NJ earmarks $1.5M for clean tech R&D seed grants

Daniel J. Munoz//January 24, 2022

NJ earmarks $1.5M for clean tech R&D seed grants

Applications will be accepted through 5 p.m. March 21

Daniel J. Munoz//January 24, 2022

Clean energy startups considering New Jersey as their base of operations could get seed grants of up to $75,000 from a new pool of state funds focused on developing technology that would capture or reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

The state Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology announced Jan. 24 it is offering $1.5 million in awards after a previous round in November for life sciences and other drug research startups.

“We’re going to continue growing the innovation economy that will power our future and make us a model for the nation and the world,” Gov. Phil Murphy said during his second inaugural address last week. “Businesses in the clean energy industry that will literally fuel this revolution while fighting climate change.”

Applications opened Jan. 24 and will be accepted through 5 p.m. March 21, according to the CSIT announcement.

The awards will support research and development activities for “very early-stage, New Jersey-based clean technology companies,” so that they can cover the costs of proof-of-concept and prototypes to attract investors. In a previous round CSIT made $750,000 of grants to 10 companies in 2021.

Eligible startups include those seeking to develop technologies involving chemicals and advanced materials; energy distribution and storage; energy efficiency and generation; eco-friendly buildings; waste processing; transportation; and water and agriculture.

The program’s requirements are crafted to favor smaller New Jersey startups. For example, half of the employees must live or pay taxes in the state. And only companies with less than $2 million in total third party funding and less than $500,000 in sales revenue last year, can receive funding.

State officials have touted significant economic development efforts in attracting businesses that operate in the realms of manufacturing; transportation and logistics; film and digital media; life sciences such as drug development, diagnostics and medical devices; financial technology; and clean energy.

A variety of state incentive programs have been implemented to support those industries, from large companies employing thousands of workers to start-ups with just a handful of employees. The programs range from $1.1 billion in annual corporate tax breaks for big companies and real estate projects, to smaller programs like NJ Ignite, which offers grants of up to $25,000 to cover a startup’s rent at an incubator or collaborative workspace.