News Release: Best in Show—Cleantech Innovators Announced at 2020 Virtual Industry Growth Forum

Three Entrepreneurs Awarded Top Honors at This Year’s Online Event

April 30, 2020 | Contact media relations

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recognized three top cleantech innovators as it wrapped up the 25th anniversary edition of the NREL Industry Growth Forum (IGF). This year’s IGF was an all-virtual event held at a time when innovation in all forms is a national priority.

The winners were selected from a field of 40 companies that pitched their cleantech innovations to a panel of judges made up of investors and industry experts. Earlier this year, those companies had been selected from a field of more than 150 companies that had applied to present.

“The companies awarded today and all who presented this year are creating clean and sustainable technologies at a very challenging time,” said NREL Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center Director Richard Adams. “In addition to their brilliant technologies, we are compelled to recognize their spirit and dedication. Now, more than ever, innovation is required.”

Online and On Point

The Industry Growth Forum, held April 29-30, annually convenes cleantech entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts to build relationships, showcase innovative technologies, and explore disruptive business solutions. In addition to the cleantech innovation pitch competition, it features one-on-one meetings between entrepreneurs and investors. This year’s IGF pivoted to an online format and brought along an ecosystem of support.

“We were very pleasantly surprised,” said IGF Project Manager Sheila Ebbitt. “We had more than 500 attendees for our two-day virtual event including entrepreneurs, investors, sponsors, and industry experts. The cleantech ecosystem is pulling together, and this was a strong show of support.”

This year’s award winners:

Ladera Tech received the 2020 Best Venture Award. The Englewood, Colorado, company has developed environmentally friendly and long-lasting fire prevention products that can replace existing foams, gels, and other hazardous fire retardants.

cove.tool, based in Atlanta, won an Outstanding Venture Award for its machine learning technology that improves data analyses with every run and ultimately allows architects, engineers, contractors, and developers to make buildings more energy efficient while reducing costs.

Locus Agricultural Solutions, headquartered in Solon, Ohio, won an Outstanding Venture Award for its probiotics and delivery system that boost agricultural yields and carbon sequestration while reducing costs and environmental impacts.

For a list of participating companies and sponsors, and for more information on the Industry Growth Forum, visit us online at

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

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