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Farming robots and clean energy innovators take first place in a clean energy competition

The Maine Clean Energy Innovation Challenge, a collaborative project of the Maine Technology Institute and Governor’s Energy Office, has given $250,000 to startups in Wiscasset and Biddeford working on clean energy technology. As a result, Biddeford-based Farmhand Automation is creating technology to assist farmers in reducing their carbon impact. Wiscasset-based Peregrine Turbine Technologies is working to advance renewable energy storage technology.

In a news release, MTI President Brian Whitney remarked, “This innovation challenge offered a chance for MTI to play an active role in assisting in finding potential and novel products to help achieve the state’s climate and renewable energy goals.” “It’s also a model that we can use to assist accelerate other areas in our state,” he says.

Farmhand Automation is working on low-cost electric agricultural robots to assist farmers in making the shift to a carbon-free future. Its electric technology is intended for automated agricultural production for healthy soils as well as carbon-negative farming and improved soil biodiversity and yield. The self-contained platform was also created to assist small-scale farmers in scaling up their operations to meet climate change’s mounting food security threats.

Peregrine Turbine Technologies has been developing turbine engine expertise to store solar and wind energy and make it accessible as a power supply at any moment of day or even night. The engines are regarded as a more effective and environmentally favourable storage alternative than lithium-ion batteries when combined with Australia’s thermal energy storage technology.

In July, the business stated that the commercial pilot of the technology would take place near 2022 at a solar farm in Pittsfield. In addition, Gov. Janet Mills announced the Maine Clean Energy Innovation Challenge on the Earth Day 2021 to assist businesses with solutions or technologies that decrease carbon emissions, enhance renewable energy, and expand Maine’s clean energy economy. By 2030, Mills wants to double the number of sustainable energy employment opportunities in Maine to 30,000.

“Innovative businesses across Maine are paving the way for a green energy future,” Mills said. “Peregrine Turbine and Farmhand Automation demonstrate the inventiveness that Maine requires to diversify its economy, produce good-paying green employment, and tackle climate change.”

The concern is a portion of the Mills Administration’s strategies to support and encourage Maine’s startups, innovation, and entrepreneurs, as advised by the 10-year economic development program of the state, the governor’s economic recovery committee’s findings, and Maine’s four-year climate program, Maine Won’t Wait.

Maine has one of the lowest levels of research and innovation, which is a critical driver of economic growth. In addition, Maine also has the fewest renewable energy jobs per population in New England, trailing only Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with the most per capita clean energy jobs in the US.

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