Cyclotron Road Program Fellows and Alumni 2023 Milestones

February 15, 2024

Fellows and alumni of Cyclotron Road – a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)– achieved impactful business and technological milestones in 2023. These entrepreneurial scientists are leading businesses across sectors, including energy, agriculture, and manufacturing, as they bring solutions to market.

A close partnership between Berkeley Lab and the nonprofit Activate, Cyclotron Road empowers fellowship participants to take their innovation to impact by offering knowledge, resources, and connections. Each year, scientists and engineers with tremendous potential to be leaders in their fields enter into a two-year fellowship.

“Cyclotron Road participants possess a rare combination of exceptional technical skills, impact-oriented mindsets, and a commitment to solving commercially relevant problems,” said Todd Pray, chief strategic partnerships officer at Berkeley Lab. “We applaud their achievements in the year gone by, and are also deeply grateful for the contributions of program leaders like Melanie Sonsteng who continuously support the fellows with resources and connections.”

In 2023, companies led by Cyclotron Road participants made noteworthy advancements, secured funding, welcomed new partners, customers, and employees, as well as earned accolades from industry and media. Here are some of the highlights.

New Advancements, Products, and Facilities in 2023

Cyclotron Road participants and alumni are working to solve some of the most pressing challenges in health, sustainability, energy, and manufacturing through the development of new technologies and materials. In just one year, they’ve achieved milestones in scientific advancements, product innovation, new facilities and more:

  • polySpectra launched their rugged resin for desktop 3D printers, their first healthcare-focused 3D printing material, and the availability of their 3D printing products via Digi-Key Electronics.
  • Tierra Biosciences announced the launch of new features in its protein synthesis offerings.
  • Aepnus Technology published an article in Nature about how to make lithium extraction cleaner, faster, and cheaper.
  • Umaro Foods introduced black pepper bacon made from seaweed at the National Restaurant Association show.
  • Resonant Link unveiled a 15-minute wireless charger for implantable medical devices including titanium-can implants.
  • Aligned Carbon announced an advancement in optical purification that produces semiconducting, aligned carbon nanotubes on wafers with a purity level exceeding 99.5%.
  • Cuberg announced its aviation batteries can double effective flight ranges compared with lithium-ion batteries.
  • HOPO Therapeutics began recruitment for phase one clinical trials of its drug candidate HOPO 14-1 for treatment of heavy metal exposure.
  • Twelve began construction of its first commercial-scale plant in the U.S. for producing E-Jet® (sustainable aviation fuel) using renewable electricity, water, and CO2.
  • Brimstone achieved ASTM C150 certification for its decarbonized portland cement.
  • CinderBio launched sales of new enzyme products for proteomics and published two peer-reviewed research papers on the advantages of CinderBio enzymes for proteomics and biofilm removal.
  • Fervo Energy confirmed record production of 24/7 carbon-free enhanced geothermal energy with well test results at its commercial pilot project, and Google announced that a Fervo geothermal project began powering their data centers in Nevada.
  • MicroByre shared news of the expansion of their research capabilities with the addition of 2-liter bioreactors to distinguish how organisms behave in larger tanks.
  • ReSource Chemical Corp. began offering samples of its polymer-grade furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) – sourced from CO2 and inedible biomass – for third-party testing.
  • Mallinda launched an online shop for samples of its vitrimers designed for recyclability.
  • Sepion Technologies opened one of the largest separator coating facilities for lithium-metal batteries in North America.
  • METAseismic has successfully certified its novel compact and lightweight vibration protection material for data center applications.
  • Pheronym took a step toward scaling-up nematode pheromone manufacturing with its first 10L fermentation in a bioreactor.
  • Antora Energy launched a full-scale thermal battery system at Wellhead Electric Company, Inc.'s facility near Fresno, Calif. along with a new ultra-high-temperature record, and announced its first large-scale manufacturing facility in San Jose, Calif. with production starting in 2024.
  • Nitricity commissioned a new climate-smart nitrogen fertilizer pilot system in Fremont, Calif.
  • Liminal launched a demonstration of its EchoStat® ARRAY advanced cell manufacturing inspection solution.

New Public and Private Sector Funding

In early 2023, companies led by Cyclotron Road program fellowship participants surpassed $1 billion in follow-on funding since the program’s inception in 2015. Throughout 2023, alumni and current fellows secured new funding from both public and private sources to advance and accelerate the reach and impact of their innovations:

  • Noon Energy raised $28 million in Series A financing.
  • Liminal raised a $17.5 million Series A2 funding round.
  • Gradient closed a Series A follow-on round of funding of $9 million, bringing its total Series A funding to $27.5 million, and was selected for a $17.5 million grant under the Defense Production Act by the DOE to expand its heat pump technology.
  • Tyfast was awarded $2.8 million from the DOE for the Electric Vehicles for American Low-Carbon Living program to build a high-energy density, ultrafast-charging battery with a long cycle life.
  • Visolis raised an $8 Million seed round to make carbon-negative materials.
  • Tandem PV secured $6M in Series A financing to build a solar panel manufacturing facility.
  • Takachar was selected as one of several projects to receive a portion of a $2.35 million contribution from Klarna to the Climate Transformation Fund.
  • VERDE Nanomaterials received a $50,000 grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps program.
  • Pheronym won a $1 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the NSF to scale up commercial manufacturing of pest control without chemical pesticides.
  • Sonera secured $11 million seed funding and introduced its sensing technology to make neural data more accessible.
  • Tierra Biosciences raised $11.4M in Series A funding.
  • Calion Technologies and Westwood Aerogel each received $150,000 in CalSEED awards for early-stage clean energy innovations.
  • Inlyte Energy raised $8 million to develop grid batteries made with iron and table salt.
  • Antora Energy received a $4 million grant from the California Energy Commission to scale up its thermophotovoltaic technology.
  • ReSource Chemical was selected for a $1M NSF SBIR Phase II grant to advance production of its sustainably sourced monomer to the pilot scale.

These funding highlights are a cross-section of publicly announced investments and grants that demonstrate continued momentum and growth for the Cyclotron Road ecosystem.

New Partnerships, Customers, and Hiring

Throughout 2023, new partners, customer wins, and key hires punctuated the headlines for program alumni and participants. From joint development and field trials to full-scale production commitments, many companies gained business momentum through collaboration:

  • Twelve announced plans to scale its production of aviation fuel made from CO2 in Washington State to supply customers including Shopify, Alaska Airlines, and Microsoft.
  • polySpectra announced a partnership to bring its resins to Nexa3D printers.
  • Tandem PV appointed Scott Wharton as CEO.
  • Resonant Link announced several partnerships to power medical device advancements including with Cirtec Medical Corp., Lura Health, Resonetics, and Opto Biosystems.
  • Zanskar announced agreements with the Department of the Air Force and the Department of Defense to deploy geothermal energy technology at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, and the Army’s Fort Irwin in California.
  • Cuberg announced a collaboration with Safran to jointly develop energy storage systems for electric and hybrid aircraft, and hired its 200th employee (Dec).
  • CalWave joined the United Nations 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Compact.
  • MicroByre and the East Tennessee State University Research Corporation (ETSURC) announced a strategic partnership to create microbial-derived products via precision fermentation.
  • Nitricity announced that it had started field trials for their fertilizer product with Salinas Valley farmers, including Chipotle suppliers.

Accolades from Industry and Media

To round out a year full of newsworthy and noteworthy accomplishments, many companies led by Cyclotron Road program participants also earned awards from industry and media in 2023:

  • Resonant Link was named among the top 40 fastest growing companies on the 2023 Inc. 5000 Energy List.
  • Intropic Materials won the GreenBiz Group’s Accelerate award at Bloom23 and took second place at Verge23.
  • Pheronym and Aligned Carbon were named Hello Tomorrow Deep Tech Pioneer Companies.
  • BluumBio won the Yes San Francisco, Urban Sustainability Challenge.
  • Cypris Materials was named by C&EN as one of 10 Startups to Watch, and FLO Materials was named as a C&EN Start-up on the Rise.
  • Elmworks, Fervo Energy, and Twelve were among 10 climate tech innovations named by Fast Company as giving us hope for 2024.
  • Twelve was also listed as a 2023 climate tech company to watch by MIT Technology Review.
  • listed Twelve, Fervo Energy, and Antora Energy on its Impact 100 list.
  • Antora Energy was also named one of Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas as well as one of the TIME Best Inventions of 2023.
  • Brimstone Energy was also named among the TIME Best Inventions of 2023, as well as one of the 50 greatest innovations of 2023 according to PopSci, and CEO Cody Finke was named one of the Grist Fixers of 2023.

Congratulations to all of the companies for what they achieved in 2023!

The DOE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) and the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) are the founding and anchor sponsors of the program. Other partners supporting the program include the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) with the State of California, the California Energy Commission (CEC), the DOE Building Technologies Office (BTO), the DOE Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), the Federal Emergency Management Program (FEMP), The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Activate.


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