Introducing GCxN

Advancing Clean Tech to Energize the Future

The Shell GameChanger Accelerator™ Powered by NREL (GCxN) provides promising cleantech start-ups with access to financial resources, state-of-the-art facilities, and world-class technical experts.

Focused on discovering and advancing emerging clean technologies with the potential to dramatically alter the future global energy landscape, GCxN partners early-stage companies with the resources, expertise, and world class facilities available through the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Shell’s incubator program, Shell GameChanger to reduce technology development risk and accelerate tech to market. Cleantech start-ups are referred by NREL’s network of channel partners (cleantech incubators, accelerators, and universities) with finalists selected after reviews by technology experts at both NREL and Shell.

DTE Materials selected for GCxN Cohort 6

Hexas Biomass selected for GCxN Cohort 6

Zila Bioworks selected for GCxN Cohort 6

Invizyne Technologies selected for GCxN Cohort 6

GCxN 2022 Year in Review

2022 was full of memorable highlights and progress toward the energy transition. GCxN garnered awards, had a prominent presence at key industry events, welcomed new Steering Committee members, and is gearing up to explore exciting emerging technology themes.

GCxN News

COHORT 6

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DTE Materials converts agricultural and forest waste into sustainable, carbon-negative construction materials.

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Hexas Biomass created a nature-based alternative for wood, food crops, and fossil fuel-based feedstocks for biofuel production.

Invizyne Logo

Invizyne Technologies is a cell-free enzyme platform that enhances biomass conversions, vastly improving the economics of bio-based chemical production.

Zila Bioworks Logo

ZILA BioWorks developed a bio-epoxy resin from hemp seed oil that has a 60% smaller carbon footprint than petroleum-based epoxies.

The Selection Process

GCxN is an invitation-only program designed to identify high risk, high impact technologies through referrals from within the clean energy ecosystem. Potential applicants are referred to the GCxN team through our Channel Partners, a combination of academic, industry, and government institutions specializing in clean energy technologies. Referred companies are invited to apply to the program and a technical advisory board made up of NREL engineers and GCxN staff review, score, and select the companies to be invited into the next cohort.

Round 1: Energy Storage and Grid Integration – Cohort selected in December 2018

Round 2: Fast Charging and Grid Integration – Cohort selected in August 2019

Round 3: Energy Storage and Grid Integration – Cohort selected in January 2020

Round 4: Electrosynthesis for Fuels and Chemicals – Cohort selected in March 2021

Round 5: E-Mobility and Industrial Electrification – Cohort selected in December 2021

Round 6: Carbon-negative materials, and biological energy and chemical products — Cohort selected in October 2023

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Shell GameChanger™ Accelerator Powered by NREL?

The Shell GameChanger™ Accelerator Powered by NREL (GCxN) is a multimillion-dollar, multiyear program developed in collaboration between Shell GameChanger and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) focused on discovering and advancing emerging clean technologies with the potential to dramatically alter the future global energy landscape. GCxN identifies promising startup companies through an ecosystem of more than 60 clean-tech business incubators, accelerators and universities, providing access up to $250,000 in non-dilutive funding in the form of technical experts to develop and demonstrate new energy technologies. GCxN is made possible by funding through Shell GameChanger. GCxN is administered by NREL, located in Golden, Colorado.

Who is eligible to apply for GCxN?

Potential applicants are referred to the GCxN team through our Channel Partners. The GCxN program seeks companies with technologies focusing on rotating themes such as energy storage, grid integration, e-mobility charging, and industrial electrification. A preference is given to companies between TRL levels II through V.

What are TRLs?

A TRL is a company’s technology readiness level. GCxN follows the the U.S. Department of Energy’s TRL definitions.

What is GCxN’s mission? What does GCxN aim to accomplish?

Shell GameChanger™ Accelerator Powered by NREL (GCxN) is looking to identify the next generation of technologies with the potential to impact the future of energy. Specifically GCxN is looking for companies with a novel early-stage technology idea, a provable concept, and demonstratable value. GCxN aims to provide start-ups with the support necessary to move from an idea on a chalk board to a commercial product deployed in the market place.

How are applications evaluated?

Applications are reviewed according to 3 primary factors – Viability and potential energy impact, fit for laboratory assistance, and alignment with GCxN program mission. View the application scoring rubric.

Who is behind GCxN?

GCxN is a collaboration between Shell Global and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with staff from Shell GameChanger and NREL’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.

Who are the Channel Partners associated with GCxN?

GCxN’s Channel Partners are a combination of academic, industry, and government institutions who work in clean energy technologies across North America.

How many companies participate in each GCxN cohort?

Each GCxN cohort is comprised of three to five companies.

What is the timeline for a cohort from start to finish?

Start to finish duration is approximately 24 months from announcement of call to completion of projects.

Is the award used in a specific way?

Yes, the award is used on non-dilutive technical assistance from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Where can I learn more about NREL’s work with early-stage technologies?

More information can be found at the NREL IEC.

Where can I learn more about Shell’s work with early-stage technologies?

More information can be found at the Shell GameChanger.

How can I contact GCxN staff?

Questions, comments, and concerns are welcome at gcxn@nrel.gov.

Have a Question?

Do you want to know more about the program or how GCxN is changing the game when it comes to the future of energy? Get in touch today

    Address: 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden, CO 80401

    Email: GCxN@nrel.gov