News Release: More Awards Given Out Than Ever Before at 2024 NREL Industry Growth Forum

Entrepreneurs Earned Top Awards After Presenting for Judges at This Year’s Event

May 3, 2024 | Contact media relations

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) gave awards to eight top cleantech innovators at the 2024 NREL Industry Growth Forum (IGF) on May 1–3, 2024, the most honors ever awarded during the annual event.

In its 29th year, with its theme of “Breaking Ground,” the IGF provided access to cutting-edge technologies, including a new Production Scale Pilots Stage category, to help move technology development and adoption forward and further the clean energy transformation. This was the second-straight year the event completely sold out.

A panel of judges made up of investors deliberated to identify the winners from a field of 40 companies that pitched their technologies during the event. Earlier in 2024, the IGF team selected 40 innovators from 211 applicants.

“It’s exciting look back at where we’ve come and see so many technologies be at a point where they are ready to scale and deploy,” said NREL Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center Director Trish Cozart. “Looking at what breaking ground really means and how tech adoption and market drivers impact startups is the next critical step for so many startups. Gathering at the IGF to discuss those opportunities and realities is critically important.”

The Industry Growth Forum is the premier cleantech event that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts so they can connect and forge new partnerships. The event allows them to share cutting-edge technologies, emerging resources, and models to bring cleantech to the market. In addition to the cleantech innovation pitch competition, the IGF hosted nearly 1,500one-on-one meetings between startups and investors and more than 1,600 additional ad-hoc meetings.

“Each year of the IGF is more inspiring than the last,” IEC Group Manager Katie Richardson said. “With nearly 900 attendees from all over the world, the people who gather here are working together to move the needle on climate technology adoption. The IGF deepens connections across the ecosystem to implement the innovations needed for a clean energy transition.”

This Year’s Award Winners:

Outstanding Venture—Early Stage

  • 1st place: Aryton Energy—Ayrton Energy is located in Alberta, Canada, and has a liquid organic hydrogen carrier technology that stores hydrogen safely as a liquid for easy transportation.
  • 2nd place: Otoro Energy—Out of Boulder, Colorado, Otoro Energy develops flow battery technology for grid resiliency and renewable energy, with a focus on the electric vehicle charging market. 

Outstanding Venture—Commercialization Stage

  • 1st place: Mitra Chem—Based in Mountain View, California, Mitra Chem is a lithium-ion battery cathode manufacturer that shortens the lab-to-production timeline by more than 90% by leveraging an in-house machine learning advantage.
  • 2nd place: Mycocycle—Mycocycle, based in Bolingbrook, Illinois, is decarbonizing the construction materials supply chain through a nature-inspired waste-to-value solution​.

Outstanding Venture—Growth Stage

  • 1st place: CleanFiber—Based in Buffalo, New York, CleanFiber makes high-performance, carbon-negative building insulation from recycled corrugated cardboard.

Outstanding Venture—Breaking Ground/Production Scale Pilots Stage

  • 1st place: Living Ink Technologies—Out of Berthoud, Colorado, Living Ink Technologies generates bioderived and carbon-negative black pigments from biomass waste for consumer brands.

Best Venture Award

  • Queens Carbon—Based in Pine Brook, New Jersey, Queens Carbon develops low-CO2 manufacturing technology to produce cementitious materials from industry-standard feedstocks at competitive costs. 

People’s Choice Award

  • Adena Power—From Lewis Center, Ohio, Adena Power provides energy storage using sodium batteries and domestically sourced raw materials. 

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.

Tags: Entrepreneurs