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Celadyne Technologies receives inaugural Nicor Gas Multicultural Innovator Award

Clean Energy Trust, Nicor Gas partner to support entrepreneurs who are making a positive environmental impact in Illinois


NAPERVILLE, Ill. – July 28, 2021 – Together with Clean Energy Trust, Nicor Gas is proud to announce Celadyne Technologies as the inaugural recipient of the Nicor Gas Multicultural Innovator Award – a $25,000 equity and inclusion grant that supports the development of a clean energy technology startup with a minority founder or CEO.

“Diversity of thought and leadership combined with innovation and ingenuity can help accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy,” said John O. Hudson III, president and CEO of Nicor Gas. “Celadyne’s hydrogen technology has the potential to advance decarbonization among heavy-duty transportation and industrial energy uses. We’re proud to support this Illinois business and its economic impact on a clean energy future.”

Celadyne Technologies’ novel membrane technology enables hydrogen production, storage and usage to be more efficient and less capital intensive, potentially reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 30% across grid storage, trucking and other heavy-duty industries, while also ensuring equitable access to energy.

“Clean Energy Trust is proud to partner with Nicor Gas on this award in support of entrepreneurs who are making a positive environmental impact throughout Illinois," said Erik Birkerts, CEO of Clean Energy Trust. “The team looks forward to helping Celadyne scale its efficient hydrogen fuel cell membrane technology to accelerate the use of hydrogen for decarbonization.”

The inaugural award is a part of Clean Energy Trust’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion initiative and Nicor Gas’ commitment to enable equitable economic impact opportunities across Illinois. In addition to the grant, Celadyne leadership will receive 12 months of business mentorship and heightened exposure to investors and customers.

“On behalf of Celadyne, I am very excited to receive this award and to work with Nicor Gas and Clean Energy Trust to advance our mission to decarbonize energy with hydrogen," said Gary Ong, founder and CEO of Celadyne Technologies. “Decarbonizing energy is a grand challenge, so as a deep-tech company in Illinois, we are thrilled to have the backing of one of the premier energy companies in the state to help us.”

A fellow at Argonne National Laboratory’s Chain Reaction Innovations program, Ong has more than 10 years of materials science research experience. While conducting postdoctoral research, he invented the nanocomposite technology that launched Celadyne Technologies, a clean-tech startup based in Willowbrook, Illinois. To learn more about Celadyne Technologies, visit

About Nicor Gas

Nicor Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Nicor Gas serves more than 2.2 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit

About Southern Company Gas 

Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.3 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 666,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit

About Clean Energy Trust

Clean Energy Trust provides catalytic capital and support to early-stage startups in the Greater Midwest region of the United States working on solutions for clean energy, decarbonization, and environmental sustainability. Based in Chicago, Clean Energy Trust invests in and provides hands-on support to help such startups scale and succeed. To date, Clean Energy Trust has helped its 36 portfolio companies raise $31 of additional investment for every $1 Clean Energy Trust has invested. Clean Energy Trust is proud that 60% of its portfolio companies have female or minority founders. Learn more at




Media Contact:

Jennifer Golz