March 19, 2010

Cleaning Up At UAlbany

By: by Larry Rulison, Business Writer, Times Union


ALBANY -- The Albany NanoTech complex on Fuller Road may be best known for cutting-edge research by the world's largest semiconductor companies, such as IBM Corp., but now it will be known for fledgling clean energy companies.

Officials from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said Thursday that the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, which is located at the complex, had been awarded $1.5 million to establish an on-site business incubator.

The program will be known as iCLEAN, which stands for Incubators for Collaborating and Leveraging Energy and Nanotechnology. The first tenant will be a suburban Boston company called Magnolia Solar Inc. that received $1 million from NYSERDA earlier this month to work on technology at the NanoCollege.

The new iCLEAN program represents the sixth clean energy business incubator established by NYSERDA in the state. It is a partnership between the NanoCollege's Energy and Environmental Technology Applications Center and the Hudson Valley Center for Innovation, a nonprofit business acceleration program based in Kingston.

The NanoCollege was able to also pull together $1.5 million in private funding from current tenants that will be available to iCLEAN in the form of the use of clean room equipment and other services.

"There are lots of exciting things going on in New York state," said Francis Murray, president of NYSERDA. "It's another step forward, truly."

Ashok Sood, president of Magnolia Solar, said his company wanted to locate its research and development at the NanoCollege because it would otherwise have to spend between $5 million to $10 million on the clean room equipment it needs for development and prototyping of its thin-film solar cells.

"We are delighted to be here," Sood said. "We are a very young company. We came to realize doing the basic demonstrations is not good enough."

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin, who attended the announcement, said he was excited about the new incubation program, especially the potential for new job creation.

"We need to be looking at new ways of doing things," Breslin said. "All of these things can happen right here."

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