TechBridge: Impact

Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems


TechBridge addresses one of the most pervasive stumbling blocks for energy entrepreneurs: validating the potential of a new technology for future investors and partners. Using Fraunhofer resources, sponsor input, and a vast industry network, we give each team the customized mix of technical support and industry insight they need to prove out the potential of their innovation. This highly focused approach significantly accelerates the commercial entry of many early-stage technologies across a wide set of domains, from water treatment and smart grid control to manufacturing, photovoltaics, and beyond.

SunRISE TechBridge Challenge: Realizing Innovation in Solar Energy

Presented in partnership with DSM, a global, science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials which is building a young and fast growing business in solar, and Greentown Labs, the largest cleantech incubator in the United States, Fraunhofer TechBridge is seeking innovative solutions and new materials that will lower the levelized cost of energy for PV systems.

Selected teams are eligible to win one or more of the following awards: 1) Up to $100K in technical validation services from the world-renowned Fraunhofer R&D network; 2) Selection for Greentown Launch incubation and acceleration program at Greentown Labs, up to $130K value in in-kind tools, products, services; 3) Partnership and/or a project with DSM; and 4) Potential venture funding from DSM.

For a more detailed look at the SunRISE TechBridge Challenge, please click here.

TechBridge Challenge on Advanced Industrial Surfaces

Working in collaboration with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, Fraunhofer TechBridge is seeking advanced surface technologies—or technologies that enable the scalable, cost-effective deployment of advanced surfaces—to improve energy efficiency in the petroleum and chemical processing industries.

Selected startups and innovators will receive up to $100,000 in prototyping, demonstration, or validation services from the world-renowned Fraunhofer R&D network.

For a more detailed look at the TechBridge Challenge on Advanced Industrial Surfaces, please click here.

Industry-Sponsored Case Study: TechBridge Microgrid Challenge

Recognizing the enormous potential of microgids, we worked with Shell to build a program around microgrid innovations. We launched the Shell-sponsored TechBridge Microgrid Challenge, attracting 75 applications from innovators poised to disrupt microgrids and distributed generation.

After a rigorous selection process involving Fraunhofer industry and technical experts, the XTRLs, an early-stage microgrid controller developer, was selected for a customized, expert-led technical study designed to quantify the customer savings that would result from an industrial deployment of their technology.

For a more detailed look at the TechBridge Microgrid Challenge, please click here.

Government-Sponsored Case Study: Innovation Ecosystem Program

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the U.S. Dept. of Energy supported TechBridge to perform validation projects for clean energy startups in the Northeast U.S. as part of an effort to build innovative ecosystems for economic growth. Through the program, TechBridge helped grow the regional economy and get new products to market. For example, TechBridge has:

  • Validated First Fuel’s non-invasive building audit software using authentic utility-level consumption data along with National Grid.
  • Identified priority applications for NBD Nano’s super-hydrophobic coating and vetted its capabilities in industry relevant areas

For a more detailed look at the Innovation Ecosystem Program, please click here.

Startup Case Study: Ubiquitous Energy

The Company: Ubiquitous Energy
The Technology: Flexible, transparent, thin-film PV module
The TechBridge Study: Tested module on windows in 16 real climate settings according to advanced energy modeling techniques.
Follow-on Impact: Phase I and Phase II SBIR awards, $6.2M in series A funding.

Startup Case Study: Arctic Sand

The Company: Arctic Sand
The Technology: Super-efficient power converter chips for data centers and energy electronics.
The TechBridge Study: Optimized DC-DC converter prototype for solar cells, tested prototype stability with advanced thermal cycling.
Follow-on Impact:$9.6 million series A round from GE, NRG, ConocoPhilips, and Analog Devices founder Ray Stata.