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OU INC client Wave Water Works teams with engineering students for product validation

OU INC client Wave Water Works, LLC has a patented Oscillo Drive that converts the up and down movement of wave water into reusable energy and electricity. The company recently leveraged the strong relationship between OU INC and Oakland University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS) to successfully test their Oscillo Drive technology, verifying the device’s production and output of energy and electricity.  

Wave Water Works utilized talented students through the school’s senior design course. This requirement for OU senior-level engineering students brings together mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering students to work on real-world projects that demand the skills and knowledge of each of their disciplines. A State of Michigan Business Accelerator Fund award allowed for OU INC to partially fund the effort.
Based on the results obtained by the students, Wave Water Works approved an undisclosed operational testing site for the Oscillo Drive in Port Huron, Michigan. This extension of the OU SECS testing will allow for further measurement and monitoring of the power input and electrical output from the wave-water oscillating movements. Wave Water Works is additionally locating multiple working sites, including locations in Macomb County, Israel, and Lebanon.
“It is estimated that OU INC, through the professional efforts of SECS students and faculty, provided Wave Water Works with more than $1.5M worth of professional engineering services,” said Chuck Keys, project director and business manager of Wave Water Works.

Completing hardware and software research and development (R&D) for this startup green-energy company includes the following faculty and students:

·         Michael Latcha, Ph.D., ME, director, SECS Senior Design Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering
·         Daniel Aloi, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering
·         Oakland University Senior Engineering Students: 
                 -Tia Sherrard, Electrical Engineering, Team Manager
                 -Carla Gerst, Electrical Engineering
                 -Makayla Eckardt, Computer Engineering
                 -Mark Tarnicki, Electrical Engineering
                 -Brent Stelzer, Electrical Engineering
                 -William Carter, Mechanical Engineering
                 -Edwin McBride, Mechanical Engineering
                 -Paul Smyrski, Mechanical Engineering
For more information, contact Joan Carleton at (586) 884-9324 or jfcarlet@oakland.edu.

OU INC is a Smartzone Business Incubator and Innovation Center, in collaboration with the City of Rochester Hills, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and strategic industry partners. With a focus on the energy, medical device, and information technology sectors, OU INC provides entrepreneurial resources and strategic business solutions for developing business ventures and accelerating ideas to market. OU INC is a designated Soft Landing Facility through the International Business Association for international companies. For more information, visit oakland.edu/ouinc.

The Business Accelerator Fund is an initiative of the State of Michigan’s 21st Century Jobs Fund Program and is distributed by the Michigan Small Business Development Center (MI­-SBDC) through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan’s network of business accelerators. Through this program, OU INC is successfully delivering specialized business acceleration services to companies commercializing advanced technology.

Exlterra in Hazel Park installs India's first groundwater recharge technology


Hazel Park-based environmental technology company Exlterra announced the installation of its patented Energy-Passive Groundwater Recharge (EGRP) system at the Sushma Medicinal Ayurvedic Research Trust (SMART) EcoPark, an interactive learning space in Mumbai, India. The system has been engineered to work with the surrounding environment to increase water penetration, as part of efforts to revitalize India’s dwindling aquifers.

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Ford and Magna collaborate on reducing vehicle subframes using carbon fiber


Seeking to lower vehicle weight, reduce emissions, and improve fuel efficiency, Magna International Inc., a global automotive supplier, in cooperation with Ford Motor Co., has developed a prototype carbon fiber composite subframe which reduces vehicle mass by 34 percent, compared to a standard stamped steel equivalent.

Read more.

Royal Oak-based Powerly expands energy-driven smart home experience


Powerly, a Royal Oak-based utility-led smart home technology company, introduced their updated energy conservation platform at the annual DistribuTECH conference in San Diego.

Read more.

FCA Motor Citizens recognized for stewardship efforts


The City of Auburn Hills would like to congratulate FCA Motor Citizens, a volunteer corps assembled by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, for receiving the Clinton River Watershed Council’s 2015 Jerry Carvey Volunteer of the Year Award.

FCA Motor Citizens were presented with the Award for their longtime support and stewardship efforts in keeping our waterways clean. The great majority of their efforts were achieved through their participation in CRWC stewardship programs, such as Weekly Clean, Clinton Cleanup, and woody debris removal events.

Read more.

MagWerks LED develops cutting edge light technology

LED lights have a reputation as being lean, mean, and ultra-energy-efficient. The reality is, however, that the less energy they use, the heavier they become. It's a challenge that's keeping LED lights from reaching their full potential.

"It's a largely unknown subject but an important one," says Michael Pickholz, CEO of MagWerks LED.

The Oxford-based startup believes it has an answer for that dilemma. The LED lighting design and engineering firm’s technology aims to make high-powered LED lights smaller, lighter, and cooler. The first target market is automotive lights. MagWerks technology leverages the structural properties of magnesium, which is 20 times stronger than plastics.

"It brings a vast improvement in performance," Pickholz says. "It makes it lighter and brighter."

The 3-person firm has recently joined Automation Alley's 7Cs program, which helps new companies leverage advanced manufacturing practices to grow their business.

"There is a need," Pickholz says. "How can you grow a company fast enough to satisfy that need?"

Source: Michael Pickholz, CEO of MagWerks LED
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Vectorform partners with DTE to launch Powerley

A downtown Royal Oak tech firm and the biggest utility in Michigan are partnering to launch a new startup aimed at helping mobile users be more energy efficient.

Powerley is the product of a joint venture between DTE Energy and Vectorform, a digital experience company. The 1-month-old venture is launching a platform for utility customers to link their smartphones to smart meters, enabling them to take a comprehensive look at their energy use.

"Powerley can bring the technology and the expertise in energy efficiency to world," says Kevin Foreman, CTO of Powerley.

The Powerley home-energy-monitoring platform can help track energy usage down to the consumption of individual electrical devices. It also provides personalized tips on how to best save energy. Check out a video describing it here.

"A lot of our early adopters are either retirees or not as technology savvy as you would think," Foreman says.

The Powerley platform has been three years in the making. The joint venture currently employs six people and is looking to add a few more. Vectorform has also worked with DTE Energy to produce the DTE Insight mobile app, which allows utility customers to monitor and personalize their energy consumption patterns.

Source: Kevin Foreman, CTO of Powerley
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Indratech turns green fiber padding into thriving biz

If you're sitting on a cushioned surface, chances are you're sitting on foam. Indratech wants to change that, and the Troy-based business is off to a good start.

The 10-year-old firm makes the Indura Performance Fiber. The patented fiber padding is marketed as "green, non-toxic, recycled and perfect for use in any bedding and furniture application."

"Anything you can sit or sleep on," says Surendra Khambete, president of Indratech.

The company currently employs about 100 people, including 10 at its headquarters. It has hired two people in Troy (a R&D engineer and an accountant) over the last year to help it keep up with its growth. Revenue has spiked by 15 percent over the last year. The company sees its product as the replacement for foam.

"The good thing about foam is it's really tough," Khambete says. "If you sit on it, it will come right back up when you get up. The bad thing about foam is it's really toxic to produce."

Indratech boasts that Indura Performance Fiber has all of the attributes of foam but without any of the environmental costs.

"We are trying to get our foothold in the crib market, the mattress market, the automotive market," Khambete says.

It is also working with appliance makers to provide Indura Performance Fiber as an insulating material.

"We can make it quieter and warmer," Khambete says.

Source: Surendra Khambete, president of Indratech
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Oakland Energy & Water Ventures fund launches in Farmington Hills

A new second-stage investment fund is launching in Farmington Hills. Oakland Energy & Water Ventures will specialize in making investments in the clean energy and water spaces.

"We look at opportunities up to $100 million," says Chris Brower, managing director of Oakland Energy & Water Ventures.

Brower adds that the fund, which is made up of three partners, is flexible when it comes to what type of deals it is looking to do. Among them are joint ventures, partnerships, license agreements, and collaborations. The main things Oakland Energy & Water Ventures is looking for are patented technologies that are ready to scale.

"We're a bit more simplistic," Brower says. "We're looking for proof-of-concept technologies. That is our focus."

Brower says there are a couple of potential deals in the works but the firm isn’t ready to make an announcement yet. He adds that the company is focusing on clean energy and water plays because of global macro trends that are spiking demand for both clean energy and water to accommodate the growing world population.

Source: Chris Brower, managing director of Oakland Energy & Water Ventures
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Strategic Energy Solutions adds 8 employees in Berkley

When it comes to growing Michigan’s green economy, companies like Strategic Energy Solutions aren’t the ones that normally stand in the spotlight.

That’s because the Berkley-based firm designs and implements the energy infrastructure in large commercial and institutional facilities. It figures out what type of core systems (heating/cooling, electrical) should go into a building, the best opportunities to integrate alternative energy sources, and the best combination of all of the above to maximize energy usage.

“It’s all the stuff people never see,” says Steve DiBerardine, president of Strategic Energy Solutions.

Strategic Energy Solutions has been doing a lot of work with architecture firm Kraemer Design Group, taking on redevelopment projects in downtown Detroit for Bedrock Real Estate Services. It is also handling more work for local school districts in Livonia and Waterford, among others.

“I think communities are again open to passing bonds,” DiBerardine says.

That is all adding up to revenue growing by 20 percent over the last year. Thus, Strategic Energy Solutions has hired eight people, randing from engineers to CAD professionals. It currently employs 28 people.

Source: Steve DiBerardine, president of Strategic Energy Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

$600,000 EPA grant could clear way for future development of Oakland County Brownfield properties

Oakland County will receive a $600,000 federal grant to help local communities and developers determine if contaminated land can be reclaimed and redeveloped.
The grant was awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and given to Oakland County Brownfield Coalition (OCBC) communities of Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Pontiac and Southfield will each receive $60,000. The remaining $240,000 will be used in other Oakland County communities. This is the fourth grant Oakland County has received from the EPA to perform environmental investigations of contaminated land.
"These grants help our communities identify potential development sites for land that sat dormant for years because of industrial contamination," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. "Reclaiming this land helps our communities and allows for responsible development."
A similar $1 million grant awarded in 2009 produced 124 projects, with the proposed generation of $300 million in investment and creation of 1,800 jobs. Among the projects that benefitted from that grant are the Emagine Theatre, Royal Oak; Lafayette Lofts, Pontiac; Emerald Steel, Madison Heights; Stepping Stone School, Farmington Hills; Leonard Mill Trail Head, Leonard; Tractor Supply, Lyon; Tianhai, Auburn Hills and Milosch’s Palace Collision, Orion Township.
In addition to promoting industrial and commercial redevelopment, brownfield projects have converted industrial waterfronts to riverfront parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails and gas station sites to housing.
PM Environmental of Berkley and the six OCBC communities provided support for the grant application.
"The team at Oakland County Economic Development went above and beyond to gather the necessary demographics for the county and six coalition communities to make this grant application a success," said Michael T. Kulka, P.E., founder and CEO of PM Environmental. "This grant will be a great catalyst for further economic activity and greatly benefit the people and businesses expanding in Oakland County. PM Environmental is honored to be a part of this dynamic team."  
The area's long manufacturing history has left Oakland County with several abandoned, brownfield commercial and industrial sites. Water quality and the reduction of runoff and groundwater contamination are major concerns many homes rely on private water systems. Assessment and cleanup of the brownfields will allow the county to expand and continue its efforts to assist, encourage, and facilitate the redevelopment of these sites to meet the needs of its residents.
Waste Resource Management operates under the authority of the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. It facilitates the county Solid Waste Plan as well as coordinates programs and activities that support the environment, local municipalities, residents and businesses. The county's Brownfield Redevelopment Authority was established in 2001 to aid local communities and developers in obtaining brownfield incentives from federal and state agencies. 
For more information on the Oakland County Brownfield Initiative, see http://www.advantageoakland.com/CPHA/CPHAWaste/Pages/CPHAWasteBrownfield.aspx.

SurClean Wins 4th Annual Brinks Innovation Competition

Global Midwest Alliance today announced that metro Detroit-based SurClean, a start-up that produces laser tools for removing coatings in an environmentally safe and energy-efficient manner, is the winner of the 4th Annual Brinks Innovation Competition.  The competition was held on September 12 at McCormick Place during the 2012 Midwest Clean Tech Conference presented by the Global Midwest Alliance.  Chicago-based Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technologies (HEVT) and ARID Technologies were runners-up in the competition.

“The Global Midwest Alliance Clean Tech Conference and Brinks Innovation Award Competition has been an energizing experience, and we are grateful for the opportunity to present our laser-based coatings removal product before such an engaged and knowledgeable audience,” said Susan Sprentall, CEO of SurClean, Inc. in Wixom. “Winning the Brinks' Innovation Competition established additional credibility and generated exposure to potential investors for SurClean.”

SurClean’s laser-based products incorporate a disruptive technology to replace the use of harmful chemicals, media blasting and other abrasives typically used in the removal of paint and other coatings from aircraft, vessels and bridges undergoing maintenance.  SurClean’s system uses a laser beam to disintegrate and remove paint and other coatings like rust from substrate in a cost-effective, safe, energy-efficient, and earth-friendly way. The product SurClean has developed addresses safety concerns, environmental issues and hazards associated with the control and use of chemicals used in coating stripping, and eliminates the production of contaminated waste products in most cases.

Two Chicago-area companies were runners-up in the Brinks Innovation Competition. The first runner-up, Chicago-based Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technologies (HEVT), was represented at the competition by CEO Heidi Lubin. HEVT provides the transportation industry with high-performance, efficient and cost-effective components and integrated systems that foster the adoption of electrified transport and yield significant savings in fuel economy.

Second runner-up, ARID Technologies, based in Wheaton, uses innovative membrane separation technology to reduce evaporation and harmful hydrocarbon emissions at gasoline stations. The company, represented at the Competition by Mary Ann Tiberi, currently offers four primary products, including PERMEATOR, for gasoline stations; Membrane CRU for retrofit of carbon adsorption systems at bulk loading terminals; ARIDAS 150, a stand-alone monitoring and data acquisition system that measures fueling station vent emissions and pressure profiles; and the Integrated On-Spot railcar loading and fuel-vapor recovery system.

Sponsored by intellectual property law firm Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, the Brinks Innovation Competition helps emerging and venture-ready clean and green tech companies gain visibility for their technology and make connections with early-stage investors, researchers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and financiers that are focused on clean technologies, along with corporate R&D and business development executives.  Entries are judged by a panel of experts from regional universities, venture capitalists and business executives familiar with clean and green technologies.
About Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
Brinks has more than 140 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in intellectual property, making it one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world use Brinks to help them identify, protect, manage and enforce their intellectual property. Brinks lawyers provide expertise in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. The Brinks team includes lawyers with bachelors and advanced degrees in all fields of technology and science. Brinks has offices in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Research Triangle Park, Salt Lake City, Ann Arbor and Indianapolis. More information is available at www.usebrinks.com. 
About MRUN
The Midwest Research University Network (MRUN) is an alliance of university business development professionals dedicated to facilitating growth of technology spinout companies through start–up formation. MRUN provides a forum for universities, investors and entrepreneurs to work regionally in pursuit of local venture formation. More information about MRUN is available at www.mrun.us
Global Midwest Alliance is the only business-led economic development group for the Midwest region. The Alliance facilitates collaboration among key stakeholders to provide access to global business opportunities to the Midwest and realize economic value from existing world-class assets in the Midwest. The Alliance focuses on programs and platforms that help high growth companies develop and expand markets for businesses based in the Midwest, encourage and assist international business activities in the region, and integrate business, financial and scientific resources for successful commercialization of technology in the Midwest.  For more information, visit www.globalmidwestalliance.org.

Railmark launches two new eco-safe product lines

Railmark Holdings Inc., a Wixom-based company committed to developing green technologies for the railroad industry, has announced two new product lines designed to make the railroad industry more green and efficient. 

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Energy Department awards more than $5 million to reduce cost of advanced fuel cells

The Energy Department announced March 27 the investment of more than $5 million in two projects—led by 3M Company in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Eaton Corporation in Southfield, Michigan—that will lower the cost of advanced fuel cell systems by developing and engineering cost-effective, durable, and highly efficient fuel cell components. In support of President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy to reduce America's reliance on foreign oil, the 3-year projects will focus on meeting specific cost targets and boosting the performance of fuel cell systems for vehicles and stationary applications, such as stand-by power systems. These investments are a part of the Department's commitment to U.S. leadership in innovative fuel cell technologies that give American families and businesses more options that reduce petroleum use.

Overall, the Energy Department's fuel cell R&D efforts have successfully generated more than 300 patents and assisted approximately 30 products getting to market. At the same time, fuel cell durability has doubled, expensive platinum content has been reduced by a factor of five, and the cost of fuel cells has already fallen 80% since 2002.

To accelerate commercialization, the industry must continue to reduce costs and meet performance targets for fuel cell systems for vehicles and stationary power applications. DOE targets for vehicles include direct hydrogen fuel cell systems that, by 2017, have a peak efficiency of 60%, cost $30 per kilowatt, and have 5,000 hours durability, which is equivalent to 150,000 miles of driving. The two projects selected for award today will help drive technical innovation to meet these key targets.

3M Company—St. Paul, Minnesota—Up to $3.1 million

3M Company, in collaboration with General Motors, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Michigan Technological University, will develop a durable, low-cost, and high-performance membrane electrode assembly for use in mass-produced fuel cell electric vehicles. The approach is based upon integration of 3M’s state-of-the-art nanostructured thin film catalyst technology platform with other components of the membrane electrode assembly.

Eaton Corporation—Southfield, Michigan—Up to $2.1 million

Eaton Corporation, Kettering University, Ballard Power Systems, and Electricore, Inc., will leverage advanced blower technology to develop and demonstrate an efficient and low-cost fuel cell air management system. Eaton will modify their existing twin vortices series advanced blower supercharger for this project that will deliver more power and better fuel economy in a smaller package as compared to other supercharger technologies.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.

Find out more about DOE's support of research, development and deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

EcoGranite paves new way with recycled granite

EcoGranite LLC., based in Farmington Hills, was the first stone recycling business in Michigan. This family-owned and operated company turns waste stone into viable products including granite slabs, countertops and stone tiles, salvaging huge amounts of waste granite from needlessly ending up in landfills.

Read more.
26 OakGreen Articles | Page: | Show All
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