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Rochester startup partners with Alfred University to create energy jobs

Empire State Development has approved MicroEra Power Inc. as the first START-UP NY firm to be located at the AHEAD Energy facility at Metro Park in Rochester. The company, which will partner with Alfred University through the program, plans to create 18 new jobs over the next five years.

MicroEra Power is working to develop the latest in combined cooling, heat and power systems to provide businesses with reliable backup power and cost-effective power generation. The on-site systems, powered in part by renewable energy sources, also limit carbon emissions.

MicroEra Power CEO Eleanor Rusling said the START-UP NY partnership offered her firm—which she described as “an early-stage cleantech company in the rapidly growing market of distributed energy resources”—access to unique technical expertise that can lower the costs of developing and integrating new technologies.

“This partnership connects our company with the highly regarded expertise in ceramics and glass available only at Alfred University,” Rusling said in a statement. “Alfred University’s new program in renewable energy engineering will be valuable as we commercialize CHPplus to provide commercial businesses with energy security, cost savings and green credentials. Our distributed generation and energy storage system is a valuable component in New York State’s transition to a renewable-intensive grid.”

The firm will leverage Alfred’s capabilities in technical ceramics and glass used in energy conversion and storage technologies, including fuel cells and thermal storage.

“Alfred seeks to assist in strategic partnerships with New York State companies developing the next generation of clean energy technologies whenever we can, in support of Gov. Cuomo’s aggressive carbon-reduction goals,” said Alfred University President Mark Zupan. “Our experience in technical ceramics and glass materials, as well as in renewable energy engineering, will provide significant benefits to MicroEra Power as they continue efforts to commercialize their highly efficient combined cooling, heating and power systems.”

MicroEra Power plans to hire Alfred University student interns, officials said, who will work on the development of its CCHP systems and gain invaluable real-world experience in running and scaling up an early-stage technology company.

“MicroEra Power is a great fit for Alfred University’s world-class renewable energy program and an example of how the START-UP NY program supports industry and university partnerships that boost businesses, develop skilled talent and boost regional economies,” said Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development president, CEO and commissioner.

START-UP NY was launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014 as an innovative tax incentive program that partners new, growing and relocating businesses with the state’s network of public and private colleges and universities.

Using tax incentives, the program encourages businesses to create new jobs while establishing a meaningful, mutually beneficial partnership with its college or university sponsor. Companies have access to faculty, industry experts and equipment, while students have new opportunities to receive first-hand experience with START-UP NY businesses.

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