Illinois program to help seniors save energy gets retooled during pandemic

🔌 ENERGY EFFICIENCY: An Illinois pilot program that helps older adults install energy-saving technologies is temporarily retooling because of the pandemic, reports the Energy News Network. The Smart Technology Mentors Program has gone virtual and hopes to resume in-person operations in January. It provides job training and skills development for high school students by connecting them with seniors and disabled adults who need smart devices installed in their homes.

🔬 RESEARCH: University of Chicago researchers have developed artificial intelligence-driven technology to build artificial proteins. The breakthrough has implications for a variety of industries such as healthcare, agriculture, and energy — including tasks such as harvesting energy and carbon capture.

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

🚗 TRANSPORTATION: The U.S. Department of Transportation released a policy guide to encourage new transportation innovation development, including hyperloop, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Hyperloop projects will be eligible for grants, which is good news for a couple of proposals intended to link Chicago and Pittsburgh with stops in Ohio.

🤝 PARTNERSHIP: mg Magazine reports that Chicago-based investment platform Sente Foundry is partnering with GrowRay Lighting Technologies and Nobo to launch a program to fund tech startups focused on growing cannabis indoors, an endeavor that notoriously consumes a high amount of energy and natural resources. The deadline to apply for the program is August 16.

🎉 PRODUCT LAUNCH: LG Business Solutions in Lincolnshire, Illinois, is launching two solar panel models that are more energy efficient and produce higher energy year-round.


  • TdVib in Boone, Iowa, received a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to work on an environmentally friendly way to reclaim rare earth metals from electronic waste. The technology reportedly could change rare earth metals recycling in the U.S.
  • The DOE also awarded a grant to Cincinnati-based Melink Solar & Geo to accelerate research and development on the company’s next-generation hybrid geothermal HVAC system, which uses thermal batteries to store energy. Melink is developing prototypes on its way to product commercialization.
***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition is hiring a Manager of Community Engagement and Equity. Join the team to play a leadership role in developing an equitable and diverse Midwestern coalition to advance affordable homes and businesses that are free of climate change-causing air pollution.***


  • Cheney, Kansas-based Greenfield Robotics developed autonomous robots that roam fields and tend to weeds, enabling chemical-free farming, reports Startland News. The founder discusses business goals of improving the environment and enabling healthy food production, as well as challenges with the traditional venture capital model.
  • North Dakota state senator and farmer describes various technologies that boost farming sustainability and reduce environmental impact in an article in AgWeb.

💻 VIRTUAL EVENT: Clean Energy Trust is hosting a Midwest cleantech innovation webinar series called Virtual Road to Co_Invest Cleantech. The series begins at 3p.m. Wednesday with a focus on Minnesota; the August webinar will highlight Missouri and Kansas, and the September one will focus on Wisconsin.

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