InventWood receives $20 million ARPA-E SCALEUP award

Mtech Ventures company InventWood LLC, founded by Dr. Liangbing Hu, Herbert Rabin Distinguished Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), and director of the Center for Materials Innovation, received a $20 million SCALEUP award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E).

InventWood will use the funding to develop MettleWood, a wood material that is 60 percent stronger than construction-grade steel but 80 percent lighter, much less expensive, and far more sustainable. MettleWood could serve as a replacement for structural beams, columns, and connections that will ultimately result in significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. MettleWood could contribute to the decarbonization of buildings and enable built structures to store significantly greater amounts of carbon.

The award was one of eight clean energy technology projects selected, for a total of $100 million, that support President Biden’s goals to lower emissions through clean energy deployment, reduce dependence on imports of critical minerals, and secure the nation’s standing as a global leader of research and innovation.

Projects will be funded and managed through the Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential (SCALEUP) program, led by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The SCALEUP program provides further funding to previous ARPA-E teams that have been determined to be feasible for widespread deployment and commercialization domestically. SCALEUP selectees demonstrate a viable path to commercial deployment and the ability to attract private-sector investments.