Manta Biofuel Wins $1,000 prize from Maryland Department of Commerce at Maryland Energy Innovation Accelerator Pitch Event
Owings Mills-based Manta Biofuel was named the Grand Prize winner of the pitch competition during the Maryland Energy Innovation Accelerator (MEIA) 2021 Pitch Competition Finale, held on June 16. The virtual event was the culmination of months of work by teams participating in MEIA’s accelerator programs. Four Startup Teams pitched their innovative clean energy product or service to a panel of judges from Exelon, The Engine, and Third Derivative. Manta Biofuel was awarded a $1,000 Grand Prize sponsored by the Maryland Department of Commerce. Additionally, each audience member was asked to select one company to receive a hypothetical investment, and Manta Biofuel and College Park-based InventWood shared the audience choice award for “Most Investible Startup.”
“Manta Biofuel is extremely excited to be named the winner of MEIA’s 2021 Finale. This award builds on the momentum we’ve seen with our recent crowdfunding campaign, and we are humbled to receive such strong validation from the judges. We can’t wait to get this technology to market as fast as we can,” said Andrew Wills, Director of Finance for Manta Biofuel, who also gave the pitch at the event.
Manta Biofuel is revolutionizing the $2 trillion oil market through a novel algae biofuel production process. The company’s patented magnetic separator and low-cost hydrothermal liquefaction reactor technologies allow them to produce a renewable, cost-competitive crude oil replacement. Combined with their simple rice paddy-based grow system, Manta envisions partnering with farmers to help them grow algae on their own land. This system represents a dramatic departure from mainstream biofuel production systems, which are heavily reliant on expensive and complex equipment such as photobioreactors, raceways, and centrifuges.
Other teams presenting included AquaLith, HighT-Tech, and InventWood. AquaLith is commercializing the work of University of Maryland Professor Chunsheng Wang to develop an ultra-high energy cathode, a novel silicon anode, and an aqueous electrolyte. HighT-Tech has developed an ultra-high temperature catalyst manufacturing technology to create high entropy alloys that will reduce the environmental impacts of some very large industrial processes. InventWood is an innovator of advanced wood materials that offer better performance, lower costs, and greater environmental sustainability over commonly used alternatives.
“Congratulations to AquaLith, HighT-Tech, InventWood, and Manta Biofuel, who made wonderful presentations,” said Brian Toll, Director of MEIA. “With the support of our program sponsors, we have worked diligently to accelerate the development of these clean energy businesses. Today is a glimpse of the potentially ground-breaking work taking place in Maryland.”
MEIA is a venture development program that focuses on the commercialization of advanced energy technology developed in Maryland-based businesses, universities and laboratories. MEIA takes an ecosystem-based approach to innovation by surrounding Startup Teams with the people, services, and connections they need to form and accelerate a Maryland-based clean energy and climate technology business. MEIA wants to thank its sponsors Exelon, Maryland Energy Innovation Institute, Banner Witcoff, Clark Hill, Paley Rothman, Points North Studio, Snyder Cohn, and Whiteford Taylor Preston for providing both financial and in-kind support to MEIA and to Startup Teams. MEIA is an initiative of the Maryland Clean Energy Center. The program welcomed its inaugural cohort in January of 2020.
MEIA is currently accepting applications for inventors and newly formed companies, and for business executives who want to become energy executives in residence. To learn more about MEIA and participation opportunities, please visit: www.mdeia.org.
The Maryland Energy Innovation Accelerator, a project of the Maryland Clean Energy Center, facilitates early-stage technology commercialization in partnership with Maryland-based businesses, universities and labs to support Maryland’s Clean Energy and Climate Goals. MEIA’s mission is to create investible clean energy businesses in the State of Maryland. An investible business has the momentum and credibility to obtain third party investment to grow its operations and launch/grow its business.