ASU spinout Enkoat earns NSF Small Business Innovation Research Award

EnKoat, an advanced materials venture founded by ASU alumni Aashay Arora and Matthew Aguayo, recently won a $225,000 National Science Foundation Phase I Small Business Innovation Research award, a highly selective seed funding program known as SBIR.

The award supports the further development of EnKoat’s energy-efficient building coatings. The venture’s energy-saving technology embedded in paint, plaster and stucco can save up to 30% on heating and cooling costs. The coatings can be applied to interior or exterior walls or roofs of new buildings, or as retrofits to existing structures.

Earning a Phase I SBIR award will allow EnKoat to demonstrate its coating technology’s feasibility and performance, bringing it closer to commercialization.

This year, EnKoat has earned a number of awards, including selection into the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator and the Joules Accelerator, and a runner-up award in the 2020 EarthX climate-tech prize competition.

As doctoral students, Arora and Aguayo worked with Narayanan Neithalath, a professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, to develop a concrete pavement with phase change materials that is resistant to cracking when exposed to high temperatures. Phase change materials turn from solid to liquid and vice versa to store or release heat. This led Arora and Aguayo to explore how phase change materials could keep buildings cool, which resulted in their venture EnKoat.

Matthew Aguayo (left) and Aashay Arora pose atop the Agribusiness Center building at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus. Aguayo and Arora founded EnKoat, a startup venture developing coating materials that reduce energy consumption by insulating buildings outside heat or cold. Photographer: Connor McKee/ASU