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Ithaca firm secures funding, Montreal business wins grand prize in 76West clean-energy competition

By Eric Reinhardt (


An Ithaca firm is among four companies securing funding in Monday’s award announcement in the 76West clean-energy competition.

A company from the Montreal, Quebec area captured the $1 million grand prize in this year’s contest, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a Monday news release.

Finalists are required to move business operations to the area or establish direct connections with the Southern Tier economy, such as enhancing supply-chain opportunities; adding jobs; or establishing other strategic relationships, the state said.

Competition finalists also receive continued mentoring support for up to two years after the awards are made. If a company is already in the Southern Tier, it must “commit to substantially growing” the business and employment in the region.

The winners, along with 19 semifinalists, were paired with regional companies for mentorship and advisement as part of advancing through the competition. The semifinalists, selected from over 183 applicants worldwide, presented final project pitches of the competition to a panel of judges in August and were selected based on how their technology reduces carbon emissions, promotes renewable energy or energy efficiency.

2020 76West grand prize winner

 The $1 million grand prize winner — ThermoAI of Montreal, Quebec — is utilizing artificial intelligence and its software helps industrial companies optimize combustion operations with the goal of decreasing greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 50 percent and increasing efficiency by up to 20 percent.

$500,000 winners

Combplex of Ithaca is one of the three companies winning a $500,000 funding award. The firm works to create a “more resilient” farming ecosystem by eliminating pests that threaten the health of honeybee hives. The firm uses low-power laser technology and sensors to collect data, prioritize hive health, inform crop-yield forecasts, and identify intensive pesticide use, as a described in Cuomo’s release.

COI Energy Services of New York City offers an end-to-end product that helps utilities and businesses improve building-energy performance and grid optimization. The company has software that helps reduce grid constraints and improve capacity utilization while decreasing energy spending and increasing operational efficiency, the state said.

AGreatE of Carlsbad, California makes renewable energy, such as solar and wind, “more affordable and accessible to all people by developing and deploying a wide range of artificial intelligence-enabled, safe, and environmentally friendly battery-based energy storage systems.”


Visual credit: NYSERDA website

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