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Washington Technology Center Clients

3TIER
Seattle

http://www.3tiergroup.com/

3TIER in the WTC news forum
RTD Award: Phase I

Research Partner: Andrew Wood, Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington

Project Phase Began: 2006

Hydropower is a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. In Washington, 76 percent of the state's electricity is generated through hydropower. 3TIER, a Seattle-based technology company, provides forecasting and assessment products and services for weather-driven renewable energy resources (wind, hydro and solar power). Stream flow forecasting is dependent on accurate, real-time estimates of the amount of water stored in the watershed as soil moisture or snow pack. Observations of the snowpack are increasingly available; however, proven methods for assimilating this information (particularly observations from new sensors) into existing hydropower assessment systems are lacking. 3TIER is working with Dr. Andrew Wood and researchers in the UW's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department to develop accurate stream flow forecast techniques that allow more seamless integration of short record data products into assessment and prediction systems. 3TIER plans to test these techniques on two river basins in Washington: Skagit and Pend Oreille. 3TIER and UW have a strong track record in developing this type of technology, receiving a grant from WTC in 2003 to develop similar forecasting advancements for wind energy.
Researcher: Dr. Tilmann Gneiting, UW Dept. of Statistics

Project Phase Began: 2003

3TIER is a technology company that uses advanced weather and environmental forecasting techniques and computer-based modeling strategies for forecasting renewable energies. The company is researching more accurate methods of short-term forecasting for wind energy, the world's fastest-growing energy generation source. In conjunction with Dr. Gneiting, 3TIER is developing an algorithm for short-term wind forecasting using multivariate time series and geostatistical space-time techniques.

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Advanced Electroluminescent Sciences, LLC
Woodinville

Research Partner: Alex K.Y. Jen, University of Washington, Materials Sciences and Engineering

Project Description

The Dept of Energy (DOE) estimates that over $50 billion in electricity costs is wasted annually in the U.S. due to the low efficiency of lighting sources. Incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs are inefficient producers of light. They have also reached their physical potential threshold with respect to improvement. The solution lies in new methods of converting electricity to visible light. White light emitting diodes (LEDs) are promising alternatives. However, for white LEDs to become widely accepted in the market, they must be cost effective and realize power efficiency and lifetime requirements for general lighting applications. Currently, LEDs do achieve greater performance as measured in lumens per Watt (lm/W) than incandescent bulbs (15 lm/W and 600 hours), and are approaching the performance of fluorescent bulbs at 80 lm/W and 10,000 hours. LEDs have the capability of delivering over 180 lm/W for 10,000 hours and more. However, key obstacles remain for the broad adoption of white LEDs for general lighting. This is primarily due to a need for high performance materials to convert the electrical power efficiently to the right spectrum of light, ensure stable performance over time, and enable low-cost manufacturing. Advanced Electroluminescent Sciences (AES), a University of Washington spin-out company, is partnering with researchers in the UW's materials sciences department to develop and prototype a new class of white LEDs based on polymers rather than inorganic molecules. Polymer-based organic LEDs (OLEDs) will better meet the performance and cost requirements than inorganic LEDs, and will approach a greater standard of color accuracy, durability, energy efficiency, and cost-effectiveness than current lighting on the market. OLED devices are being introduced to the market as displays for consumer electronic devices such as digital cameras. OLED displays offer many advantages, but have not been suitable for use in general lighting. AES' efforts focus on developing OLED devices which emit much more light, so that they can serve to replace fluorescent bulbs.

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Avista Utilities
Spokane

http://www.avistautilities.com/

Researcher: Gustavo V. Barbosa-Canovas, WSU Dept. of Biological Systems Engineering

Year project began: 2001

Dr. Barbosa-Canovas is collaborating with Avista, a natural gas and electricity utility, and Inland Northwest Dairies to develop an augmented milk pasteurization process, using pulsed electric fields to obtain a product of better quality and longer shelf life. Energy requirements are expected to be significantly less than the requirements of competing processes.

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Caldus Semiconductor
Richland

Researchers: M. Grant Norton and Hussein M. Zbib, WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Year project began: 2002

Caldus Semiconductor develops silicon-carbide-based semiconductor packages for high-temperature sensors that can be used in harsh environments, such as those found in fuel cells and the catalytic reformer. The recent move of fuel cells into the mainstream of energy generation provides huge opportunities and requirements for the company's robust sensor technology. They will collaborate with M. Grant Norton and Hussein M. Zbib of WSU to study interface structures formed during processing, as well as develop a model of the package design that will be used as a predictive tool for package performance and to shorten development time. Dr. Norton has extensive experience in the use of electron microscopy for interface characterization. Dr. Zbib's expertise is in the areas of solid mechanics, plasticity, dislocations, and applications to manufacturing processes.

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Enerdyne Solutions

North Bend

Researchers: Dr. George LaRue, Dr. Mohamed Osman, WSU Electrical Engineering Department

Year project began: 2004

This project will focus on developing a Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) Radio Frequency (RF) amplifier, for use in wireless communications and radar applications, that has two- to three-times higher thermal performance over existing designs. This has the potential to increase power and reliability without compromising battery life or adding to the cost, size, or weight of the device.

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EnerG2, LLC (formerly Lygan Tech.)

Seattle

http://www.energ2.com

EnerG2 in the WTC news forum

RTD Award: Phase III

Research Partner: Guozhong Cao, Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, University of Washington

Project Phase Began: 2006

With today's rising gas prices, alternative fuel vehicles such as gas-electric hybrids and biodiesel are more in demand than ever. However, better energy storage technology is needed to bridge the gap between generation of power and consumption of power in these vehicles. Battery power has limited capacity; hydrogen power is still in its adolescence. High performance or "super" capacitors hold immediate promise as a solution. EnerG2 is a Seattle-based technology company dedicated to developing environmentally-conscious energy products. In 2004, EnerG2 partnered with Dr. Guozhong Cao, Associate Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering department at the University of Washington, to evaluate the properties and performance of the company's carbon-based material for a wide range of industrial, environmental, military and medical applications. The team received $240,000 in grant funding from WTC to conduct this research. In this third phase of R&D;, Dr. Cao and EnerG2 are working to further optimize the company's technology for super capacitors and develop a commercially-scalable manufacturing plan for introducing the product to market.

Research Partner: Dr. Guozhong Cao, Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, University of Washington

Founded in 2003, EnerG2 is focused on developing and applying advanced technologies in the global energy sector. The company has teamed with Dr. Guozhong Cao to develop a nanotechnology-based industrial gas storage solution. While methane, nitrogen and other specialty gases have long been used in a wide variety of industrial applications, media for their storage have not been improved for decades. EnerG2's carbon-based nanostructures offer safe, efficient storage at an affordable cost, with the goal of reducing the industry's current dependence on high pressures, low temperatures and inflexible canister form factors to store industrial gasses. Initial research conducted by EnerG2 and UW's Materials Science department demonstrated that these specially-designed carbon cryogels are effective as high-efficiency, high-density gas storage media. This follow on grant funding will be used to focus on the remaining challenges to be overcome in order to commercialize this technology. The most promising potential markets for this technology are compressed natural gas (CNG) and industrial gas storage. Eventually, the company hopes to use this technology to provide a solution for hydrogen storage for fuel cell powered vehicles.

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Enertechnix

Maple Valley

http://www.enertechnix.com

About Enertechnix
Enertechnix develops and commercializes innovative technologies for environmental monitoring and improving the efficiency, cleanliness and safety of large-scale energy conversion processes. Since its inception in 1995, Enertechnix has developed and commercialized acoustic systems for measuring gas temperatures in large-scale boilers, and mid-IR imaging systems for visual monitoring of conditions within high temperature, particle-laden environments. Enertechnix is involved in a broad program of research and development, aimed at airborne aerosol capture and classification, measuring temperatures in gasifiers, detection of IEDs, and monitoring of personal exposure to toxins and allergens.

RTD Award: Phase I

Project Title: "Improved Efficiency of Energy-Intensive Processes through Control of Build-up on Critical Heat-Transfer Surfaces"

Research Partner: Associate Professor Alexander V. Mamishev, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Washington

Phase Began: 2009

Enertechnix, a Maple Valley-based manufacturer of high-temperature imaging systems, is collaborating with the University of Washington's Department of Electrical Engineering to develop algorithms to control the cleaning of heat-transfer surfaces in industrial processes.

UW will receive $100,000 in Phase I research and technology development funding from Washington Technology Center and $20,000 from Enertechnix for the project titled "Improved Efficiency of Energy-Intensive Processes through Control of Build-up on Critical Heat-Transfer Surfaces."

Cleaning slag build-up in Kraft boilers used in the paper and pulp industries is currently an energy-intensive and inefficient process. Steam cleaners are typically operated on a timed sequence, based on historical experience with fouling in the convective systems.

With this project, the collaborative team of Enertechnix and UW Associate Professor Alexander V. Mamishev plan to develop image-processing and estimation algorithms to automatically control the cleaning of heat transfer surface build-up to maximize energy efficiency. The implementation of the proposed technology would lead to significant energy and cost savings, and reduce the emission of associated pollutants and greenhouse gases.

"We are very excited at the potential of this project to positively impact operation of power and chemical recovery boilers. We look forward to working with the UW team to develop this technology and ensure that it is available to these energy-intensive facilities throughout the world."

George Kychakoff, President of Enertechnix.

"The intent of this effort is to move as soon as possible from laboratory experiments to real industrial environments. The University of Washington's Industrial Assessment Center (UW IAC) will work with the manufacturing companies in the Pacific Northwest to conduct field trials of the thermal imaging system that we will design."

Professor Alexander Mamishev, who serves as Principal Investigator in this project and Director of UW IAC.

"Enertechnix has an imaging process that allows high-heat industries, like pulp and paper companies, to 'see' inside their furnaces and clean them at optimum intervals. This allows companies to achieve maximum energy efficiency and minimum pollution levels, and both of those outcomes command a premium price today."

State Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-Maple Valley)

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Greenwood Technologies (business closed)

Bellevue

http://www.GreenwoodUSA.com

About Greenwood Technologies, LLC
Greenwood Technologies is a clean-burning, renewable heating solutions company, located in the Pacific Northwest. The Greenwood Technologies high efficiency wood and biomass boilers are available through dealers and retailers across the United States and Canada. More information is available at (800) 959-9184 or www.GreenwoodUSA.com.

RTD Award: Phase III (* project canceled)

Project Title: "Fuel-Flexible Biomass Hydronic Furnaces"

Research Partner: Professor John Kramlich, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington

Phase Began: 2009

Greenwood Technologies, is a renewable heating solutions company headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. Greenwood manufactures high efficiency wood and biomass boilers for residential and commercial applications. The company is collaborating with the University of Washington's Department of Mechanical Engineering to enhance the capabilities of one of the company's wood-fired hydronic furnaces.

UW will receive $76,536 in Phase III research and technology development funding from Washington Technology Center and $27,383 from Greenwood Technologies for the project titled "Fuel-Flexible Biomass Hydronic Furnaces."

Firewood is a highly desirable alternative fuel as it is renewable, domestically produced, low cost and abundantly available in many areas of the country. With the rapid increase of conventional home-heating fuel prices, a growing number of people are turning to alternative fuels such as wood to reduce their reliance on high-priced fuels.

Greenwood Technologies and UW Professor John Kramlich will continue a working collaboration in this Phase III project. The team plans to develop systems to provide fuel flexibility, low emissions, and high efficiency in wood-fired hydronic furnaces. Greenwood plans to reconfigure their next generation product line to take advantage of this new technology development.

Professor Kramlich says that the joint Washington Technology Center and Greenwood Technologies project has been one of the most rewarding he has worked on at the UW. The close coordination between the design and modeling work at the UW and the testing at Greenwood Technologies has moved the technology forward faster than would have been possible for either party alone. These efforts have propelled Greenwood Technologies designs into the select group of those furnaces that meet the Phase I EPA emissions criteria.

"The biomass heating category is exploding in potential and partnerships like this one with the UW will ensure that the technology thrives. Innovation is the key to our success."

Tom Eckmann, CEO of Greenwood Technologies

RTD Award: Phase II

Project Title: "Low Emission Wood-Burning Hydronic Furnace"

Research Partner: Professor John Kramlich, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington

Phase Began: 2008

Greenwood Technologies, a Bellevue company that manufactures a clean-burning wood furnace, is working with John Kramlich, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington, to develop a low-emission combustion system that meets strict environmental standards.

UW received $72,988 in Phase II Research and Technology Development funding from Washington Technology Center for the project titled "Low Emission Wood-Burning Hydronic Furnace."

Whole wood is a highly desirable alternative fuel as it is renewable, domestically produced, low cost and abundantly available in many areas of the country. With the rapid increase of conventional home-heating fuel prices, a growing number of people are turning to alternative fuels such as wood to reduce their reliance on high-priced fuels.

In this Phase II project, Greenwood Technologies and Dr. Kramlich will perform fluid dynamic calculations that will lead to the development of a new high-efficiency wood-fired Greenwood furnace design. As a direct result of their previous Phase I project, emissions from the Greenwood furnace are well below the standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for cordwood fuels. With additional work in Phase II, the furnace should be able to meet stricter emission and performance standards, including those set by Northeast states that will take effect in 2010.

"As a strong supporter of environmental protection, I was proud to support a bill passed in 2007 encouraging the use of biofuels and reducing our fossil fuel consumption. It is companies like Greenwood who make Washington a leader in the fight against global warming."

State Sen. Rodney Tom, (D-Medina)

"I'm pleased that Greenwood Technologies was able to win a competitive grant from the Washington Technology Center, enabling them to continue to invest in clean-burning wood furnaces. This kind of research helps improve the environment for all of us, and keeps attracting smart people to live and work on the Eastside."

State Rep. Ross Hunter (D-Medina)

RTD Award: Phase I

Project Title: "Low Emission Wood-Burning Hydronic Furnace"

Research Partner: Professor John Kramlich, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington

Phase Began: 2007

Greenwood Technologies, a Bellevue company that manufactures a clean-burning, wood-fired furnace for energy-efficient home heating, has teamed with University of Washington's John Kramlich, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Chair for Academics, to develop a low-emission combustion system for a wood-burning hydronic furnace. The goal of the collaboration is to modify the Greenwood Model 100 hydronic furnace design to meet or surpass Washington state's clean air wood burning standards.

The UW team will focus on the development of an advanced fluid dynamic model of the afterburning portion of the furnace, including a particle burnout model. Using the present furnace as a benchmark, the model will be used and calibrated in collaboration with testing by the Greenwood Technologies team. Whole wood is a highly desirable alternative fuel as it is renewable, domestically produced, low cost and abundantly available in many areas of the country. With the rapid increase of conventional home heating fuel prices, a growing number of people are turning to alternative fuels such as wood to reduce their reliance on high-priced fuels. By meeting Washington state's clean air wood burning standards through reducing particulate emissions from its furnace, Greenwood Technologies will open the door to a significantly broader market.

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Harmonics, Inc.

Seattle

Researcher: Dr. Thomas Stoebe, UW Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering

Year project began: 2004

Ceramic coatings are potentially superior to conventional thick film and wire heating elements for many applications. These materials could fill a demand for compact, high-watt density, high-temperature resistive heating elements.

Harmonics, Inc. develops and commercializes innovative materials for energy conversion applications and pollution control. The company has invented, and partially developed, a proprietary electroconductive (EC) ceramic material that will be used, among other process applications, for heating elements. A key feature of Harmonics' materials is its proprietary processing capability centered on the casting of ceramic tapes ("tapecasting") and the engineering of multilayered composite ceramic structures.

This project pairs Harmonics' staff with Professor Stoebe to develop a screenprinting process for depositing EC material onto ceramic substrates that, after firing, will be suitable for use as high-temperature heating elements. These heating elements promise to deliver more heat per unit area, heat up more rapidly, and last longer than conventional metallic or thick film heating elements. Part of the research will be conducted in WTC's Microfabrication Lab.

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InnovaTek, Inc.

Richland

http://www.tekkie.com

RTD Award: Phase I

Project Title: "Development of Computer Models and Control Schemes for Biofuel-based Fuel Cell Systems"

Research Partner: Patrick Pedrow, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Washington State University, Pullman

Project Began: 2008

InnovaTek, a Richland-based developer of patented technologies for sustainable power and environmental safety, is teamed with Washington State University to improve InnovaTek's hydrogen fuel processor technology.

WSU received $64,275 in Phase I Research and Technology Development funding from Washington Technology Center and an additional $12,812 from InnovaTek for the project titled "Development of Computer Models and Control Schemes for Biofuel-based Fuel Cell Systems."

Hydrogen fuel cells are an alternative energy source that converts the chemical energy stored in hydrogen to electrical energy without greenhouse gas emissions. However, the transport and storage of hydrogen is expensive and difficult due to its low volumetric energy density. Therefore, the use of energy dense liquid fuels, such as biodiesel for the production of hydrogen at the place of use, will allow fuel cells to be employed for the production of electricity using the existing fuel distribution network.

In this Phase I project, InnovaTek and Patrick Pedrow, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Washington State University, will develop a microchip-based control system that integrates InnovaTek's InnovaGen fuel processor with commercially available fuel cells. A well-defined and developed control system should not only ensure smooth and safe operation at steady-state conditions, but also provide fast and consistent performance.

Commercial development of InnovaTek's technology will create a power production technology that can utilize current gasoline, diesel and biodiesel distribution infrastructures to provide a clean, quiet and energy-efficient electrical energy generating system.

"InnovaTek is a jewel in the crown of our district. The Tri-Cities is fortunate to be rich in technological innovation. InnovaTek's work on alternative energy will likely be a major force in powering-up Washington in the coming decades. I'm delighted to see the talented people at InnovaTek receive this award. I'm eager to see its research transform the use of fuel processing technology and hydrogen-generated energy in our lifetime."

State Sen. Jerome Delvin, (R-Richland)

"I am excited to see the results of this collaborative effort toward cleaner, alternative energy. Washington, like all states, wants to reduce its dependency on oil, especially foreign oil. I am pleased WSU and InnovaTek are helping lead the way."

State Rep. Larry Haler, (R-Richland)

Research Partner: Dr. Patrick Pedrow, WSU School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Project Began: 2003

One of InnovaTek's projects includes developing a diesel-based fuel processor to supply hydrogen for electrical generation by fuel cells. Using a plasma-enhanced metal organic chemical vapor deposition system available at WSU, research collaboration with Dr. Pedrow will help InnovaTek test the process of placing metal coatings directly onto microchannel surfaces - a technology it expects will greatly enhance its processor efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs.

Research Partner: Philip C. Malte, UW Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

Project Began: 2001

InnovaTek is an early-stage, technology-based company that creates innovative solutions for health, safety, and energy applications. Working with Dr. Malte, the company is developing and testing a fuel-injection component for a diesel and natural-gas-based fuel processor to supply hydrogen for electrical generation - creating a power production technology that can use the nation's current fuel distribution infrastructure to provide a clean, quiet, and energy-efficient electrical-energy-generating system.

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Neah Power Systems

Bothell

http://www.neahpower.com

Neah Power Systems in the WTC news forum

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Nu Element, Inc.

Tacoma

Researcher: Fatih Dogan, UW Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering

Year project began: 2000

An alternative energy company founded in 1998, Nu Element is targeting the commercialization of reliable, cost-effective power sources for households and businesses. Currently, the company is concentrating on patent-pending technology of proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells, and developing new materials for low-operating-temperature solid oxide fuel cells -- the focus of this project.

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Paine Electronics

Wenatchee

Researcher: Dr. David Bahr, WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Year project began: 2004

Research efforts will produce two prototype strain sensors for Paine's pressure gauges, which will increase the products' sensitivity while maintaining the robust mechanical reliability of the devices. Paine's pressure transducers and pressure transmitters are used in aerospace, defense, oil and gas, marine, and other industries.

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