The Maine Technology Institute awarded three grants totaling $15,000 to entrepreneurs working on advances in aquaculture, biofuels and alternative materials.

The awards from the state-backed organization were matched by $18,735 in private funding.

A TechStart grant worth $5,000 was awarded to Coast of Maine Organic Products Inc. of Portland, which was matched with $6,935 from the company. The company makes organic, marine-based fertilizer and compost materials.

Another $5,000 TechStart grant was awarded to Interphase Energy of Portland, developers of a pellet-burning boiler, which was matched with $6,800.

TechStart grants are intended to help develop ideas into new, innovative products or services. Grants are awarded monthly and may be used to support specific activities such as business plan development, intellectual property filings, market analysis or technology transfer activities out of research institutions. The next application deadline for MTI’s TechStart grant program is Jan. 5.

The other recipient of MTI funding was Revolution Research of Orono, a developer of eco-friendly packaging and construction materials, which received a $5,000 Kickstarter grant, matched by $5,000 of its own funding.

KickStarter funding is offered to individuals and companies seeking to submit proposals for federal small business R&D programs.

“These small but critical MTI investments will help these three companies conduct basic business research and planning to help convert their innovative ideas into new products or processes,” Brian Whitney, MTI president, said in a media release. “Each of these companies is engaged in rising sectors of Maine’s economy and will, as MTI’s mandate prescribes, help enhance the competitive position of the sectors.”