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Carbontech Development Initiative Announces Inaugural Program Cohort for Research and Commercialization Grants

Carbontech Development Initiative is pleased to announce awards of over $2.75 million to research and commercialization teams working to develop and scale critical negative emissions technologies.

NEW YORK CITY — The Carbontech Development Initiative (CDI) is excited to announce it has made awards of over $2.75 million to fourteen teams working to research, develop, and commercialize critical negative emissions technologies. Awardees in CDI’s inaugural program round will work to advance three technology areas:

  • CO2 capture technology innovation including direct air capture, direct ocean capture, CO2 capture from waste-to-energy, and innovative sorbent regeneration.
  • CO2-to-building materials innovation including carbon mineralization of waste, CO2 curing of concrete, and magnesium-based construction materials.
  • CO2-to-chemicals, fuels, and materials including electrochemical CO2 conversion to chemical and fuels, and materials that host both CO2 capture and conversion via tandem reactions.

CDI aims to support promising research initiatives and startups developing novel negative emissions approaches by capturing carbon dioxide and then using and storing it in novel ways. CDI’s granting and education programs will transform New York State into a hub for the carbontech industry by supporting researchers and entrepreneurs, facilitating technology transfer, commercializing innovation, and supporting New York State’s climate goals.

CDI’s inaugural cohort is comprised of fourteen teams advancing scientific and engineering innovation across a diverse range of negative emissions technologies. The cohort includes nine teams funded through CDI’s early-stage research programs (Carbontech Leap, New Directions, and Propel Carbontech). These teams are working on fundamental scientific research to advance breakthrough technologies across CDI’s technology areas. The cohort also includes five teams funded through CDI’s commercialization program (Bridge Carbontech). These teams are working on overcoming challenges to commercializing more advanced, lab proven technologies through advanced research, and pilot and demonstration projects. CDI’s inaugural cohort includes university-based researchers and innovative startup companies spanning a wide geographic range across New York, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Together, they explore a diverse array of novel technologies within CDI’s technology areas that support rapid advancement of key negative emissions strategies.

A full list of CDI funded projects in this round is available here.

Through a highly competitive process, CDI has strategically selected the first cohort to drive progress toward the program’s overall objectives: accelerating large-scale market transformation of the carbontech sector and positioning New York State as a thriving epicenter for carbontech innovation and adoption.  

CDI’s managing director, Erik Funkhouser, acknowledged the quality of the applicant pool, stating, “CDI benefitted from an exceptionally strong applicant pool, which the composition of awarded teams reflects. From our perspective, it’s essential that with every round of support we elevate up-and-coming teams and firms as well as new ways of thinking. We’re setting the bar now for what we expect to see in awardees over the coming decade.”

“The announcement of the Carbontech Development Initiative’s first cohort of awardees comes at an important moment as we develop more practical solutions to address the climate crisis,” said Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA. “Negative emissions technologies play a role in achieving the world’s climate goals. This milestone underscores the commitment by CDI’s team at Columbia towards delivering real-world impact. The initiative aligns with federal and global climate policies, such as the IRA, further amplifying our collective efforts to tackle climate change head-on and build a sustainable future for all.”

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “NYSERDA is proud to support the Carbontech Development Initiative’s pioneering work to catalyze innovative solutions that move us toward a more sustainable and resilient future. These first-round awardees are at the forefront of developing and commercializing critical carbon reducing technologies that further demonstrate the success of New York’s strong and rapidly growing green economy while helping us realize the State’s nation-leading climate goals.”

CDI’s teams will receive funding and other support through the program. Each team will receive between $50,000 to $375,000 of non-dilutive funding to pursue specific critical scientific or engineering breakthroughs and overcome technical or commercialization barriers. Teams also receive extensive commercialization training through CDI’s accelerator program, which will include comprehensive training in managerial, commercial, and entrepreneurial practices specific to carbontech, as well as broader climate science and policy instruction. The program includes customer support, mentorship, access to industry networks and financial partners, and aims to enhance the visibility of startups in industry and financial markets.

Fall 2023 Grant Solicitation

CDI’s second application recently closed on November 32023; CDI will announce awardees from the second round in early 2024. Interested candidates are encouraged to contact [email protected] for more information.

About CDI

Based out of the Center on Global Energy Policy, CDI is a first-of-its-kind, large-scale carbontech market transformation and grant-seeding commercialization hub. CDI connects a global ecosystem of academic, philanthropic, business, and government actors to fill related incubation, personnel, and financial gaps within the carbontech sector. CDI leverages Columbia University’s leadership in carbontech research for over 20 years, pioneering scientific concepts and leading the way in legal and policy initiatives. CDI’s grant-making program is currently supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), with the aim of transforming New York State into a hub for the carbontech industry.  To achieve this, CDI is providing support to researchers and entrepreneurs, facilitating the transfer of technology, and promoting the commercialization of new carbontech innovations.

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