The Maine Technology Institute said Tuesday that it has approved four development awards totaling $761,348, funding work on new parachute fabrics, wind turbine systems, paper mill technology and websites to aid with adult education.

According to MTI, the awards were matched with $890,047 from the companies.

The development awards are loans to companies and technology transfer projects that advance Maine’s economy by creating new products, services and process improvements that help companies start up or remain competitive, MTI said in the release. The awards are up to $500,000, and are offered three times a year on a competitive basis to support early activities for product development, commercialization, technology transfer and business planning and development.

“MTI’s Development Awards give Maine companies the boost that they are looking for as they prepare to bring innovative technologies to the market,” said MTI President Betsy Biemann in the release. “The funding is often critical to get them to that next phase, and the visibility and credibility of receiving an MTI award can help them attract additional investment as well.”

The four companies getting development awards this round were:

  • Wizbe Innovations LLC of Manchester, which received $64,000. Wizbe will further develop a parachute fabric for the U.S. Army with controllable and adjustable permeability. Wizbe began its work with a U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop a prototype fabric. Using precision manufacturing, the fabric integrates an electronic system into the fabric.
  • Pika Energy LLC of Gorham received $274,291 for their low cost wind turbine system. Pika will develop a wind turbine system that offers lower upfront costs to make it easier and less expensive for families and businesses to produce renewable electricity.
  • Cerealus Holdings in Waterville received $261,849 for their new filler technology, which will enable paper mills to reduce costs by substituting ash filler for expensive pulp fiber.
  • RainStorm Inc. of Orono received $161,208 for their CourseStorm Registration Software. The company will use the award to expand access to affordable education opportunities nationally by providing local adult education programs with a simple, affordable course catalog and online registration website.