News Article

Investing in green energy, a cleaner future and a growing company
Source: Massachusetts Recovery Stimulus Stories ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: Machflow Energy Inc of Worcester, MA

For many small, green energy companies, Recovery Act funding has come to mean the difference between ensuring that their innovative green technology makes it out to the marketplace or not. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) gave out $438 million in Science and Innovation grants to 120 companies in Massachusetts to ensure that not only were jobs created in this sector but also as an investment in the energy and environmental future of the state.

Machflow Energy Inc. is one of those companies and its Recovery Act awards - received through the DOE's Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer program (STTR) - are helping this small Worcester-based firm translate its technology into a practical, environmentally friendly use.

Machflow, which is located in a basement office in Clark University, has developed a green air conditioning technology that replaces toxic chemicals with gas as the coolant. The technology is based on the Bernoulli effect, a principle that states that when gas is forced through a narrow space, its temperature will go down.

Can you use that to make an air conditioner? Jeffrey Simon, Director of the Massachusetts Recovery & Reinvestment Office, paid a visit to the four-year old company to find out and to see the impact the stimulus awards have had on Machflow. Simon said he was there at the behest of Governor Deval Patrick, who instructed him to see firsthand the impact stimulus funds are having on the people, companies and agencies in the state.

"We've proven that this works," Charles Agosta, CEO of Machflow and a professor of physics at Clark told Simon. "Now we need to get it packaged for something practical."

Stimulus and Clean Energy
Energy grants nationally: $30.5 billion
Energy grants to MA: $438.2 million
Energy projects in MA: 120
Energy Jobs created/retained in MA: 1174*
*Energy Jobs created/retained in US: 200,000
That is where the stimulus funding comes in. In 2009, Machflow was the recipient of a $150,000 Science and Innovation grant. In 2010, Machflow received one of 201 grants that were awarded to companies across the country to, according to DOE, "support the development of prototype or pilot operations for innovative technologies that have successfully passed the proof of concept stage." This second grant was for $1 million.

" We need to move from a lab-based system to a practical system," said Agosta, "Stimulus lets us do that."

The applications for Machflow's cooling technology are numerous: in addition to air conditioning, Agosta said the product has potential to cool batteries in electric cars or in computers to cool the chips.

"As the world faces a greater demand for energy, we need to develop better technology to convert and use energy in a sustainable way," said Agosta. "The stimulus funding Machflow Energy received will help move our technology forward in the short term, and help build a base of technology innovation in Massachusetts in the long run."