National consortium selects Cerion Energy for Technology Accelerator program
Former RIT startup company eyes fast track to commercializing diesel fuel additive
June 6, 2011
by Paul Stella
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A Rochester-based company with roots to Venture Creations, RIT’s business incubator, has been selected for a new program targeting middle-stage companies looking to move their innovations to the marketplace.
Cerion Energy is among three companies participating in the Technology Accelerator established by the Innovation and Materials Science Institute, a national consortium of leaders in government, business and academia. RIT is an IMSI member.
The Technology Accelerator will help in the formation of partnerships between emerging, materials-based technology companies and established businesses that possess the necessary assets and know-how to facilitate commercialization. As a result, technology entrepreneurs receive a straighter, faster, more efficient and economical pathway to develop their businesses—speeding their time to market.
“Many business owners will work for years to gain the knowledge and resources the IMSI Technology Accelerator can provide in a few months,” said Brad Kruchten, Eastman Kodak Co. senior vice president; president of Kodak’s Film, Photofinishing and Entertainment Group; and a founding IMSI board member.
Cerion Energy is working to ramp up production of a diesel fuel catalyst that cuts consumption, reduces costs and lowers emissions in the multi-billion dollar diesel fuel business.
“For two years we’ve been all about R&D,” said Matt Winslow, Cerion’s vice president of business development. “That’s the most compelling part of our story because our testing and validation processes are rooted in real science.”
Cerion’s relationship with the IMSI accelerator, which includes strategic partners Kodak and RIT, has significantly reduced startup costs. Without the assistance of IMSI, Winslow says the company would have needed to raise up to $10 million to build its own pilot-scale production capability as well as purchase its own laboratory equipment.
In addition, Cerion called on RIT’s Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies and the E. Philip Saunders College of Business for help in transitioning from a middle-stage company to a full-fledged business, ready to manufacture and bring its products to market.
“IMSI represents a very compelling vision,” said IMSI board member Nabil Nasr, assistant provost for academic affairs and director of RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability. “It is an initiative designed to advance the work of materials science technology companies, to forge public-private partnerships, and to encourage a new era of entrepreneurial investment and job growth.”
“As a group we want to think broadly, to spur advances that address the fundamental, game-changing issues across the globe, such as climate change, sustainability and the efficiency of energy technologies,” he said.
As part of its arrangement with the Technology Accelerator, Cerion Energy will occupy R&D and manufacturing space at Eastman Business Park in Rochester. IMSI expects to welcome an additional four to six companies into the program within the next 12 months.
In addition to Kodak and RIT, IMSI members include CG Innovation Partners, TechVision21, Novomer, the National Renewable Energy Lab and Stanford University.