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MEI2 Awards $5K to Local Start-Up at 2018 Clean Energy Summit

Greg Hitz, CTO of Ion Storage receives prize
Greg Hitz, CTO of Ion Storage receives prize

The Maryland Clean Energy Center held their annual summit on October 8-10, 2018. This year’s summit entitled “Gearing Up for the Future” focused on energy innovation to advance grid efficiency, resiliency and security. Industry experts, policy makers, regulators, utility representatives and business leaders came together for three days of panels and roundtable discussions on topics including renewables and distributed generation, advanced energy storage, market opportunities and finance and investment.

An Innovation Showcase was held on the last conference day and featured fast pitch presentations by entrepreneurs and start-up companies. Six-minute pitches were reviewed in “Shark Tank” style by a panel of venture investors and potential funding organizations. The Maryland Energy Innovation Institute (MEI2) Investment Committe sponsored the showcase and donated the $5000 cash award. The Panelists judging the showcase included: 

  • Andy Jones - Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director of the Maryland Venture Fund
  • Brian Compagnone - President, Pitch Capital
  • John Ellis - Digitalization Portfolio Manager, Siemens Smart Infrastructure
  • Dave McCarthy - Executive Director, Potential Energy DC
  • David Wise, Director, USM Momentum Fund

Winning the Innovation Showcase was Ion Storage Systems, a local UMD start-up focusing on safe, high performance, solid-state battery technology.  Dr. Greg Hitz, Chief Technical Officer for Ion Storage Systems, accepted the award on behalf of the company. Said Hitz, "We are immensely honored to win this award, especially considering the other impressive start-ups in the competition. As a small start-up, every amount of financing and exposure to potential investors, partners, and customers can be vital to our success. We are deeply grateful to the Maryland Clean Energy Center, Maryland Energy Innovation Institute, and the other sponsors that created this opportunity."

During the pitch, Dr. Eric Wachsman, Founder and CEO of the company, discussed the competitive advantages of their technology, noting that their battery is the only one to currently achieve the Department of Energy’s fast charge goal. The outside field-testing done to date impressed panelists who also inquired how the showcase funding would be utilized. The company is looking for manufacturing assistance to help with mass production and scale up of the product. Potential markets for their battery include the aerospace and defense industries, consumer electronics and ultimately electric vehicles.

October 18, 2018


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