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Three Regional Clean Energy Companies Graduate from Cleantech San Diego Business Accelerator

  |   Press Releases

Aquacycl, Kitu Systems, and Nuvve Complete Southern California Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN) Program

SCEIN Annual Showcase Event Being Held November 2


SAN DIEGO, CA, October 25, 2021 – Cleantech San Diego today announced the graduation of local clean energy companies Aquacycl, Kitu Systems, and Nuvve from its Southern California Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN).


SCEIN is an accelerator program for clean energy startups based in San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial counties that are developing technologies to help California meet its clean energy goals. The program offers free business services through a consortium of regional partner organizations to help energy entrepreneurs successfully bring their innovations to market.


Since entering SCEIN in 2017/2018, Aquacycl, Kitu Systems, and Nuvve have secured multiple customers, built robust sales pipelines, and raised sufficient capital to support the scaling of their breakthrough energy businesses. A company graduates from SCEIN when it is mutually agreed that they have utilized the full range of resources and referrals made available to them. Seven regional clean energy companies have now graduated after receiving customized business service plans from the program.


“Cleantech San Diego’s SCEIN incubator is pleased to have been able to provide services and support that has enabled all three of these exceptional companies to accelerate their commercial traction,” said Marty Turock, Executive Director of SCEIN. “Their successes enable their customers to reduce energy usage, costs, and carbon emissions while creating new jobs.”


Cleantech San Diego launched the SCEIN program in 2016 after winning a grant from the California Energy Commission. Over the program’s first five years of operation, SCEIN member companies have commercialized innovative technologies that are accelerating market transformation in transportation electrification, grid and building decarbonization, energy efficiency, and resiliency. In June 2021, the California Energy Commission approved follow-on funding for SCEIN to continue supporting energy entrepreneurs for another five years.


“The Southern California Energy Innovation Network is not only helping the next wave of energy entrepreneurs bring their technologies to market, but it is ensuring the greater San Diego region – including the Imperial Valley and the Inland Empire – and the state of California remain competitive in the clean technology and renewable energy sectors,” said Cleantech San Diego President and CEO Jason Anderson.


To date, 58 companies have been served by SCEIN, 38 of which are currently active in the program. Together, these startups employ 362 people, have had 162 patents approved, and have raised more than $223 million in private and public investment since being accepted into the program. 76 percent of SCEIN companies have C-Suite diversity.


About the Graduates:


Aquacycl offers the only modular and scalable technology capable of producing direct electricity (no methane) and recycled water from wastewater and sludge. Their technology and services generate a 20-60 percent reduction in overall operating costs for food and beverage industry applications. Aquacycl has completed successful commercial deployments and built a sales pipeline with global leaders in the food and beverage industry. Most recently, Aquacycl expanded their market opportunity by demonstrating capacity for removing hydrocarbons from wastewater generated during the storage of oil and gas products at ports around the globe. This technology demonstration led one of the largest tank terminal operators in the world to lead Aquacycl’s Series A capital raise.


Aquacycl CEO Orianna Bretschger, who recently won the 2021 Cartier Women’s Initiative Science and Technology Pioneer laureate award, has led the company’s strategic and profitable growth.


“The Southern California Energy Innovation Network has been a critical resource for our business,” said Bretschger. “The SCEIN management team, mentors, service providers, learning opportunities, and investor connections have been pivotal in helping our company grow. The resources and introductions provided by SCEIN have helped Aquacycl meet funding goals, build our team, and better leverage and expand our network.”


Kitu Systems provides a comprehensive portfolio of device embedded software, cloud services, and on-premises enterprise solutions that enable a leap forward in the interconnection of customer-owned solar photovoltaics (PV), battery storage, electric vehicles, and other distributed energy resources (DERs) to utilities. By enabling aggregation, communication, and coordination of these assets, the Kitu Grid Action PlatformTM provides the foundation for new energy networks that are intelligent, secure, resilient, adaptive, efficient, and scalable.


A pioneer and leader in the development of the IEEE 2030.5 standard, Kitu Systems has successfully deployed and scaled smart inverter nodes that comply with California Rule 21 in both solar and energy storage applications and successfully adapted the standard to work with EV charging infrastructure under Southern California Edison’s Charge Ready program, demonstrating their solution’s value to utilities. Concurrently, Kitu Systems has established distribution agreements with electric vehicle supply equipment manufacturers to enable future vehicle-to-grid applications.


Rick Kornfeld, Kitu’s founder and CEO, noted that the SCEIN program has been integral to the growth of his business. “The connections provided by the program and the synergies developed in working with the SCEIN team and other incubated companies have been invaluable in growing our footprint with customers and increasing our visibility with partners internationally.” 


Nuvve has successful deployments on five continents and is the global leader in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology that enables EV batteries to charge, store, and then discharge unused energy back to the electric grid in a bidirectional manner. V2G also helps integrate renewable energy into the grid in a more predictable way and can generate revenue by providing grid services where applicable that help stabilize the grid and prevent blackouts. 2021 has been a breakthrough year for Nuvve. After completing a SPAC merger with Newborn Acquisition Corporation, Nuvve raised net proceeds of $62 million from the business combination and PIPE offering on the Nasdaq exchange. On August 4, 2021, Nuvve completed the formation of Levo Mobility LLC (Levo), a sustainable infrastructure joint venture with Stonepeak Partners LP that will provide up to $750 million to fund transactions with electric fleets that will utilize their V2G technology. Levo’s Fleet-as-a-Service (FaaS) offering is a turnkey solution to intelligently electrify fleets that includes EVs, charging infrastructure, energy management powered by Nuvve, and maintenance for a flat monthly fee and no upfront costs. This innovative business model removes the biggest capital barrier – the cost of purchasing new EVs.


Leveraging the FaaS model with strategic partnerships with Blue Bird Corporation and the Lion Electric Company, Nuvve is uniquely positioned to help transition their targeted beachhead market – estimated at over 480,000 diesel school buses across the United States – to electric. Nuvve CEO Gregory Poilasne’s vision of converting fleets of EVs into virtual power plants is now a reality that will proliferate even faster with anticipated federal infrastructure funding.


SCEIN applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Anyone interested in applying as an entrepreneur, becoming a mentor, joining the Technical Advisory Committee, or hosting a pilot demonstration project, can learn more at cleantechsandiego.org/scein.


Southern California Energy Innovation Network Annual Showcase Event:

Cleantech San Diego is hosting its Southern California Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN) Annual Showcase event on November 2, 2021, from 9:00 – 11:00 am. This free, virtual, public event will feature presentations from nine later-stage clean energy startups currently engaged in the SCEIN program. The showcase is designed to raise the visibility of these companies with VCs, investors, strategic partners, and the broader cleantech community. To learn more and register, visit cleantechsandiego.org/event/sceinshowcase2021.


Media Contact:
Shannon Bresnahan, Cleantech San Diego, 858-568-7777, shannonb@cleantechsandiego.org



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