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Semi Finalists Announced for the GC&E Business Plan Competition

Valued Contributor II
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The GC&E Business Plan Competition is a unique program in the green chemistry community. The goal of the competition is to support and train early-stage, pre-revenue entrepreneurs to move forward with their green chemistry and engineering ideas. Today we are announcing that the competition judges have selected four semi-finalists: 3Bar Biologics, Inc., AeroClay, Grow BioPlastics and Jolt Energy Storage Technologies. The technologies proposed by our four 2016 semi-finalists range from biobased plastics for agricultural applications to improved battery systems.

The GC&E Business Plan Competition will be held in conjunction with the 20th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference on June 15, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. In addition to competing for the grand prize of $10,000, entrants will be given access to business plan training and feedback from a panel of expert judges. Each of the semi-finalists will work to develop a full business plan and raise awareness about their businesses and the competition in a social media crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe before their making their final business pitches to the judges in Portland.


To further increase the benefit of the competition to these teams, we’re adding a new component to the competition for the semi-finalist teams this year: a Business Mentorship Program. Business Mentors will provide guidance for the teams as they plan how to move their businesses forward. This program is part of our efforts to facilitate valuable networking opportunities for our semi-finalists.

Meet this year’s semi-finalists!

3Bar Biologics, Inc.

What if we could increase agricultural productivity, while decreasing dependence on synthetic fertilizer and pesticides?  3Bar Biologics is addressing this great challenge by helping farmers increase crop yields sustainably using beneficial microbes.  3Bar Biologics developed a unique, simple-to-use delivery system that protects the microbes until the farmer activates the product when ready to plant.  On-site growth of beneficial microbes short-cuts the conventional supply chain, resulting in less waste, lower production costs, and fresher, more viable microbes delivered to the field.  The “secret sauce” in 3Bar Biologics’ system is unique microbes which act as living chemical factories producing a range of beneficial chemical compounds (e.g., 2,4-Diacetylphloroglucinol) that help the plant prosper.  Field trials show consistent 4-5% corn and soybean yield increases with zero incremental new chemical inputs.  3Bar Biologics’ breakthrough technology opens the door for many microbes proven in research, but never successfully commercialized to make it to the field.

Website: 3Bar Biologics, Inc.


Developed at Case Western Reserve University, AeroClay is a type of light-weight, open-cell, flame resistant foam made primarily from a clay and polymer mixture and created through an environmentally friendly freeze-drying process. The AeroClay technology provides a new approach to designing and manufacturing foams. This green process creates virtually 100% raw materials yield with almost no manufacturing landfill waste and finished goods that are reusable and biodegradable. As a platform technology, AeroClay’s advantages stem from its flexibility to choose and combine polymers and fillers, because it eliminates the need for the high heat and destructive blowing agents used to create traditional foams. AeroClay can aid in the cleaning up the environment while reducing the waste created by less sustainable products and processes. AeroClay is pursuing markets in packaging, insulation, environmental cleanup, masterbatch, and agricultural products by driving parallel strategies – introductory organic growth and collaboration with large producers for global markets.

Website: Aeroclay

Grow BioPlastics

We're a Knoxville-based startup that's looking to improve the farming and gardening industries by providing a biodegradable replacement for oil-based plastic mulch films. But making use of lignin, a waste product from the paper industry, we're improving the sustainability of agriculture and home gardening while keeping plastic and lignin from going to the landfill!

Website: Grow BioPlastics

Jolt Energy Storage Technologies

Lithium ion batteries have become an essential power source for electric and hybrid vehicles, among many other applications.  However, while a reduced dependence on fossil fuels is a nearly universally accepted societal priority, consumer acceptance (and widespread adoption) of electric vehicles has been hampered by safety issues, capacity concerns, and high costs.  Jolt Energy Storage Technologies, LLC offers a solution to this problem with its battery additives, which are engineered to prevent dangerous overcharge conditions while providing increased battery capacity.  These additives are fine-tuned to work with different battery chemistries and can be incorporated in cells with virtually no change to the manufacturing process.  Moreover, the additives will enable future cost reductions through the simplification of electronic battery management systems hardware and software.  Jolt is currently optimizing green synthetic routes to these materials, focusing on catalytic, low temperature processes that display good atom economy and reduce waste.

Website: Jolt Energy Storage Technologies

If you would like to see these business plans in action, register for GC&E! Regular registration is open. Click here for more information on GC&E.

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