Carnegie Mellon University

CMU's Latest Energy Startups

Technologies developed at Carnegie Mellon University have the ability to enhance energy generation and the consumption of that energy in our buildings, transportation, industry and homes. Some of these technologies are just emerging from the university while others have already entered, or are on the cusp of entering, the marketplace. These next-generation technologies have been developed by undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, faculty and alumni from all across Carnegie Mellon.

Below is a list of our latest energy startups.

Energy Generation, Conversion, Storage and the Environment


SolePower has created self-powering smart work boots that can be embedded with electronics including GPS, motion sensors, Wi-Fi, RFID, and lighting. All are charged by the power of walking and can help provide data, signal unsafe conditions, and simplify monitoring of industry and company standards.

Key Researchers: CMU alumni Hahna Alexander and Matthew Stanton


Teratonix develops a maintenance-free power source to replace batteries by converting ambient radio waves into electricity to combat challenges of expensive installation and high lifetime maintenance costs.

Key Researcher: Yi Luo


Watt-Learn is developing a cloud-based artificial intelligence software designed to maximize the longevity and value generation of grid-connected energy storage systems. The company’s software maximizes the return on investment of battery projects at different scale, technology and use case while minimizing their degradation — enabling companies to reduce operating costs.

Key Researcher: Matineh Eybpoosh

Farm to Flame Energy

Farm to Flame Energy converts agricultural waste to electricity in a unique smokeless process at half the cost of diesel fuel. Their revolutionary combustion process burns various forms of biowaste (reduced to fine powder) in place of fossil fuels. This fuel burns as intensely as traditional fuel sources, while being safe for the environment. 

Key Researcher: Kwaku Jyamfi

Tartan Battery Network

CMU researchers are developing a platform of services to support the reuse and recycling of electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries. They will assess and adaptively reuse batteries that have reached the end of their life for their initial application.

Key researchers: Jay Whitacre and Wei Wu

Industry Device Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency

Blade Diagnostics Corporation (BDC)

Blade Diagnostics Corporation develops tools and methods for evaluating and controlling how mistuning affects the vibratory response of critical, expensive integrally bladed rotors.

Key Researcher: Jerry Griffin

Grid Fruit

CMU researchers are developing software for dynamic, distributed, parallel management of load balancing in electric power distribution networks. The initial application is dynamic control of commercial refrigeration, to reduce energy costs and provide better control over maintenance costs.

Key Researchers: Soummya Kar, Javad Mohammadi and CMU alumnus Jesse Thornburg

Fifth Season

Fifth Season develops automated robotics and software analytics to make indoor agriculture more efficient and environmentally friendly. The company grows produce using smart, indoor vertical farms that utilize 95 percent less water and increase labor efficiency by over 50 percent.

Key Researcher: Austin Webb

Commercial Facility and Residential Energy Management

Building Ideas Group (BIG)

BIG is a CMU spin-off developing data collection systems using energy usage analytics and visualizations to reveal actionable information for building occupants, managers and owners. BIG’s review of energy savings opportunities helps facility managers target projects with the best return on investment.

Key Researcher: Azizan Aziz 


BuildSimHub Inc. provides energy modeling solutions throughout a building’s life cycle as well as innovative technologies, like the first GIT-based energy model management system, to make
energy modeling more efficient and accessible by the AEC industry.

Key Researcher: Weili Xu

LeanFM Technologies

LeanFM Technologies is a lifecycle software solution for economic, proactive, and intelligent facilities management that leverages building information modeling and cloud computing technology to integrate heterogeneous building information recorded in disparate media.

Key Researchers: Burcu Akinci and Xuesong Liu

Engineering and Transit Energy Management

BioHybrid Solutions

BioHybrid Solutions commercializes polymer-based protein engineering technology based on controlled radical polymerization for applications in such areas as pharmaceuticals, biocatalysis, and energy. It allows for targeted and predicted modification of proteins, resulting in high-efficacy protein-polymer conjugates.

Key researchers: Kris Matyjaszewski, Alan Russell and Antonina Simakova

Rapid Flow Technologies

Rapid Flow Technologies combines research from artificial intelligence and traffic theory to optimize traffic signals for the traffic that is actually on the road. This leads to less waiting, reduced congestion, shorter trips, less pollution and happier drivers.

Key Researchers: Greg Barlow and Stephen Smith

Regionally-Aware Traffic Incident Response Management System

Traffic management centers attempt to dynamically manage roadway traffic to respond to real-time incidents, such as disasters, crashes, events, flooding, etc. CMU researchers are developing a machine-learning based system that incorporates incident, weather, and other real-time data, with a predictive assessment of how incidents in one sector will impact traffic flow throughout a regional traffic system, and provides proactive mitigation solutions in real-time.

Key Researcher: Sean Qian

Non-Sensor Based Parking Management System for Reservation, Dynamic Pricing

CMU researchers are developing a non-sensor based method of determining parking spot availability, which incorporates an ability for drivers to reserve a parking spot while enabling the parking operators to implement dynamic pricing schemes to optimize the use of limited spaces. It also enables low-cost, efficient, and crowdsourced enforcement.

Key Researcher: Sean Qian