News Release: 6 Earn Top Awards at 2023 NREL Industry Growth Forum

Cleantech Entrepreneurs Network With Industry and Pitch Their Innovations to a Panel of Judges

May 3, 2023 | Contact media relations

A group of people standing on a stage with awards.
NREL Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center Director Trish Cozart (far left), stands with the 2023 NREL Industry Growth Forum winners awarded for their cleantech innovations. Shown from left after Cozart are Salient Predictions CEO Matt Stein, EvolOH Founder and CEO Jimmy Rohas, Summit Nanotech Manager of Corporate Strategy Drew Moxon, Vutility CEO and President Stephen Prince, Harvest Thermal Co-Founder and CEO Jane Melia, and UbiQD Founder and CEO Hunter McDaniel, as well as Bob O'Connor, partner at Wilson Sonsini and IGF presenter. Photo by Kira Vos

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) gave awards to six top cleantech innovators at the 2023 NREL Industry Growth Forum (IGF) on May 1–3, 2023.

In its 28th year and for the first time, the IGF completely sold out around two weeks before the event that provides a forum for cutting-edge technologies aiming to catapult the world forward with clean energy solutions.

A panel of investors judged the field of 40 companies that pitched their technologies during the event, with the winners receiving the highest scores. Earlier in 2023, a panel of more than 150 climate-tech investors selected the 40 innovators from 189 applicants.  

“Each year we see more incredible steps in technology, and the IGF is a front-row seat to the future of energy,” NREL Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center Director Trish Cozart said. “It’s exciting to watch investors and startup companies connect in person and plan for the future. Our theme of ‘Smarter, Faster, More Connected’ is everything this event provides. We must continue to accelerate and work together to bring essential technologies into the market."

The Industry Growth Forum is the premier cleantech event that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts to create powerful connections. The event allows them to forge new relationships, display cutting-edge technologies, and discover ways to bring cleantech to the market. In addition to the cleantech innovation pitch competition, the IGF hosted more than 2,300 one-on-one and ad hoc meetings between startups and investors. 

“This year truly inspired all of us,” IGF Project Manager Sheila Ebbitt said. “We completely sold out on registrations, bringing nearly 750 attendees from all over the world. This is a global event to make global change, working to transform our lives with clean energy innovations.”

This Year’s Award Winners

Best Venture Award—Overall

UbiQD leverages highly fluorescent quantum dots to optimize the spectrum of sunlight for crops grown in greenhouses. The company is located in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and is a member of the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) portfolio.

Outstanding Venture—Early Stage

Located in Menlo Park, California, EvolOH is developing a scalable electrolyzer system to split pure water into oxygen and hydrogen without the need for caustic liquid electrolytes.

Outstanding Venture—Commercialization Stage

Summit Nanotech
Based in Calgary, Canada, Summit Nanotech has a patented direct lithium-extraction technology that reduces production time and minimizes the use of reagents and fresh water.

Outstanding Venture—Growth Stage

Based in Sandy, Utah, Vutility has developed a wireless submetering solution to monitor energy use.

Outstanding Venture—Software

Salient Predictions
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Salient Predictions uses artificial intelligence to produce weather forecasts and analytics for adapting to a more volatile climate.

People’s Choice Award

Harvest Thermal
Based in Kensington, California, Harvest Thermal has developed a smart controller for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning and hot water systems.

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

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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