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SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund awards $40K to companies to commercialize virus-related projects

By Eric Reinhardt (


The Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) is located at 727 E. Washington St. in Syracuse. SyracuseCoE has awarded a total of $40,000 to four partner companies through the second round of the SyracuseCoE 2020 Innovation Fund. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) has awarded a total of $40,000 to four partner companies through the second round of the SyracuseCoE 2020 Innovation Fund.

For this round, partners were invited to submit proposals in SyracuseCoE core-focus areas that directly address the COVID-19 pandemic for a chance at secure up to $10,000.

The goal is to “leverage the region’s great capabilities in indoor air quality to reduce disease transmission in the built environment,” SyracuseCoE said.

The Innovation Fund is funded by member companies of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program and aims to help companies advance product development and technological innovation.

A panel of members of the SyracuseCoE industry partners council, along with select SyracuseCoE staff and collaborators determine the award recipients. Eligibility for funding is open to all current members of the SyracuseCoE partner program.

Innovation Fund proposals must be submitted and led by partner-program members, but may include collaborations with academic partners or with firms outside of the partner program.

With the second round of the 2020 Innovation Fund awards distributed, SyracuseCoE has helped finance more than 49 projects by 30 companies, totaling over $527,000, the organization said.

SyracuseCoE provided a description of the funding recipients and their projects below.

Air Innovations

Air Innovations Inc. is enhancing its HEPAirX ventilating air purifier and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit to reduce disease transmission with negative pressure settings and UV-C light.

After a redesign, the firm will create marketing materials to address the needs of the dental market, per the SyracuseCoE release.

Air Innovations of Cicero is an affiliate partner that designs, tests, and manufactures environmental-control systems for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), custom HVAC projects, and unique environments. The firm works to reach “consistent” results in temperature control (low temperature and precision temp control), humidity control (desiccant to near saturation), and air filtration (HEPA to molecular).

M3 Innovation

M3 Innovation, LLC, co-located at the SyracuseCoE research facility, is developing a revolutionary platform for sports venues that will both provide efficient high-quality lighting and also use ultraviolet lighting to sterilize the facilities from bacteria and viruses (specifically COVID-19).

M3 Innovation is a startup partner comprised of founders and former engineers from Ephesus Lighting Inc., focused on developing lighting technology for the LED (light-emitting diode) sports lighting market.

Acumen Detection

Acumen Detection Inc. will use its funding to provide an rt-PCR machine; positive controls; and other reagents, and advice, guidance, and support for SyracuseCoE researchers developing a test for COVID-19 in room air.

This will allow schools, offices and other gathering places to detect if someone with COVID-19 has entered the space.

Acumen Detection is a startup partner — co-located at the SyracuseCoE research facility — that is working to help dairy producers across the globe monitor the environment and health of their herds by providing pathogen detection at the point of need–on the farm.

Acumen Detection joined the SyracuseCoE Partner Program in 2019 soon after its spin-off from SRC Inc.

Elizion Tech

Elizion Tech will develop medical grade, bio-based thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) for the manufacture of sustainable, biodegradable, and recyclable filtration materials.

Several sources will be assessed for their feasibility of processing into a source component for subsequent manufacturing of the antipathogenic filtration technology. Such materials can be useful in the production of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Elizion Tech, based in Toronto, Ontario, is developing an antipathogenic nanocoating, PPE, air filtration systems, high-contact surfaces, and other applications.

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