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$2.3M in State Grants Awarded to UMD-Affiliated Innovation Projects

Maryland Department of Commerce funding to Support Advances in Energy Storage, Materials, Quantum and More

By Maryland Today Staff

collage of battery, quantum chip and super wood technology

Three UMD-linked startup companies and a quantum business incubator received more than $2.3 million in grants through a state program aimed at bolstering innovation infrastructure development.

From left: background and battery image by Adobe Stock; computer chip image courtesy of Quantum Starup Foundry, wood image courtesy of Inventwood

Four projects launched from or based at the University of Maryland received more than $2.3 million in grants through a state program aimed at bolstering innovation infrastructure development, Gov. Wes Moore announced Tuesday.

The Maryland Department of Commerce’s Build Our Future Grant Pilot Program awarded a total of $9 million to 11 projects across the state. Two companies founded on UMD research were among the awardees:

  • InventWood, founded by Distinguished University Professor Liangbing Hu, director of the Center for Materials Innovation and a faculty member in materials science and engineering and mechanical engineering, received $1 million to construct a pilot manufacturing and innovation center at its facility in Frederick County to produce MettleWood, a 100% wood material that is 50% stronger than steel and provides meaningful carbon sequestration by allowing expanded use of wood in structures.
  • Ion Storage Systems, founded by Distinguished University Professor Eric Wachsman, director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute and a faculty member in materials science and engineering and chemical and biomolecular engineering, received $1 million to enhance its solid-state battery research and development and manufacturing facility in Beltsville. Ion Storage Systems produces batteries using a ceramic solid-state electrolyte structure meant to replace the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.

    Grants were also awarded to quantum technology projects, serving to strengthen the reputation of UMD and the state of Maryland as a hub for quantum research and development:

    • The Quantum Startup Foundry, housed at UMD, received $118,600 for the implementation of a “shared lab” concept for quantum technology startups, including equipment, platforms and training. The project is called the University of Maryland Advanced Quantum-Centered Experience for Startups and Students (AQCESS).
    • QC82, a company located at the Quantum Startup Foundry, received $200,000 for the construction of a 1,000 square-foot integrated photonics testing and packaging facility for its unique room-temperature photonic chips for scalable universal quantum computing.

      “I’m so pleased to see that the Maryland Department of Commerce is using these grants to help accelerate innovation and discovery in areas where Maryland is already poised to be a leader and to spur significant economic development,” said Gregory F. Ball, vice president for research. “This support will undoubtedly help us continue our momentum in areas such as quantum technology, battery research and manufacturing, as well as the development of innovative new materials.”

      The Build Our Future Grant Pilot Program—part of the Governor’s Innovation Economy Infrastructure Act of 2023—provides grants of up to $2 million to private companies, nonprofit entities, local governments, or colleges and universities. Eligible industry sectors include advanced manufacturing, aerospace, agriculture, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, blue technology, cybersecurity, defense, energy and sustainability, life sciences, quantum, and sensors and robotics.



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