Entrepreneurs from six startup companies around the United States and the world will showcase innovative solutions for a smarter and more sustainable energy future in St. Louis.
It's all part of the culmination of the 2019 Ameren Accelerator program, an innovative public-private partnership between Ameren Corp., the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators. The Ameren Accelerator mentors and invests in energy-technology startup companies – with a goal of helping Ameren meet the future energy needs of its customers in Missouri and Illinois.
This year's program focused on the theme of "Smart Cities – Connected Communities" in building a more resilient, cleaner and sustainable energy environment. The six participating companies worked to develop technologies that enable businesses, consumers and municipalities to make smarter decisions and improve the quality of life for communities. Those technologies include longer lasting lithium batteries, industrial engines with lower carbon emissions and technology that will help people in developing nations control their power sources.
"Our customers are looking for reliable, clean and affordable energy," said Warner Baxter, chairman, president and CEO, Ameren Corp. "The six Accelerator companies have developed promising ideas for a sustainable energy future. Through the Ameren Accelerator, we are fostering the development of these companies and their ideas."
The participating companies – from the United States and England – are Allumina, ClearFlame, Eden GeoTech, HeXalayer, Ovon Tech and Shfyt Power Solutions. As part of Demo Day, the companies will present their efforts to potential customers, investors, corporate executives and the general public.
Notable achievements to be showcased include:
- Allumia (Seattle, Wash.) makes it possible to provide funded energy efficiency upgrades to commercial and industrial buildings in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner.
- ClearFlame (Chicago) is developing an alternatively-fueled, drop-in-ready engine for the heavy-duty market, which includes marine, agriculture, transportation, power generation, rail and construction applications.
- Eden GeoTech (Somerville, Mass.) is developing a water-less and injection-free reservoir stimulation technology, which uses electric energy to change the petro-physical properties of rock formation, create micro-fractures and increase permeability.
- HeXalayer (Louisville, Ky.) is developing a new generation of high-capacity lithium-ion battery technology using innovative carbon material called ML Graphene. The nanomaterials-based technology significantly improves the capacity of energy storage and has been specifically tested for rechargeable batteries.
- Ovon Tech (Manchester, England) developed the Smart Radiator Valve with distributed temperature acquisition and thermoelectric energy recovery systems.
- Shyft Power Solutions (Oakland, Calif.) enables homes, businesses and energy companies to remotely monitor, manage and control their power sources from mobile or web applications.
The Ameren Accelerator is now in its third year. In 2019, more than 430 startups from around the world applied to the program. At least one of the companies in the current cohort has committed to maintaining a St. Louis presence by opening an office and hiring staff, locally. Members of the first two cohorts have created more than 100 new jobs since completing the program, many in the St. Louis area.
"The results of the Ameren Accelerator have exceeded our expectations. We have seen a 66 percent year-over-year increase in the quantity of applicants to the program and the quality continues to increase as well," said Judy Sindecuse, CEO and managing partner, Capital Innovators." We believe this is due to the unique engagement model we've developed that provides startups unparalleled access to Ameren employees to help them guide their solutions, which has driven economic development for our region by helping companies scale faster."
Each Accelerator participant receives $100,000 in seed capital and works alongside Ameren leaders and Accelerator partners to develop new energy technologies that will make the energy grid smarter, more reliable, resilient and secure. The companies were paired with an UMSL Accelerate intern and based out of UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators' co-working space in Cortex Innovation Community, a 200-acre innovation and technology district in St. Louis.
"We want the University Missouri System to be the first choice for entrepreneurial-minded students," said Dan Lauer, founding executive director, UMSL Accelerate. "With Ameren's leadership and investment in the program, we have been able to grow capabilities and provide students experiences that foster innovation and entrepreneurship."