here in Michigan. What’s best is that — thanks to EGLE, the New Economy Initiative and the Wells Fargo Foundation — we also have dedicated funding to invest in underserved and underrepresented companies.”

Lawrence Technological University is a private university founded in 1932, based in Southfield. For more information, visit ltu.edu.

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