Feature - TEN alum Ecolectro secures $1.7M ARPA-E award

A clean tech alumnus of The Entrepreneurs Network, Ecolectro Inc., a developer of low-cost, high-performance polymers for electrochemical applications, secured $1.7 million from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E.) The award funds continued development of Ecolectro’s alkaline exchange polymers, used to fabricate membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) in hydrogen fuel cells and in electrolyzers used for hydrogen production. Ecolectro’s polymers avoid the use of high-cost platinum group metals, a feature that significantly lowers the cost of hydrogen fuel cells and electrolyzers. The polymer membranes have unmatched chemical stability, high conductivity and are mechanically robust and provide a simple and durable route to clean renewable electricity and hydrogen production.

“TEN allowed me to transfer our scientific breakthroughs into the language of business,” said Gabriel Rodriguez-Calero, Founder/CEO. “Customers enabled by Ecolectro’s technology can manufacture fuel cells and electrolyzers at an estimated half the cost and three times the durability of current state-of-the-art systems. Communicating a clear value proposition to the right people has helped our company chart a path for business development and sales with both small and large companies.”

Ecolectro exemplifies COMIDA’s concierge approach to economic development, which is critical to stimulate development of high-potential, high-impact clean energy technologies in New York State, and their commercialization in the global market. Ecolectro joined TEN after completing NEXUS-NY, a proof of concept program managed by NextCorps. TEN introduced Ecolectro to RIT Venture Creations, a NYSERDA clean energy incubator, allowing the company to access resources for protype development. Ecolectro is currently a client of Cornell University’s McGovern Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences and has received support from the National Science Foundation and NYSERDA.