DNREC to launch refrigerant incentive program

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy will launch a program on Monday, March 2 to provide incentives to businesses to install refrigeration systems that are less harmful to the environment.

The “Cool Switch – Low Impact Refrigerant Program” aims to reduce the amount of hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) released into the atmosphere. Some refrigerants contain potent greenhouse gases that have a large impact on global warming. Incentives for installing new systems or making upgrades to existing systems will be offered to participating municipalities, businesses, and industries. The incentives will be based on calculations for reducing greenhouse gas potential associated with the new refrigerant used.

Delaware is also proposing regulations that, if finalized, may phase out the use of certain HFCs. Draft regulations will be published in the state Register of Regulations.

The Cool Switch – Low Impact Refrigerant Program is funded through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a market-based program among 11 states, including Delaware, that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. DNREC receives RGGI funding from the state, which sells emissions allowances through auctions. Proceeds are invested in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other consumer benefit programs.

Cool Switch program grants are available for both new systems and existing system retrofits that utilize refrigerants with lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) impacts. Grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis and subject to funding availability.

For more information on the program, visit de.gov/dcce and click on Energy Policy and Programs, or contact Ed Synoski at Edward.Synoski@delaware.gov, or 302-735-3480.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Ten Delaware companies ready to grow after winning EDGE Grants

WILMINGTON, Del. – A bio-based materials company, a maker of wearable medical sensors, and a bakery-café were among the 10 Delaware small businesses recognized Thursday as awardees of the second round of EDGE Grants from the state Division of Small Business.

Governor John Carney, Secretary of State Jeff Bullock, and Division of Small Business Director Damian DeStefano announced the companies at an event Thursday at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington.

“It is incredible to see what the innovative entrepreneurs in this state are accomplishing,” said Governor Carney. “Their companies span a wide range of industries, but the one thing the owners share is the drive and determination necessary to start then grow their businesses. I am glad the State is able to support their work through initiatives like the EDGE Grant program.”

EDGE Grants provide a 3-to-1 match for each dollar an eligible business spends on qualified expenses that improve the company’s long-term chances of success, from market analysis to website design to acquiring essential equipment.

The State awarded grants this round to 10 companies, listed below. Five STEM Class companies are receiving a total of $495,000, and five Entrepreneur Class businesses are receiving a total of $216,000.

“EDGE Grants are helping to level the playing field for promising Delaware small companies as they compete with more established, larger businesses,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “And this program is just one of the many ways the Division of Small Business, since it was created under the Department of State three years ago, has made a strong, positive impact on the state’s economy by assisting hardworking business owners.”

EDGE launched in May, and the first grant round took place over the summer. In the second round, which opened in September, almost 100 businesses applied for funding.

Sixteen finalists – eight STEM Class and eight Entrepreneur Class – gave public presentations before a panel of expert judges on December 18 and 19 at Delaware Tech in Dover, after which five winners in each category were chosen.

“Several companies that applied in the first round but were not successful in winning a grant took advantage of the opportunity to work with the Division’s business resource managers to strengthen their applications for this time around,” said Division Director Damian DeStefano. “That is what this program is about. The grant funding is incredibly important to those who win, but EDGE also provides a way for all applicants learn how to improve their businesses.”

The Division of Small Business is currently accepting applications for the Spring 2020 round of EDGE Grants. Visit www.delbiz.com for eligibility requirements and to download the application. The deadline to apply is February 28, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.


EDGE Round Two Recipients


STEM class

2M LLC (Wilmington)
This company makes an extremely fast-charging and safe battery, which can enable a less than 10-minute charge for E-mobility applications, such as enabling an electric vehicle to go 200 miles on a 10-minute charge. 2M will use the grant to scale up production to meet customer demand.

4th Phase Water Technologies (Wilmington)
This company is focused on commercializing binder-free carbon nanotube sheets made using its proprietary processes. The sheets are superior filtration/separation membranes and electromagnetic interference shielding material for a host of industries including bioprocessing, defense, consumer electronics and automotive. The company will use its grant to acquire additional lab equipment and for marketing.

Lignolix (Wilmington)
This company is developing sustainable products from biomass, such as that which is produced in beer manufacturing. It will use the grant to scale up its chemical process, increase production capacity and attract larger commercial customers.

MCET Technologies (Wilmington)
This company developed a way of integrating sensors into textiles that can be used to monitor a patient during physical rehabilitation. It will use the grant to scale up manufacturing to increase production and expand applications.

Veramorph Materials (Wilmington)
This company developed a hydrogel-based system that allows the body to absorb pharmaceuticals more efficiently. It will use its grant for critical equipment for R&D services for pharmaceutical companies and to conduct toxicology studies.


Entrepreneur class

Best Music Coach (Dover)
This company offers online music lessons for voice and various instruments including guitar and piano. It will use its grant to upgrade its online platform and add online learning materials.

Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop (Milford)
This bakery-café will use the grant to upgrade its equipment and market its new services and a second Milford location scheduled to open later this year.

Fur Baby Tracker (Wilmington)
This woman-owned company will use its grant to roll out the mobile app it developed that lets pet parents track the progress of their cat or dog’s treatment during a stay at a veterinary hospital.

Volunteer Brewing Company (Middletown)
This family-owned craft brewing company located in downtown Middletown will use its grant to purchase new brewing and fermentation equipment to expand production.

WilmInvest (Wilmington)
This company purchases and renovates single-family homes in Wilmington which it leases to nonprofits and governmental entities to house families in need of housing and supportive services. It will use the grant to purchase and renovate additional homes.


Media Contact:
Michael Chesney
Director of Communications
Division of Small Business
(302) 943-9508 (cell)

Ten small businesses announced as EDGE Grant awardees

WILMINGTON, DE – Ten Delaware small businesses were recognized Wednesday as the awardees of the first-ever EDGE Grants from the state Division of Small Business.

Gov. John Carney and Division Director Damian DeStefano announced the companies at an event at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington. The grant recipients, located across the state, represent a variety of industries, including agribusiness, medical devices, food services and apparel. They include woman-owned, minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses.

“Delaware is fortunate to have a vibrant small business community comprised of 25,000 companies that employ more than half of all Delaware workers,” Gov. Carney said. “Through these grants the State of Delaware is helping to support small business owners who take risks to realize their dreams of building companies from the ground up.”

EDGE Grants provide a 3-to1 match for each dollar an eligible business invests on qualified expenses that improve the company’s long-term chances of success.

The state is awarding a total of 10 grants. Five in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) class totaling $500,000 and five in the Entrepreneur class tallying $248,000. The businesses are putting up almost $375,000 in matching funds.

“These grants will assist these creative, driven entrepreneurs get the capital support they need to reach their full potential,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “They will help the companies grow and level the playing field as they compete against larger, more established businesses.”

The innovative program launched in May and had more than 140 companies apply. Eight finalists were selected in the STEM class and eight in the Entrepreneur class. Five winners in each category were chosen after public presentations before a panel of judges on Aug. 13 and 14 at Del Tech in Dover.

“It was challenging to narrow a field filled with so many great applicants,” said DeStefano. “Over two days our team of judges listened carefully to the presentations, asked thoughtful questions and offered valuable insights and comments.”

The Division of Small Business is currently accepting applications for the second round of EDGE Grants. The deadline to apply is Oct. 11, 2019 at 11:59 p.m.

The recipients are:

STEM class

Avkin (New Castle)

This woman-owned business develops medical simulation equipment to train healthcare professionals. It will use the grant accelerate its efforts to market its products to hospital systems across the U.S.

EZY Venture (Harrington)

This woman-owned business processes industrial hemp and extracts CBD oil. It will use its grant to purchase the equipment it needs to extract and process the oil at scale, helping it to meet the growing demand for this product.

Napigen (Wilmington)

The company is developing a hybrid, non-GMO variety of wheat which may help ease the world’s shortage of the grain. It will use the grant for achieving two milestones critical for launching seed production.

Neurothera (Newark)

The company uses light (photobiomodulation) to treat diseases and injuries affecting the brain. It will use the grant to complete a preliminary study to investigate the technology as a possible treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

W7 Energy (Wilmington)

This spin-out company from the University of Delaware is using a new class of hydroxide exchange membranes to power zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicles. It will use the grant to rent larger laboratory space and market to potential new customers.

Entrepreneur Class

BBD MidAtlantic (Greenville)

This woman-owned business operates a successful blow out-bar in Greenville called Blo Blow Dry Bar. It will use the grant to move to a larger space which will enable it to expand its staff and serve more customers.

entreDonovan Wholesale (Wilmington)

This women-owned company uses 3D technology and digital pattern making to produce custom-made women’s apparel for the workplace. It will use the grant to pursue its national growth strategy.

Grey Fox Capital (Wilmington)

This veteran-owned firm manages a fund which raises money to invest in real estate projects in Opportunity Zones in Delaware. It will use the grant for market analysis, marketing and legal fees.

Impact Graphix and Signs (Seaford)

This woman-owned business installs commercial signs and awnings in southern Delaware and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It will use the grant to purchase a second bucket truck to better meet demand for the company’s services.

Tomeka’s Homestyle Eatery (Dover)

This minority- and woman-owned business plans to open a home-style, soul food restaurant in downtown Dover. The owner already sells her food at the city’s weekly farmers market. She will use the grant to help build a commercial kitchen in the downtown building she plans to use for her restaurant.


 Media Contact:
Michael Chesney
Director of Communications
(302) 577-8472 (office)
(302) 943-9508 (mobile)

DNREC, DHSS now accepting applications for Wastewater and Drinking Water Asset Management Incentive Programs

Proposals from county and municipal governments due by April 1

DOVER – The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Environmental Finance and the Department of Health & Social Services Division of Public Health State Revolving Fund programs are now accepting applications from county and municipal governments for the Wastewater and Drinking Water Asset Management Incentive Programs. Applications must be received by both agencies’ close of business (4:30 p.m.) Monday, April 1.

An asset management incentive program is a tool that helps local governments prioritize and classify assets associated with managing and operating a wastewater or drinking water utility. The program results in more efficient management of public utilities, lower replacement costs, and an overall healthier community.

Asset Management Incentive Program participants can receive funding to develop and implement asset management plans for their facilities. To receive financial incentives, municipal governments must sign a five-year agreement with DNREC and DHSS, which requires the development and implementation of system-wide asset management plans for wastewater and/or drinking water utilities. The plan must be consistent with EPA’s Framework for Asset Management, which includes: 1) Current state of assets, 2) Level of service, 3) Critical assets, 4) Minimum lifecycle cost, and 5) Long-term funding plan.

Financial incentives for the program include:

  • Up to a $100,000 grant (no match required) per municipality/county in Delaware to develop and implement an Asset Management Program (up to $200,000 for combined wastewater and drinking water programs)
  • Loan interest rebate of up to one-half of the interest paid on a new wastewater and/or drinking water state revolving fund loan. Loans will be rebated back for up to five years after completion of projects (from loan amortization start dates).

The program will be funded from the respective non-federal administrative accounts for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Programs. Submittals will be recommended for funding by the Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council through a first-come, first-served basis, based on receipt of an approved application meeting all of the requirements.

Asset Management Plan guidelines and the application can be found online at the Environmental Finance website. Application must be submitted by email to Greg.Pope@delaware.gov (Proposals submitted by email must be less than 10 MB).

For more information, contact Greg Pope, DNREC Environmental Finance, at 302-739-9941, or Heather Warren, Office of Drinking Water, at 302-744-4817.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 49, No. 50