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Proposal could boost solar panel manufacturing, reduce Cincy's carbon footprint

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls introduced a motion that could change the way residents and businesses pay for powering their spaces with solar energy.

She says the benefits are two-fold -- increasing the demand for solar panel manufacturing and lowering the city's reliance on fossil fuels.

This plan is one of several energy-saving initiatives introduced since City Council adopted the Green Cincinnati Plan in 2008. That plan included a goal of one in every five Cincinnati buildings incorporating rooftop panels fueled by solar power by 2028.

"There's an emerging solar manufacturing sector here, and we would be creating a financing mechanism that would allow the demand to emerge for solar energy," Qualls says. "It's not a viable option for many property owners right now."

Qualls introduced a measure that directs the city to look into working with local environmental organizations like Green Umbrella, the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority to help create a Property Assisted Clean Energy, or PACE, financing program.

PACE programs is a public/private initiative that are enabled by legislatures in nearly three dozen states across the country—including Ohio—which help business and homeowners pay for energy upgrades to existing buildings. Typically, participating property owners can finance those upgrades as a property tax assessment for up to 20 years.

"It's tax neutral, promotes 'going green' and reduces our carbon footprint," Qualls says.

The city has used the property tax assessment mechanism before for property owners who have been responsible for other large fixes, Qualls says.

"It has been done to pay for costly repairs over time—that's the same principle PACE follows," she says.

Ohio passed its PACE law in 2009. In 2012, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority issued the first PACE bonds in Ohio for a project to upgrade the City of Toledo’s municipal buildings.

Cincinnati must pass its own legislation for a local PACE program. Quall's motion directs the administration to bring the legislation back to Council within 60 days.

By Feoshia H. Davis
Follow Feoshia on Twitter

Nortech honors seven companies at annual innovation awards

NorTech celebrated seven Northeast Ohio companies last week at its 13th annual NorTech Innovation Awards. The companies were recognized for developing new technologies that contribute to the economic success of the region.
“Innovation is critical in sustaining U.S. competitiveness, especially in this constantly changing global marketplace,” says NorTech CEO Rebecca Bagley. “We want to really highlight these innovations. Our goal is to create jobs, attract capital and generate a long-term economic impact in the region.”
The awards were given out in six categories: advanced energy; advanced materials; biosciences; flexible electronics; instrumentation, controls and electronics; and water technologies.
Local companies honored include Quasar Energy Group, which paired with Forest City Enterprises to build an anaerobic digestion facility on a brownfield in Collinwood. The facility, known as Collinwood BioEnergy, takes organic waste and turns it into electricity for Cleveland Public Power.
The system generates 1.3 megawatts of electricity per day and saves 42,000 wet tons of trash from landfills each year. Quasar has created more than 60 Ohio jobs with this technology.
Cardioinsight, formed by a CWRU professor and two engineering students, was honored for its development of a lightweight vest that aids in the diagnosis and treatment of electrical disorders in the heart. Cardioinsight paired with Nottingham Spirk to design and develop the vest.
“It’s a great partnership,” says Bagley. “They have a prototype that works and is also comfortable for the patient.”
Cleveland HeartLab, a spinoff from the Cleveland Clinic, developed clinical tests for myeloperoxidase, which is a plaque in the blood that indicates patients’ risks for heart attacks. Cleveland HeartLab has created more than 100 jobs since its start in 2010 and revenue has grown by 100 percent each year.
Other companies honored were NASA Glen Research Center, Akron Surface Technologies, Codonics and SNS Nano Fiber Technology.

Source: Rebecca Bagley
Writer: Karin Connelly

CSU wind power co. wins clean energy challenge, heads to chicago for regionals

For the second year in a row, Amplified Wind Solutions competed in the Ohio Clean Energy Challenge. This year the company won $10,000 and a trip to Chicago for a chance to win $100,000 in the Midwest competition.

Amplified Wind Solutions has designed a wind amplification system that can produce up to six times more electricity than a typical wind turbine. The company is targeting the telecommunications industry.
AWS CEO and co-founder Niki Zmij had eight minutes to present the company to the competition judges. They were the second company to present, but Zmij felt prepared and that she answered the judges’ questions well. Apparently, she was right.
“The winner was not to be announced until the awards reception at the very end of the day, but during our judges’ feedback session they decided to tell us early that we had won,” says Zmij. “They said our presentation really set the bar for the entire day, and wanted to ask us to present again at the awards ceremony so the other teams could hear our pitch. It was such a huge compliment.”
AWS is a Cleveland State University company co-founded in February 2012 based on technology invented by Majid Rashidi, chair of CSU’s engineering technology department. Other company members include Terry Thiele, director of sustainable product strategies at Lubrizol Corporation and Jon Stehura, financial manager at Laird Technologies and former CFO of Park Ohio.
The company has prototypes at CSU and Progressive Field. They have now completed designs for a third prototype, and Zmij is in discussions with several telecom companies about installing the pilot model on their towers. They are also looking for a manufacturing partner. Zmij predicts AWS will be ready for commercial sale in 2014.
If AWS wins the Midwest challenge in Chicago, the company will proceed to the national competition, for a chance to win an additional $100,000.
Zmij will earn her MBA in August and will stay with AWS full-time. “I'm fairly certain the entrepreneurial bug has given me the entrepreneurial virus,” she says. “I don't anticipate it going away any time soon.”

The company anticipates hiring additional staff in the third quarter of this year.

Source: Niki Zmij
Writer: Karin Connelly

flydrive's regenerative braking flywheel replaces battery in hybrid, electric cars

What started as a design project in CWRU mechanical and aerospace engineering student Kristen Brouwer’s senior design class has evolved into a full-blown business. Brouwer and three of her classmates took an existing patent for a regenerative braking flywheel and created FlyDrive, which makes a flywheel that replaces the battery in electric and hybrid cars. They are bringing their flywheel to market.

“In a Prius, for instance, when you brake, the electric motors are charged, which then charge the battery,” says Brouwer. “With our flywheel, it’s just as efficient in returning energy and doesn’t have to be replaced. And it’s environmentally better than batteries because it doesn’t use chemicals.”
Brouwer and teammates Jordan Lajoie, Luke Voigt, Kris Bosma and Cleveland Institute of Art industrial design student Adam Lauser have been developing the flywheel for market since September. “Most of our developments have stemmed from market identification and development as well as creating a preliminary concept for implementing the flywheel in a transportation system,” says Brouwer.

FlyDrive will be competing in the Ohio Clean Energy Challenge semi-finals next week, where they will compete for $10,000 and the chance to move on the Midwest regional competition in Chicago. The company has been assessing licensing options in the meantime.

“We’re waiting to see if we make it to the next level of competition,” says Brouwer. “It’s been a great learning experience.”

Source: Kristen Brouwer
Writer: Karin Connelly

This story was originally published in Fresh Water Cleveland, hiVelocity's sister publication in Northeast Ohio.

'technology days' aims to foster tech transfer between nasa and private sector

NASA will showcase its best developments in its Space Technology Program November 28-30 at NASA Technology Days, held at Cleveland Public Auditorium. The event will allow the public to see what technological developments come out of NASA Glenn Research Center, many of which could be adopted and implemented in the private sector.
NASA Glenn is working with NASA’s Office of Chief Technologies, which conducts ground experiments to further space technology. “Ninety-nine NASA technologies will be showcased,” says Joe Shaw, deputy director of NASA’s Office of Technology Partnerships and Planning. “We want to demonstrate the existing technologies.”
Attendees will have the chance to see technologies ready for commercialization, learn about opportunities to partner with NASA on technology development and meet with major research companies.
The technologies featured can be transferred into a variety of industries, says Shaw, such as advanced energy, automotive, human health and innovative manufacturing. “These are technology experts showing off their technologies,” says Shaw. “Even though they were developed for space aeronautics, they can be broadly used across many sectors. These industries are extremely important, not just for Northeast Ohio, but for to the Midwest. There are a large number of people in these sectors.”
The hope is Technology Days will build partnerships and foster technology transfer between NASA and local businesses. “These technologies can be moved quickly to the commercial sector, which creates economic development, which creates jobs,” says Shaw. This will give companies a chance to learn about the opportunities.”
The event is free and open to the public.

Source: Joe Shaw
Writer: Karin Connelly

ecolibrium solar launches ecofoot2 to aid solar panel installation

Athens-based Ecolibrium Solar has launched Ecofoot2, an update on their base for the installation of solar panels.
“The Ecofoot2 supports the corners of solar modules on flat roof and it ballasted to hold modules in place,” explains CEO and founder Brian Wildes. It combines the key components of the original Ecofoot – speed and cost effectiveness – with integrated grounding, wire management and increased weatherability.
Research and development for the Ecofoot2 began almost immediately following the successful launch of the original at Solar Power International 2011 in Dallas. Ecofoot was named “most impressive product” by SolarPro and has since been shipped to 18 states.
“Our design and engineering team generated 20-plus iterations of Ecofoot2, which were analyzed and optimized using virtual Finite Element Analysis (FEA),” Wildes explains, responding to customer requests. “Prototypes of various concepts were tested, and we then worked with an engineering firm to manage component sourcing.”
The final design was submitted to Colorado State University for aerodynamic analysis and Paul J. Ford for engineering to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Wildes says the new design is part of Ecolibrium Solar’s mission to make solar commonplace. “Ecofoot2 is the next step towards grid parity,” he boasts. “We are making solar more cost competitive with traditional energy by offering the lowest price per watt in class, tremendous labor savings with record breaking install speeds, and reductions in overhead through simple products and a streamlined ordering process.”
Source: Brian Wildes
Writer: Joe Baur

RES Polyflow welcomes capital influx to ramp up commercialization of energy-recovery systems

Mixed polymer and rubber waste represent the most robust source of energy available in our waste stream today. Yet, astonishingly, we landfill more than 90 percent of these materials annually.
Akron’s Polyflow, LLC, has an environmentally responsible solution. “We design and manufacture energy-recovery systems that convert mixed-polymer waste to fuels and petrochemicals before the waste reaches landfills,” explains CEO Jay Schabel.

The company, which was just established in June of 2012, recently struck a deal with private equity firm Ambassador Enterprises of Fort Wayne, Indiana, to form a new business to commercialize Polyflow’s systems. The new company – RES Polyflow, LLC -- will remain in Akron. The “RES” stands for renewable energy solutions.
“The influx of capital will help us scale up efforts to commercialize our technology and create new jobs in the renewable-energy industry in Ohio,” Schabel states.
He explains that Polyflow will be producing renewable energy locally and profitably. “Our fuel-conversion equipment doesn’t require excessive sorting, handling or cleaning of mixed-polymer waste and will significantly reduce the need to landfill or incinerate millions of tons of plastic waste annually.”
Polyflow’s pilot unit is in Akron, and the company used it over the past four years to prove its process, validate the chemistry involved and provide end-product liquid samples for testing and verification. “We conducted 80 test runs and successfully converted eight tons of mixed-plastic waste into crude oil,” Schabel says.
The company is completing fabrication of its first full-scale, continuous-feed processor. The facility is in Perry, Ohio, in Lake County, and will be able to convert polymer feed into the same fuels as the pilot-scale processor but in large volumes.  A grant from Ohio’s Third Frontier Advanced Energy Program in 2011 made this project possible, Schabel notes.
“Our goal is to provide licensors of our technology, such as landfill operators, recyclers,  organizations managing large polymer-waste streams and energy-park developers, with the most profitable, efficient and scalable solution for plastic-to-oil conversion. “Energy-park developers put together funding, find a location and jump through the approval hoops to get permits to vet technology for investors in the park,” Schabel explains. “They then build the entire energy park.”
The company plans to add technical support staff in 2013.

Source:  Jay Schabel, RES Polyflow, LLC

advanced battery concepts ready to charge ahead with energy-efficient greenseal

After three years of research and development, Ed Shaffer, CEO of Advanced Battery Concepts, is ready to unveil his new GreenSeal technology for improving battery performance in industrial applications.

“We’re licensing our technology to Crown Battery of Fremont, Ohio, and they will manufacture our first product under the Crown Battery name,” he says. “The product is a battery the size of a golf cart that can be used in variety of industrial applications, including fork lift trucks, tow motors, pallet movers and floor scrubbers.”

Ed Shaffer started Advanced Battery Concepts in 2008 in his Midland, Michigan, garage. In 2009, he established a partnership with Crown Battery in Fremont, Ohio.

“Crown was seeking new technologies to improve battery performance and they were interested in what we were doing,” he explains. “In 2010, they invited us to use space at their Crown Battery Renewable Energy Center (CBREC) in Port Clinton to help us accelerate our technology development.”

The partnership with Crown Battery and their space at CBREC enabled Advanced Batter Concepts to apply for and receive Ohio Third Frontier funding, he notes.

For two years, Advanced Battery Concepts refined and conducted internal tests on its GreenSeal technology at CBREC in Port Clinton and at a facility in Clare, Michigan. 
“GreenSeal technology improves lead-acid batteries,” Shaffer explains. “It reduces their weight and size, increases their cycle life and their power and energy. It also decreases the amount of lead in each battery, reducing their environmental impact while keeping them 100 percent recyclable.”

The technology will also speed up adoption of much-needed energy solutions, such as renewable energy, smart grid and electric vehicles, he says.

“Manufacturing this product will put us in a much stronger position in the changing environment of energy storage,” notes Patrick O’Brien, manager of business development at Crown Battery. Crown Battery has grown from 400 to 600 employees during the past three years. “With production of Advanced Battery Concept’s new product, we anticipate hiring more employees.”

Plans call for early production samples to be in customers’ hands by the fourth quarter of this year.

Advanced Battery Concepts is one of the portfolio companies of Rocket Ventures of Toledo, one of the six nonprofits that form the core of Ohio’s Entrepreneurial Signature Program.

Source:  Ed Shaffer, Patrick O'Brien
Writer: Lynne Meyer

eqed eyes growth as new solar microinverter makes solar more efficient

eQED is developing a solar microinverter that will improve the efficiency of solar panels. As with all solar panels, an inverter converts the output from the panel to AC power. Normal setups use one large inverter for an entire string of solar panels. eQED’s technology places one small inverter under each panel, increasing the amount of power gained from each solar panel.
The HIKARI microinverter provides improved energy harvesting, is more reliable than traditional inverters, and is easier to install and requires little maintenance.
“With the microinverter you can adjust each panel individually to adjust for shade or bright sun,” explains John Patrick, chief technical marketing officer. “This way you can extract up to 15 percent more power in shady conditions and five to 10 percent more power in normal conditions.”
eQED’s 250-watt HIKARI solar microinverter earned the company a NorTech 2012 Innovation Award in March. eQED is a partner company of Quality Electrodynamics (QED), a medical imaging company. Both are growing substantially. QED employs 87 people – up from 75 a year ago.
“We probably have five or six openings right now,” says Patrick. “eQED has 10 people, but that number will grow quite a bit as we commercialize the product.” eQED is in the final stages of development before sending it to market. Patrick says they expect to conduct testing on several hundred units later this year and begin commercial shipments in early 2013.
Source: John Patrick
Writer: Karin Connelly

ohio fuel cell coalition seeks to lead ohio's energy future

Pat Valente, executive director of  the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition, is convinced that fuel cells are the future of energy. The OFCC is a group of industry, academic and government leaders who seek to propel Ohio into a global leadership position in fuel cell technology.
Ohio has a competitive advantage in fuel cell technology, says Valente. “We have the supply chain (components), a skilled workforce, and ongoing research on college campuses and in business. We like to say that every fuel cell manufactured in the U.S. has an Ohio component.”
Valente touts the clean energy of hydrogen fuel cells. “The only emission that comes out of the tailpipe is water vapor,” he says, referring to the use of fuel cells in vehicles.
But fuel cells aren’t just for cars, trucks and buses anymore. Honda is working on an advanced fuel cell that could power a conventional household for six days. Stationary fuel cells are in the works that can power a shopping center or a small community, completely off the grid.
In late April, Valente was preparing for the Ohio Fuel Cell Symposium, which took place from May 1st-2nd at Lorain County Community College. “We’re expecting Honda, GM, Daimler, Hundaii, and Toyota,” among others. He thinks government needs to step up with stricter emission requirements, which would further encourage the fuel cell technology.
With a rising middle class in China and India, Valente believes it’s just a matter of time before the oil runs out to power all those cars. “We need wind, solar, fuel cells, a little bit of everything. “

Source: Pat Valente
Writer: Catherine Podojil

Ohio zoos get serious about green energy, boast country's largest solar canopy

Conservation has always been a major concern for zoos, from habitat conservation to protecting animal populations with dwindling numbers. Two Ohio zoos, though, are leading the way into another branch of conservation--energy conservation.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens and the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium have both made headlines in the last two years for their green technology efforts, investing millions while enlisting help from the state's green industry to become leaders in the field.
Over the past five years, the Cincinnati Zoo has invested $1 million in energy improvements, upgrading 73 buildings--including elevating five to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and other initiatives like switching to energy-saving LED lights for its annual holiday display.
The biggest splash in the Ohio zoo green movement is just starting to pay off, though. Earlier this year, the zoo completed construction on an $11 million, four-acre, 15-foot high "solar canopy" that covers 800 spaces in its parking lot. The system, billed as the largest, publicly accessible urban solar array in the country, consists of 6,400 panels that generate 1.56 megawatts--providing nearly 20 percent of the zoo's energy requirements.
Along with saving the zoo millions in energy costs, the project also includes education benefits. It funds 10 scholarships at Cincinnati State's Green Workforce Development Program and includes an onsite kiosk that shows the array's performance and extolls the virtue of solar energy. The zoo began using the array in April, soon after completion.
Melink Corp., owned by green technology activist Steve Melink, designed the structure and served as developer. It also secured the financing for the array, and will operate the array for the zoo. The Milford-based company jumped onto the "green bandwagon" early, specializing in high-efficiency restaurant exhaust systems since 1987 before moving into solar projects over the past decade.
Thane Maynard, executive director of the zoo, said there was no better place to showcase solar technology.
"As the greenest zoo in America, there is no better place to showcase this technology and to help the public understand that not only is this technology the right thing to do for our energy future," he said, "but it makes absolute financial sense as well."
The Cincy Zoo might have a battle on its hands for the "greenest" title, though.
Just up I-71, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium announced in October plans for a solar array to surpass its Cincinnati counterpart. Construction starts next year. 
"We're excited about the solar array," says zoo director of planning Barbara Revard. "Everything's still in the planning stages, but I think we're comfortable in saying that we think it will be somewhere between a 2.5-to-3 megawatt system."
Taking the lead in the project is Athens-based Third Sun Solar, one of the state's fastest-growing solar firms. Founded in 2000 by the aptly named Geoff and Michelle Greenfield and operating out of the Innovation Center at Ohio University, the company has become a regional leader in implementing solar technology. It's been named to Inc. magazine's “Inc. 5,000" for three years in a row.
The planned solar array isn’t the only trick in Columbus zoo's green hat, however. Three years ago, it opted to utilize geothermal technology in another of its projects, the Polar Frontier exhibit. Opening this past May, the $20 million exhibit circulates 300,000 gallons of water to a tank that serves as home to polar bears. The mostly underground system keeps the water at a constant chilled temperature, using a fraction of the energy of other options.

The zoo has also "gone green" in other areas, from pioneering use of new Flux Drive pump products that have led to a 40 percent reduction in energy costs, to recently installing "smart skylights" in one of its buildings.
The skylights, produced by Ciralight Global out of Corona, Calif., consist of motorized mirrors and sensors that rotate the mirrors to catch sunlight and reflect it inside, where its needed. The result is an electricity-independent, natural light source that provides better light at less cost.

"We joke that we're finding things in the warehouse that we didn't even realize were there," says Revard.
Columbus-based Energy Solutions Group worked with the zoo on bringing the "flux drive" and skylights into the fold.
Both the Cincinnati and Columbus zoos are leaders in implementing green technology, but they're far from alone. Every few months, representatives from all Ohio's zoos get together to talk about moving toward more environmentally friendly initiatives. The group, called the Ohio Zoo Green Consortium, consists of about 30 representatives from around the state, said Revard.
"The fun thing for us all is working together and talking about what we're doing, what's working well and what's next," said Revard. "It's our hope that we can not only share that information with other zoos in Ohio, but also serve as a model to zoos outside the state."

Timken, Stark State, Port Authority team up on nation's first R&D center for large wind-turbine gear

Technical students at Stark State College could be blown away by America’s first R&D center for large wind-turbine gearbox systems.

The Timken Company, Stark State and the Stark County Port Authority are building a Wind Energy Research and Development Center, the first of its kind in the U.S. Timken will use the facility to develop ultra-large bearings and seals on sophisticated equipment that replicates the operating environment of large multi-megawatt wind turbines. 

The $11.8 million research and development center will anchor Stark State’s new Emerging Technologies Airport Campus on 15 acres of property adjacent to the Akron-Canton Airport.

“We are very pleased to launch such an important project for the wind energy industry,” said Douglas Smith, Timken’s senior vice president of technology and quality at the center's groundbreakign in August. “Being able to simulate real-world conditions at full-scale puts us in a unique position to rapidly assess and qualify new solutions for the industry.”

According to Timken, the 18,000-square-foot center will secure 65 jobs directly, while creating a unique research practicum and technical certification program for Stark State students, offering them critical experience conducting research, developing new designs and testing large wind-turbine bearing systems.  It will also provide critical training for current and future technicians required by today’s wind turbine manufacturers and operators.

Joint funding for the project combines more than $6 million invested by Timken, $2.1 million from the Ohio Third Frontier, and $1.5 million in loans from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority's Advanced Energy Jobs
Stimulus Program.

Source: The Timken Company

Energy Optimizers helps schools on tight budgets reign in energy costs

Tight budgets have become a way of life for school districts, and many businesses that work with schools have felt the pinch of those pennies.  But one Dayton company is enjoying steady growth with a long list of school clients by helping them save money.

Energy Optimizers USA was founded in 2009 by Greg Smith and has grown from a two-man operation then to 15 employees today.  The company designs and implements energy systems that utilize renewable energy and conservation measures to help cut the power bills for their customers.

“We’ve grown pretty rapidly,” says Smith, who formerly worked for Trane in Dayton.  “There is a strong demand for this type of thing right now.”

 Energy Optimizers’ primary customers are K-12 schools and government buildings throughout Ohio and the Midwest.  

“I like working with education,” says Smith, who says he formed his own company because he wanted to expand the type of work he was doing with Trane.  “It’s nice to help out the people that are there to help kids.”

Smith’s company implements plans that usually save his customers about 20 percent a year on power bills and include everything from new light bulbs to solar panels and wind mills.  “If it uses energy, we’ve got it,” he says.

Energy Optmizers works with partners in all areas of energy use -- HVAC, solar, lighting and more.  They handle project development and installation and will even manage the system afterward.

“We really do it all, A to Z,” says Smith.  “As I like to say, ‘people understand it when they have one throat to choke,’” he says with a laugh.

To date, they have already implemented systems for at least 100 school districts and they expect that number to double in the next year.  When a client is paying about $500,000 per year for energy, saving $100,000 on their bill is a big deal.  

Smith says he is looking to hire two more employees right now, and expects hiring to continue over the next year.

Source: Greg Smith, Energy Optimizers
Writer: Val Prevish

Federal grants for energy, flexible electronics, could lead to more than 600 jobs in northeast Ohio

An economic development collaboration in northeast Ohio hopes that more than $2 million in federal grants will help it create more than 600 jobs in northeast Ohio during the next four years.

NorTech, along with Lorain County Community College, JumpStart and MAGNET will work together as one of 20 high growth industry clusters selected by the Obama administration’s Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.

The Ohio collaboration is intended to accelerate the speed to market for near-production or pilot-production prototypes in the advanced energy and flexible electronics industries. Flexible electronics includes functional films and inks, liquid crystal devices and displays, printed batteries and sensors, OLED lighting and organic photovoltaics.

Rebecca Bagley, President and CEO of NorTech – a regional nonprofit technology-based economic development organization that serves 21 counties in northeast Ohio – says the project will benefit not only her region, but the nation.

“Our national economy is made up of the interconnection of regions across the country,” she says. “This really helps accelerate some important industry areas in northeast Ohio, which then ultimately accelerates growth of the nation.”

The number of northeast Ohio companies in the cluster are growing, with 46 organizations counted within advanced energy and 28 in flexible electronics, says Karen Allport, NorTech’s VP of strategic outreach.

“This represents members of the cluster – that is, companies with which NorTech has a close relationship and are actively engaged in building the clusters in Northeast Ohio. There are many more organizations in these industries but we do not define them as members of the cluster, yet. Our job is to attract them to become a member of the cluster.”

The Ohio partnership, which was selected from among 125 applicants nationally, expects to add 630 jobs, more than $40 million in annual payroll and $38 million in capital attracted during the next four years, Allport says.

Funding to support the Ohio initiative comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and the Small Business Administration.

Sources: Rebecca Bagley and Karen Allport, NorTech
Writer: Gene Monteith

Photovoltaic windows? DyeTec could make it happen

Materials giant Dyesol Inc. and Ohio-based glass manufacturer Pilkington North America, both with a strong presence in northwestern Ohio, have teamed up to form DyeTec Solar. The venture, they hope, will become a truly transformative one.

"We like to say we'll be turning buildings into power plants," says Dyesol CEO Mark Thomas.

The partnership, funded with a $950,000 grant from the Ohio Third Frontier, will meld the glassmaker's expertise with new technology hatched in the Dyesol labs -- dye-sensitized solar cells. The materials, applied to common building materials, can turn any surface into energy-gathering solar panels.

Dye-sensitized solar cells (or DSCs) consist of film-like layers of an electrolyte and dyes. Like any solar cell, DSCs convert light into electrical energy. Unlike traditional solar cells, however, DSCs don't need direct sunlight. They're also comparatively inexpensive to produce and can be applied to any surface.

"It's a technology that has endless potential. Because its can be integrated into products that already exist and are already used, it's very cost-effective. But instead of a building just being a building, or a window just being a window, that building or that window can generate power and augment energy requirements," adds Thomas.

Dyseol had been working on the technology for the last 15 years, Thomas says. Three years ago, they moved beyond the research and development phase, striking a partnership with British Steel (NOW) to produce DSC-enhanced steel commercially available. DyeTec, the partnership between Dyesol and Pilkington, has just started manufacturing process for glass applications. The partnership expects to add almost 100 high-tech jobs as production nears.

When products using that glass hit the commercial markets in the next three to five years, consumers could charge car batteries by parking in the sun, charge their cell phone by setting it on their desk or see their electric bills drop when their windows are contributing to the power grid.

"We're very excited about the possibilities, and have very strong commitments from our partners," adds Thomas. "The potential is very clear, and very promising."

Source: Marc Thomas, CEO/Dysol
Writer: Dave Malaska
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