Neuvokas Corp., supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative, is the recipient of $2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy group.
Neuvokas has become a global leader and innovative manufacturer in the production of high-quality fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) rebar. This funding will initiate the development of an energy efficient manufacturing process to produce continuous basalt fiber (CBF) in the United States.
FRP rebar is an environmentally friendly alternative to many traditional materials — such as steel, epoxy coated steel, galvanized steel and stainless-steel rebar. Neuvokas has developed a proprietary process to manufacture FRP rebar at competitive speeds — currently over 23 times faster than leading competitors — which has increased its productivity by over 1,200 percent. Neuvokas is poised to increase its advantage to 36X by Q3 2019. Using the funding from ARPA-E, Neuvokas will focus on the development of a CBF process that will integrate with its existing rebar manufacturing. Using rebar manufactured with CBF instead of steel to reinforce concrete will reduce greenhouse gases and increase service life of concrete infrastructure.
“When successful, the development of low-cost CBF will lead to major advancements in the sustainability and infrastructure of reinforced concrete on a worldwide platform,” said Erik Kiilunen, CEO, Neuvokas. “The ARPA-E program gives us a chance to bring this technology to life, and we are excited for this opportunity to do so right here in Michigan. The support we’ve received from the state have helped expedite our growth and success.”
Ranked as No.7 on the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School’s first annual Most Fundable Companies List, Neuvokas is an innovator in composites manufacturing and a leader in major advancements in sustainability.
“By taking full advantage of the resources and funding Michigan can offer startups and entrepreneurs, companies like Neuvokas are redefining the commercialization of material sciences and manufacturing through the lens of advanced technology,” said Fred Molnar, vice president of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at MEDC. “At the MEDC, we are in a unique position with a vast entrepreneurial ecosystem supporting startups in technology, while having the talent to go along with it. Neuvokas is an outstanding example of how far that combination can go.”
Neuvokas Corporation is also the recipient of $150,000 through the MATch Energy Grant, supported by the MEDC. The MATch Energy Grant, managed by Detroit-based technology accelerator, NextEnergy, provides matching funds to eligible Michigan small businesses and university researchers to directly support the commercialization process for applied research projects.
Since 2014, Neuvokas has received more than $450,000 in funding through programs supported by the MEDC Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative, including Business Accelerator Fund (BAF), Emerging Technologies Fund and the MATch grant, among others. This initiative promotes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech startup companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more on MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative visit michiganbusiness.org.
About Neuvokas Corporation
Neuvokas Corporation is a five-year-old start-up focused on commoditizing Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) rebar. Neuvokas is based in Ahmeek Michigan, employs 25 people and sells its product GatorBar® nationally through direct and distributor sales.
About ARPA-E’s OPEN+ Program
Neuvokas Corporation received this competitive award from ARPA-E’s OPEN+ program, in which teams develop innovative technologies to transform the nation’s energy system. The agency decided to create the OPEN+ cohorts—drawing from the large and impressive OPEN 2018 application pool—to focus on particular topics in energy where ARPA-E sees significant opportunities to innovate and create positive change.
About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.