florrent News

Alumni Entrepreneurs Receive Fellowships To Address Climate Change

UMass Amherst alumni and cleantech startup CEOs Jose LaSalle and Kaitlyn Suarez have received entrepreneurial fellowships from Activate Global Inc., a nonprofit founded by entrepreneurs, scientists and investors to support science in addressing climate change.

The first UMass Amherst recipients of the fellowships are florrent co-founder and CEO Jose LaSalle, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and Kaitlyn Suarez, co-founder and CEO of Terra Watts who earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in geosciences as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellow at the university. LaSalle and Suarez are among 45 fellows named by Activate for 2023.

florrent, a startup that emerged from UMass Amherst research, received extensive support from the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS). florrent aims to design and build the next generation of high-energy-density ultracapacitors that will stabilize electrical grids and address critical bottlenecks for the adoption of renewable energies, electric vehicles and net-zero buildings. Its ultracapacitors are manufactured in western Massachusetts from regenerative hemp biomass grown domestically in the U.S. by Black and indigenous farmers.

Terra Watts is developing technology to wirelessly transmit power by using the Earth as a propagation medium. This innovative technology aims to extend the range of wireless power transmission to the kilometer scale and enable underground communication signals. CEO Suarez received mentoring and support through the UMass Amherst I-Corp site at IALS.

Activate is supported by the National Science Foundation, Berkeley Lab, MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and DARPA, among others.

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