The Clean Tech Seed Grant Program provides grants for R&D activities to very early-stage, New Jersey-based clean technology companies. Specifically, the program will fund projects that are developing or testing clean technologies intended to recapture or avoid emissions of greenhouse gases and/or criteria pollutants, or to enable such avoidance or recapture. The following technology areas are eligible under the program: Chemicals/Advance Materials, Energy Distribution/Storage, Energy Efficiency, Energy Generation, Green Buildings, Transportation, Waste Processing, and Water and Agriculture.
“New Jersey is ripe with young, innovative companies that have the potential to upend the current global clean technology marketplace,” said CSIT Chairman Gunjan Doshi. “The Clean Tech Seed Grant Program we’re launching soon will help these startups continue their critical R&D as they work toward commercialization.”
Doshi noted that CSIT will host an informational webinar on the Clean Tech Seed Grant Program on January 20, 2021. Registration information can be found on the CSIT webpage. A recorded version of the webinar and copy of materials presented will be made available on the CSIT webpage following the event. Please note that applications can be submitted starting on February 8, 2021.
The application will be open until April 5, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. or until the program receives 50 completed applications, whichever comes first. Qualified applicants can receive up to $75,000 in grants through the Clean Tech Seed Grant Program and the total funding for this initial pilot program is $750,000. The funding is being provided through NJBPU’s Clean Energy Program.
“Creating opportunities for startups to flourish in the clean technology sector will have a long-lasting impact on the state’s clean energy economy and critical environmental infrastructure,” said NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “By investing in early-stage companies through this program, we are investing in the sustainability of our environment and our state’s clean energy future.”
All applicants for the Clean Tech Seed Grant Program should be between a minimum technology development level of Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 (analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept) and maximum of TRL 7 (Full-scale, similar (prototypical) system demonstrated in relevant environment), based on the Department of Energy definitions. Applicants should use the tool included in the Technical Proposal attachment on the application portal to determine TRL score.
Additional eligibility criteria require that applicants:
- Be authorized and in good standing to conduct business in New Jersey as evidenced by New Jersey business registration and current New Jersey tax clearance certificate;
- Have a minimum of one full-time employee (working 35 hrs. per week);
- Have 50 percent or more of the work of its employees and contractors conducted in NJ (calculated on a full-time equivalent basis – 35 hours per week);
- Have 50 percent or more of employees/contractors live or pay withholding taxes in NJ;
- Have less than one million dollars ($1,000,000) in prior third-party funding over its lifetime (excluding government grants);
- Have less than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) in previous calendar year sales revenue.
Applications from businesses located in an Opportunity Zone-eligible census tract, minority- or woman-owned businesses or businesses with technology coming out of New Jersey universities are all eligible for bonus points with respect to the scoring criteria.
“The Clean Tech Seed Grant Program sits at the intersection of two of Governor Murphy’s key priorities – reclaiming New Jersey’s role as a leader in innovation and reducing the Garden State’s dependence on fossil fuels.” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “When startups succeed, they create jobs and fuel our economy. In this case, there is the added element of bolstering the state’s crucial clean technology sector.”
In January 2020, Governor Murphy unveiled the state’s Energy Master Plan, which outlines key strategies to reach the Administration’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050. In May 2018, Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 28 directed the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, in partnership with other state agencies, to develop this statewide clean energy plan and shift away from energy production that contributes to climate change. The Energy Master Plan laid out ways to fuel the clean technology economy through workforce training, investments in developing clean energy knowledge, and the growth of world-class R&D.
In August 2018, Governor Murphy signed legislation re-establishing the former New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology as the CSIT. Comprised of representatives from the public and private sectors, as well as academia, the Commission is tasked with leading the way in promoting the state as a home for academic and technological research, development, and commercialization.