Midwest startups well-positioned to help meet electric vehicle demand

Welcome back from the long holiday weekend! Today’s Midwest tech headlines begin with a decent amount percolating in the electric vehicle space.

Today’s headlines:


  • California passed a landmark rule requiring more than half of trucks sold in the state to be zero emissions by 2035,¬†The New York Times¬†reports. The move could spark a nationwide trend and mean big business for Midwest-based electric truck manufacturers, including¬†Lordstown Motors¬†in Ohio and¬†Rivian¬†in Michigan. Amazon last year ordered 100,000 electric trucks from Rivian, reportedly the largest ever order of electric delivery vehicles.
  • General Motors¬†is among the Midwest auto makers competing to deliver a ‚Äúmillion-mile‚ÄĚ EV battery pack,¬†Grist¬†reports¬†in an article that breaks down the EV battery revolution. Extending battery lifespan has implications for raw materials supply and meeting the rising global demand for metals, according to a researcher at the¬†Argonne National Laboratory ReCell Center, a lithium-ion battery recycling innovation center, quoted in the article.
  • A¬†report from¬†DriveOhio, an¬†Ohio Department of Transportation¬†mobility initiative, assesses the need for Direct Current Fast Charging to advance EV use throughout the state. It lays out a statewide strategy for infrastructure installation and creating EV-friendly corridors.

***SPONSORED LINK:¬†The Cleanie Awards ‚ÄĒ the #1 awards program in clean technology ‚ÄĒ is now accepting applications!¬†Submit to win, or¬†contact us¬†with any questions. Applications close July 30.***

ūüõĘÔłŹ BIOFUEL:¬†Projects in Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin are among seven to receive a collective $1.94 million from the¬†U.S. Department of Energy¬†to¬†improve passenger vehicle energy efficiency¬†through the use of biofuels.

ūüĒĆ ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Purdue University¬†innovators developed a¬†more energy efficient drive mechanism¬†for compressors that are used for cooling buildings, cars, and airplanes.


  • Indianapolis startup¬†Heliponix¬†has experienced increased interest in its in-home hydroponic vegetable growing technology during the pandemic,¬†reports the¬†Times Union. The founders met at¬†Purdue University¬†while working on a sustainable food growing project.
  • A former Silicon Valley tech exec relocated to Omaha, Nebraska, to run agtech company¬†GrainBridge,¬†reports¬†Axios. The business‚Äô software helps farmers determine the best time to sell their crops.


  • The¬†Plum Creek¬†wind farm in Nebraska that is helping Vail, Colorado, reach its 100% renewable energy goal is¬†highlighted by Colorado Public Radio¬†as an innovative way virtual power purchase agreements can bring large-scale renewable energy resources to the grid in geographically diverse areas.
  • The¬†National Renewable Energy Laboratory¬†is leading work to bring wind into the distributed energy mainstream via the¬†International Energy Agency Wind Technology Collaboration Program. The global team is researching how to make¬†smaller scale, localized wind technologies¬†affordable and flexible for widespread use, similar to roof-mounted solar.

ūüíß WATER:

  • A new¬†platform technology¬†developed by researchers at¬†Northwestern University¬†tests for 17 different water contaminants in what‚Äôs being touted as a ‚Äúpregnancy test for water.‚ÄĚ The handheld technology uses as little as a single water droplet to evaluate quality in the field, reducing the time and expense of sending water samples to a lab.
  • Researchers at¬†Oak Ridge National Laboratory¬†are¬†working on ‚Äúsynthetic trees‚Ä̬†that absorb and release moisture similarly to live trees by using nanoporous disks. The synthetic trees have potential use cases in passive water and energy harvesting.

Let me know about other businesses and organizations advancing tech in the Midwest. Send news tips, press releases, and feedback to katie@centered.tech or connect on LinkedIn and Twitter @centereddottech.

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