East Rochester firm wins clean energy competition

East Rochester firm wins clean energy competition

EkoStinger CEO Parr Wiegel
EkoStinger CEO Parr Wiegel

An East Rochester manufacturer of tractor trailer aerodynamics has won the top spot in the 76West Clean Energy Competition, enabling further expansion.

EkoStinger Inc. will receive the $1 million grand prize, which requires that winners either move to the Southern Tier or establish a direct connection with the region. EkoStinger will expand its business to the Southern Tier, officials said Tuesday.

“The 76West Competition is attracting some of the most innovative entrepreneurs to the Southern Tier, spurring economic growth while advancing our state’s clean energy economy,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

The 76West Clean Energy Competition is one of the largest competitions in the country that focuses on supporting and growing clean energy businesses and fostering economic development. The competition complements Southern Tier Soaring, the region’s comprehensive strategy to generate economic growth and community development.

EkoStinger’s product is a two-part trailer shield and arrow-shaped device that attaches to the underside of a trailer, providing better aerodynamics and increased fuel efficiency. The second piece to that is a shield that also is installed on the underside of a trailer. The company’s first iteration of the EkoStinger moves with the trailer and can save up to 6 percent in fuel costs by reducing drag.

The 76West Competition awarded a total of $2.5 million to six companies from around the world, all of which will have a presence in the Southern Tier. The third round of the contest was launched last December and received 152 applications from more than a dozen countries and 27 states.

The governor’s office also announced that $8 million is available through a new New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) program to advance novel business models that facilitate adoption of clean energy technologies by helping overcome market barriers such as high initial costs and variable future returns.

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