Go Make 2023 RFA

Request for Applications

Greentown Labs requests applications from startups with innovations for carbon utilization, storage, and traceability. Greentown Go Make 2023 with Shell seeks to accelerate the transition to a net-zero-carbon economy through alternative carbon feedstocks for key commodities, biogenic and nature-based solutions, carbon storage and traceability solutions, and more. 

Applications for this program have closed. Stay tuned for the cohort announcement!

Program benefits for startups

  • A structured platform to engage leadership from Shell and explore potential partnership outcomes, including but not limited to technology validation and scaling mentorship, joint development, licensing deals, pilot projects, admittance to Shell GameChanger, and/or investment opportunities
  • $15,000 in non-dilutive grant funding
  • Mentorship, networking opportunities, and partnership-focused programming from the Greentown Labs community of climatetech startup experts
  • Exclusive access to the Greentown Labs and Shell networks 
  • Desk space and membership within Greentown Labs for the duration of the program

What we’re looking for

A circular, net-zero-carbon economy will require a wide variety of technologies for carbon utilization and management. Similarly, as our global energy systems transition away from fossil fuels, the need for carbon storage and traceability solutions will continue to be vital. 

Carbon-intensive commodities like fuels, chemical intermediaries, and polymers are critical to global mobility, health, safety, and food security. Finding ways to utilize alternative carbon feedstocks within these commodities is a key enabler to the energy transition. Other applications, like soil carbon amendments and carbon-based proteins and sugars, provide pathways to sequester carbon while creating tangible value. Finally, carbon-storage solutions provide an additional outlet to abate carbon-intensive processes or products; even as new sources of renewable energy are deployed, this will continue to be a necessary component of a rapid energy transition. 

Shell’s target is to become a net-zero-emissions energy business by 2050. As part of Shell’s resilient technology portfolio, Shell is investing in numerous net-zero-carbon and carbon removal technologies to mitigate and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Go Make 2023 will support Shell’s Powering Progress strategy by facilitating the development and scaling of carbon utilization, storage, and traceability technologies for Shell and its customers that align with Shell’s core lines of business in the carbon-management space: chemicals, low-carbon fuels, nature-based solutions, sectoral decarbonization (e.g. agriculture, construction, mining etc.), bio-CCU, and wider carbon-abatement-enabling technologies.

We’re looking for startups at TRL 2-7 with innovations for carbon utilization and management across a variety of applications.

Program Scope

  • Alternative Carbon Feedstocks in Carbon-Intensive Commodities

    1. Drop-in replacements for conventional hydrocarbon-based fuels (e.g., jet, ethanol, diesel)
    2. Chemical building blocks, intermediates (e.g., Lower Olefins, Aromatics, Methanol Ethylene/Propylene oxides, glycols etc.) and polymers (e.g., PE/PET/Polyurethanes/Polystyrene etc.)  
    3. Lubricants and lubricant components, additives
    4. Pre-treatment technologies to prepare alternative carbon feedstocks for conversion into intermediates and products.
  • Biogenic and Nature-Based Solutions

    1. Soil amendments to improve soil carbon sequestration and stabilization processes within the agricultural sector (e.g., hydrogels, biochar)
    2. Pre-treatment technologies to prepare bio-renewable feedstocks for biological conversion into products 
    3. Novel proteins (e.g., single cell) and sugars derived from naturally occurring (e.g. algae) or genetically engineered microorganisms via CO2 digestion
    4. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)
    5. Environment carbon-storage solutions (e.g., ocean, soil)
  • Carbon Storage and Traceability Solutions

    1. Carbon nanotubes and carbon sink materials (e.g., building, infrastructure, aggregate and composite materials that store carbon such as carbonates)
    2. Novel manufacturing processes and materials that fix, react, or absorb CO2 over their lifetime
    3. Carbon offsets, trading, and solutions that enhance transparency, credit sharing and public reporting (e.g., emissions measurement, blockchain-enabled carbon credits, drones and satellites across the CCUS value and supply chain)

The program scope includes carbon-utilization applications across all conversion routes, with example technology types including but not limited to thermal catalysis, photocatalysis, electrocatalysis, and photoelectrocatalysis, as well as biological and biotechnological applications such as synthetic biology, bioelectrochemistry, fermentation, etc. 

Note: Pure play carbon capture technologies that do not have a utilization, storage, or traceability component; geological (subsurface) carbon storage technologies; carbon-transport technologies; Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR); and conventional applications for CO2 utilization (e.g., beverages, refrigeration, extinguishers, etc.) are not in scope.

Partnership with Shell

Shell is open to the following types of partnerships with startups selected for this program:

  • Subject-matter-expert technology validation and scaling mentorship (e.g. feasibility study, use case development, etc.)
  • Admittance to Shell GameChanger
  • Shell Ventures investment
  • Technology benchmarking
  • Joint development agreements
  • Proof-of-concept field tests and on-site pilots
  • Prototype and project demonstration
  • Licensing
  • Technology acquisition

Eligibility and Guidelines

  • Submit your completed application through the online portal by Aug. 8, 2023
  • Be available for virtual and/or in-person interviews after the application deadline, if selected for further rounds 
  • Disclose the status of any intellectual property (IP) relevant to your submission. Do not submit confidential information in the application process. Awardees will enter into non-disclosure agreements in order to protect their intellectual property throughout Go Make 2023.
  • Applicants may apply from anywhere in the world. 
  • If you are selected as a Go Make 2023 participant, a CEO/founder of your company will be required to attend all program events in order to enjoy full program benefits. A tentative timeline is as follows:
    • Kickoff Event: Sept. 27, 2023 (Boston, MA)
    • Workshop 1: Oct. 25-26, 2023 (Boston, MA)
    • Workshop 2: Dec. 13-14, 2023 (Virtual)
    • Workshop 3: Feb. 7-8, 2024 (Boston, MA)
    • Final Showcase: March 27, 2024 (Houston, TX)
  • Greentown is committed to increasing diversity, maintaining an inclusive community culture, and creating a more sustainable planet for all. We welcome applications from founders and teams of all backgrounds, regardless of their ethnicity, race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or whether or not they have a disability.

Greentown Labs

Greentown Labs is a community of climate action pioneers working to design a more sustainable world. As the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, Greentown Labs brings together startups, corporates, investors, policymakers, and many others with a focus on scaling climate solutions. Driven by the mission of providing startups the resources, knowledge, connections, and equipment they need to thrive, Greentown Labs offers lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, an electronics lab, software and business resources, and a large network of corporate customers, investors, and more. With incubators in Somerville, Mass. and Houston, Texas, Greentown Labs is home to more than 200 startups and has supported more than 500 since the incubator’s founding in 2011. These startups have collectively created more than 24,000 jobs, raised more than $4 billion in funding, and generated more than $9.8 billion in regional economic impact.

Greentown Go

With a mission of decarbonizing the key greenhouse gas-emitting sectors, Greentown Go programs inject momentum and traction into startup-corporate collaborations, unlocking the power of climate solutions at scale. Greentown Go programs operate along five tracks, corresponding to the five major greenhouse gas-emitting sectors: Go Build (buildings), Go Energize (energy and electricity), Go Grow (food and agriculture), Go Make (manufacturing), and Go Move (transportation). Each track leverages the same proven, year-long Greentown Go framework that has delivered dozens of partnership outcomes to date, including pilots, licensing agreements, investments, joint development agreements, and more.

About Shell

Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with more than 80,000 employees in more than 70 countries. We use advanced technologies and take an innovative approach to help build a sustainable energy future. For more than 100 years, Shell has been shaping the energy industry. Today we continue to invest in innovation and entrepreneurship, both inside and outside Shell. Find out more about our approach to entrepreneurship and innovation at https://www.shell.com/gamechanger and https://www.shell.com/shellventures.