Pathways to Investment PanelNREL has invited members of their expert clean energy ecosystem to speak on a panel in regards to strategies and challenges of emerging market companies. Their insight will provide valuable information for the attendees. Information regarding 2018 Panel Speakers will be updated soon.
Past Panel Speakers include:Shoibal Banerjee
Shoibal Banerjee, Vice President, Technology. 30+ years of experience in fuel cell development at DuPont; his expanded polytetrafluoroethylene reinforced Nafion® membrane enabled the subsequent growth of the PEM fuel cell industry. Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Utah.
Oorja Protonics, Inc., develops and manufactures direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC)-based power systems that use methanol, combining a fuel cell and a traditional battery to provide a high-power solution that significantly reduces operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Oorja designs, develops, and commercializes reliable, economical modular DMFCs ranging in power from 1 to 5 kW, which have a wide range of applications for the telecommunications (wireless) and materials-handling industries, supplying backup power. The company was founded in 2005 in Silicon Valley and is funded by leading global investors.
Methanol, which is produced and used all over the globe, is increasingly part of innovative applications that meet the growing demand for energy. Fuel cells are one such application, and direct-methanol fuel cells are a subcategory of proton-exchange fuel cells in which methanol is used as the fuel. The characteristics of methanol — which contains less carbon and more hydrogen than any other liquid fuel, is stable and quickly biodegradable, is readily available, and yields only carbon dioxide and water as waste products in fuel cells — make it a fuel with enormous potential to address the energy needs of the future.
Agnes Dasewicz, serves as Acting Director of the Office of Private Capital and Microenterprise (PCM) within the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3) of the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID). Drawing on USAID’s presence and resources in developing countries, PCM works with investors and other U.S. government agencies, to catalyze greater investment in support of key development objectives. As part of this work, Ms. Dasewicz developed and led the implementation of the private sector outreach strategy under Power Africa, securing over $20 billion of investment commitments from U.S. and African financiers and corporations towards energy transactions on the continent. Ms. Dasewicz has 20 years of experience in the field of investing in developing and transitioning economies, including in infrastructure, SMEs, and social enterprises.
Ms. Dasewicz started her work in finance in the 1990s, when she was part of the founding team of the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund (SEAF), now one of the leading global SME investment funds. Subsequently she worked as an investment officer for one of the first private equity funds in Eastern Europe, AIG’s New Europe Fund, and as a manager at the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Prior to joining USAID, Agnes Dasewicz was a founding team member of the Grassroots Business Fund (GBF), a $60 million impact investing fund that provides sustainable economic opportunities to millions of people at the base of the economic pyramid. She holds an MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, and a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University.
FACTOR[e] is a venture development firm with a mission to improve lives in the developing world through increased access to sustainable energy and related services. We support early stage entrepreneurs through a unique blend of risk capital and world-class technical resources. We find, validate, fund, de-risk, and grow a rich pipeline of social ventures that aim to solve profound global problems.
Dr. Morgan DeFoort is the CEO and co-founder of FACTOR[e] Ventures, as well as a Research Fellow and former Director of the Energy Institute at Colorado State University. Morgan received his B.A in Physics from Hastings College and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University. In his R&D career, Morgan has managed over $15M in sponsored research, primarily in emissions control for industrial engines, advanced ignition systems, bio‐fuels, biomass combustion, and technology for sustainable development. Morgan also is experienced in early stage technology and venture development, working for CSU Ventures (the Universities tech-transfer office) and participating in the creation of several University technology ventures (including Envirofit International and Solix Biofuels) prior to co-founding FACTOR[e] Ventures. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Lightning Hybrids, a FACTOR[e] portfolio company.
As the Finance and Implementation Manager for the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s sub-Saharan Africa team, Mr. Riposo helps energy ventures in sub-Saharan Africa achieve financial close and commercial operation. Before joining USTDA, Mr. Riposo led donor-funded energy access programs in Africa and South Asia for five years. Previously, he was a strategy consultant advising companies and governments on clean energy markets and technologies. His professional experience also includes establishing a renewable energy consulting business in India and helping hundreds of wind and solar project developers define the pre-construction energy generation potential of their projects. Mr. Riposo earned an M.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Ms. Tabernacki has been with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) for over 22 years and is the Deputy Vice President of Small and Medium Enterprise Finance and the Head of the Global Energy Group. In this capacity, she focuses on supporting small- and medium-sized American companies investing in emerging markets. She covers multiple sectors including healthcare, education, telecommunications, microfinance, impact investing, housing, and energy. Ms. Tabernacki also founded and led OPIC’s global energy program, supporting the development of utility scale renewable and clean energy infrastructure, off-grid energy solutions, energy efficiency projects, and natural gas investments. Between 2007 and 2016, Ms. Tabernacki oversaw the growth of OPIC’s clean energy portfolio to over $7.7 billion in commitments.
Prior to her work with OPIC, Ms. Tabernacki worked at Price Waterhouse Poland, Citicorp, and Arthur Andersen. Ms. Tabernacki holds an MBA in International Finance and a BS in Accounting and Business Administration. She is a CPA and a credit trained professional.