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UbiQD and Heliene Initiate Joint Development of Agrivoltaic Modules for Greenhouses

UbiQD and Heliene

The development will combine UbiGro® light optimizing technology to maximize crop yields with solar power generation for greenhouses.

LOS ALAMOS, NM and SAULT STE. MARIE, ON, March 21 /PRNewswire/ — UbiQD, Inc., a deep tech company specializing in nanomaterials innovation, and Heliene Inc., a customer-first provider of North American made solar modules, today announced the initiation of a joint development agreement to embed UbiGro® sunlight optimizing technology in Heliene’s photovoltaic modules.

“As energy costs continue to rise, the controlled environment agriculture industry will have to utilize energy sources more efficiently,” said Martin Pochtaruk, CEO of Heliene. “Greenhouses and photovoltaics generate hundreds of billions of dollars of value from sunlight, and our plan is that with our agrivoltaic modules, the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.”

‘Agrivoltaics’ is an emerging agriculture product category at the intersection of food and energy, wherein crop production and electricity production occur simultaneously and in the same area. For a greenhouse, this means allowing a large portion of the sunlight to pass through to the crop below, with the remaining portion being converted into solar power. This tradeoff between sunlight for crop growth and sunlight for electricity generation motivates investment in light spectrum optimization in order to grow plants as efficiently as possible. Optimizing the quality of sunlight is exactly what UbiGro technology is designed to do, by converting direct UV/blue light from the sun’s spectrum into an orange/red glow that improves plant growth.

 “UbiQD has been developing electricity-generating windows for a number of years, and we offer a line of greenhouse film products for boosting crop yield,” said Hunter McDaniel, Founder and CEO of UbiQD. “What I love most about this partnership with Heliene, is that it leverages our combined expertise and taps our passion for having a positive impact at the intersection of agriculture and energy.

About UbiQD, Inc.

Quantum Dots UbiQD

UbiQD (pronounced ‘ubiquity’) is an advanced materials company powering impactful innovation in agriculture, clean energy, and security. Our quantum dots enable products that harness the power of color and light. Headquartered in Los Alamos, New Mexico, UbiQD is licensing technology developed at leading research institutions, including Los Alamos National Laboratory, M.I.T., University of Washington, and Western Washington University. To learn more, please visit: https://www.ubiqd.com.

About Heliene

Heliene is one of North America’s fastest-growing domestic module manufacturers serving the utility-scale, commercial, and residential markets. With an in-house logistics team and remarkably responsive support staff, Heliene delivers competitively priced, high performance solar modules precisely when and where customers need them to accelerate North America’s clean energy transition. Founded in 2010, Heliene is recognized as a highly bankable Tier 1 module manufacturer and has production facilities located in Ontario, Minnesota and Florida. For more information, visit www.heliene.com.

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Hunter McDaniel CEO & Founder UbiGro

Hunter McDaniel, PhD

Founder & CEO

 Hunter earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, before joining Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Chemistry Division. Ultimately the value proposition of UbiGro is about boosting crop yields and quality without the cost or energy impact of lighting. Hunter has more than fifty publications and patents, and more than 2000 total citations, h-index: 20. Hunter fundamentally believes that novel materials underpin every significant technology advancement, and he is focused on leveraging new materials to have a lasting and sustainable impact.

Damon Hebert, PhD

Director of Agriculture

Damon brings a wide range of experience in agriculture, materials science, spectroscopy, and small business. During his time in Prof. Angus Rockett’s research group at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Hebert authored a doctoral thesis and multiple papers on the materials science of CIGS semiconductor materials, which is closely related to the materials developed at UbiQD. He also served as a consultant to Nanosolar, a CIGS nanocrystal solar cell manufacturing company. Hebert has industry experience having co-founded Dr. Jolly’s, a leading cultivation and distribution operation in Bend, OR.

Tania Lafaille

Sales Representative

Tania is a UbiGro Sales Representative, with over 7 years of experience in product sales (specifically berries and avocados) covering all of North America and parts of South America. While in agriculture, Tania has cultivated strong relationships with growers and distributors, granting her a unique insight into both perspectives. That understanding, paired with her fierce dedication to results, drives her fun and fiery commitment to her craft. Tania is based in Gilroy, CA.

Charles Parrish

Agricultural  Engineer

Charles earned a Bachelor’s in Biological Engineering from North Carolina State University and a Master’s in Biosystems Engineering from The University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. Advised by Dr. Gene Giacomelli, Charles conducted his thesis on the “Optimization of Spectral Quality with Quantum Dots to Enhance Crop Yield in Controlled Environments.” Charles has a decade of biological engineering, greenhouse technology, and molecular biology experience from lab to production scale including working with the Vegetable Production System (Veggie) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. He brings his experience in hydroponics, controlled environment systems design, photobiology, greenhouse engineering, and scientific outreach.

Jim Gideon

Sales Manager

Jim Gideon is an UbiGro Sales Manager, with over 25 years of greenhouse industry sales experience covering all of North America. Previously Jim has worked for Green Tek, Plazit-Polygal, Texel, Cherry Creek, and Nexus. He is based in Montgomery, AL, and Jim believes that “light is everything to the grower.”

Eric Moody

Director of Sales

Eric Moody is UbiQD’s Director of UbiGro Sales. Eric has more than 6 years of experience in horticulture lighting industry, building relationships with greenhouse growers of all sizes and crops on optimal lighting for their growing operation, and most recently managed a North American sales team for PL Light Systems. Overall, Eric has been in sales leadership positions for more than 13 years. Eric brings with him a great understanding of the market and available technologies for growers, greenhouse facilities, and sales leadership.

Mike Burrows, PhD

VP of Business Development

Dr. Michael Burrows is UbiQd’s Vice President of Business Development. His educational background includes a Materials Science doctorate from the University of Delaware and an MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business. His career has specialized in the commercialization of novel electronic materials in venture-run programs for different industries including solar, biosensors, and the automotive industry. In both start-up and corporate environments, he has extensive experience in global market development, foraging supply chain partnerships, productization, and brand building. He is currently leading UbiQD’s partnership efforts in luminescent greenhouse technology, smart windows, and security ventures.

Matt Bergern, PhD

Cheif Product Officer

As Chief Product Officer at UbiQD, Dr. Matt Bergren leads the company’s product development efforts, sales, and product manufacturing, including the company’s first commercial agriculture product, UbiGro. He plays a critical role in continuing the company’s path of technology development and vision of powering product innovations in agriculture, clean energy, and security.

He serves as the principal investigator for UbiQD’s contract with NASA, focused on tailoring the solar spectrum for enhanced crop production for space missions. Dr. Bergren’s leadership experience includes serving on the board of directors for the New Mexico Energy Manufacturing Institute, focused on job creation in New Mexico’s energy, and related manufacturing community.