News Release: Proving Their Resilience, Five Cleantech Innovators Receive Awards at 2021 NREL Industry Growth Forum

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

April 22, 2021 | Contact media relations

A screenshot of eight people on an online meeting platform
The NREL Industry Growth Forum announced the winners of its 2021 pitch competition on Thursday.

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recognized five top cleantech innovators as it wrapped up the 26th year of its NREL Industry Growth Forum (IGF). This year’s IGF was the second all-virtual event and was a celebration of the enduring strength of cleantech innovators and the ecosystem that supports them.

The winners were selected from a field of 40 companies that pitched their innovations to a panel of judges made up of investors. Earlier this year, those companies had been selected from a field of 154 companies that had applied to present.

“Every year, I’m amazed by the startups, investors, and industry experts that attend the IGF,” said NREL Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center Director Richard Adams. “But this year I’m particularly impressed and gratified that the cleantech ecosystem is stronger than ever. These startups—the winners and all that attended—are resilient; they survived a very difficult year.”

Global Solutions

The Industry Growth Forum, held April 20–22, 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.

“We were thrilled with the participation in IGF this year,” said IGF Project Manager Sheila Ebbitt. “We had more than 500 attendees for our three-day virtual event, and it was a truly international contingent. The climate challenges are global; it makes sense that the solutions will come from around the world.”

This year’s award winners:

Full Harvest Technologies, based in San Francisco, California, received both the IGF 2021 Best Venture award and the Growth Stage Outstanding Venture award for its online marketplace for imperfect and surplus produce that connects farmers with food and beverage manufacturers.

Mosaic Materials, based in Alameda, California, won the Early Stage Outstanding Venture award for its adsorbent materials designed to selectively capture CO2 in applications ranging from life support to direct air capture.

EnPower, based in Phoenix, Arizona, won the Commercialization Stage Outstanding Venture award for its battery technology designed to deliver both long-range and extreme fast charging for electric vehicles.

Electro-Active Technologies, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, won the Emerging Markets Outstanding Venture award for its modular system designed to convert food waste and renewable electricity into affordable, renewable hydrogen.

Opus 12, based in Berkeley, California, won the IGF People’s Choice award for its flexible membrane electrode assembly and process designed to recycle CO2 into cost-competitive chemicals and fuels.

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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