The TechBridge Challenge

TechBridge Challenges

Carbon to Value Initiative


Launching the Carbontech Ecosystem 

Carbon technologies (“carbontech”) capture and convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into valuable end products or services. Carbontech represents the next major frontier in climate change solutions. Commercialization of these technologies will be critical to keep global warming below an average of 2° celsius and presents a six trillion-dollar market opportunity¹. The Carbon to Value (C2V) Initiative will unlock a new carbontech economy, bringing innovative solutions to scale as rapidly as possible through the creation of a robust, powerful, and collaborative new ecosystem.  

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Designed 2 Scale Challenge: Seeking Innovations and Technologies in 3rd Generation Biofuels Downstream Processing 

The Designed2Scale Challenge is seeking innovations, solutions and startup technologies that decrease energy and chemical intensity for 3rd generation biofuels, mainly the downstream processing components. This challenge is set up in partnership with ExxonMobil, aiding their technology team to integrate various solutions to minimize energy usage, and thereby CO2 footprint, through technological innovation in key energy intensive areas at scale. 


For more information or to apply please visit

H2 Refuel Accelerator                     

The H2 Refuel Accelerator seeks innovative technologies and business models to enhance the adoption of hydrogen infrastructure and vehicles through cost reduction, reliability and new capabilities. H2 Refuel is led by Fraunhofer TechBridgeGreentown Labs and Urban Future Labs, sponsored by Shell and Toyota, and supported by NYSERDA.

Seven early-stage companies (Celadyne - Austin, TX; Ecolectro - Ithaca, NY; Electro-Active Technologies - Knoxville, TN; HYGEN - Riga, Latvia; pH Matter - Columbus, OH; Protium Innovations - Pullman, WA; Skyre - East Hartford, CT) were selected as winners. The awards include Greentown Labs and Urban Future Lab's acceleration programs and technical validation services from the Fraunhofer R&D network. Please see the press release of the award here.

For more information, please visit the Accelerator's website

SunRISE TechBridge Challenge II: Realizing Innovation in Solar Energy  

Based on the success of the first SunRISE TechBridge Challenge, the SunRISE TechBridge Challenge II sought further innovative solutions to reduce the Levelized Cost Of Energy (LCOE) for photovoltaic (PV) systems. The specific areas of interest included: 1) Novel PV cell and module materials; 2) Data analytics software and/or advanced sensors; and 3) Retrofit technologies that boost solar PV output/reduce O&M costs.

The winners of the SunRISE II Challenge were four early-stage companies: Leading Edge Crystal Technologies (Cambridge, MA), NOMADD Desert Solar Solutions (Saudi Arabia), SunDensity (Boston, MA), and SunSniffer (Germany). Please see the press release of the award here.

For a more detailed look at the SunRISE TechBridge Challenge, please click here.

SunRISE TechBridge Challenge: Realizing Innovation in Solar Energy  

Presented in partnership with DSM, a global, science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials which is building a young and fast growing business in solar, and Greentown Labs, the largest cleantech incubator in the United States, Fraunhofer TechBridge sought innovative solutions and new materials that would lower the levelized cost of energy for PV systems.

Five early-stage companies (ARL-D - Manhattan, NY; HEE Solar - Dallas, TX; QD Solar - Toronto, Canada; Tessolar - Cambridge, MA; and WattGlass Inc. - Fayetteville, AR) were selected as winners to receive awards for a 6-month structured acceleration program at Greentown Labs and technical validation services from Fraunhofer CSE, culminating in venturing investments by DSM in 2 awardees – QD Solar and WattGlass – and several ongoing collaborations with DSM. Please see the press release of the award here.

For a more detailed look at the SunRISE TechBridge Challenge, please click here.

TechBridge Challenge on Advanced Industrial Surfaces  

Working in collaboration with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, Fraunhofer TechBridge sought advanced surface technologies—or technologies that enabled the scalable, cost-effective deployment of advanced surfaces—to improve energy efficiency in the petroleum and chemical processing industries.

DropWise Technologies Corp. was selected as the winner of this challenge, and will receive up to $100,000 in prototyping, demonstration, or validation services from the world-renowned Fraunhofer R&D network.

Dropwise is commercializing a breakthrough coating technology, including advanced durable materials and unique vapor-based deposition processes developed in collaboration between two leading MIT labs, to solve problems of fouling and corrosion in heat exchange equipment. By applying its innovative ultra-thin and durable coating solutions, DropWise serves markets that were previously inaccessible by conventional coating technologies. Please see the press release of the award here.

For a more detailed look at the TechBridge Challenge on Advanced Industrial Surfaces, please click here.

Industry-Sponsored Case Study: TechBridge Microgrid Challenge  

Recognizing the enormous potential of microgids, we worked with Shell to build a program around microgrid innovations. We launched the Shell-sponsored TechBridge Microgrid Challenge, attracting 75 applications from innovators poised to disrupt microgrids and distributed generation.

After a rigorous selection process involving Fraunhofer industry and technical experts, the XTRLs, an early-stage microgrid controller developer, was selected for a customized, expert-led technical study designed to quantify the customer savings that would result from an industrial deployment of their technology.

For a more detailed look at the TechBridge Microgrid Challenge, please click here.

Fraunhofer TechBridge performs customized technical validation work for startups, paving the way for groundbreaking early-stage technologies and companies to attract funding, partnerships, and customers.

1: Define: We work with program Sponsors to determine the scope and goals of each program, typically focusing on innovation in a particular region (government sponsor) or a topic of strategic interest (industry/investor sponsor)


2: Identify: TechBridge executes a comprehensive startup search and selection process that integrates expert technical and business expertise.




3: Design: Fraunhofer domain experts design a customized validation or demonstration project that integrates the goals of the Sponsor with those of the selected startup(s).


4. Execute: The technical projects are executed at Fraunhofer research facilities and in real-world settings.


Projects may include: 

  • Optimizing and testing prototypes. Conducting field demonstrations in real-world conditions.
  • Performing system integration work. Evaluating manufacturability

Some of our past sponsors are: