We're excited to introduce the teams that make up Cohort 2020, which are the teams that begin their participation with MEIA in the calendar year 2020. Over six months, each technology will be examined by a group of experienced energy executives to determine the market potential and the fastest path to market.
MEIA's goal is to help create or expand Maryland-based clean energy businesses. Learn more about the teams below, and you can keep up with teams' progress on the MEIA Blog.
Team Leader Professor Chunsheng Wang
Chunsheng Wang is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UMD-College Park and founder of WISE Battery. This technology is a novel battery system based on a water in salt electrolyte, nicknamed WiSE. This electrolyte, used in combination with a LiCl-LiBr-Graphite cathode and Li or Al anodes, could double storage capacity. The technology increases safety dramatically (it is non-flammable), allowing for applications where the battery gets physically damaged such as defense applications. The safety and cost profile may also make this battery a good candidate for utility and home energy storage, for electronics applications in polar or desert environments, or for electric vehicles. The use of safe, inexpensive materials could also reduce the cost of battery management and improve reliability.
Team Leader Andrew Wills
Andrew Wills is Director of Finance at Manta Biofuel, which is commercializing a technology and process for producing algae-based biofuels that was developed at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). These algal biofuels are produced using a low-cost high-throughput magnetic harvester with proprietary nanoparticles, as well as a low-cost hydrothermal liquefaction reactor. These innovations, along with a simplified biomass growth process, enable Manta Biofuel to produce a product that is cost effective in a competitive market. The algal biofuels serve as a replacement for crude oil in a variety of applications and Manta Biofuel is concentrating initially on heating oil. The algal filtration process can also be used to filter wastewater.
Team Leader Professor Bing Hu
Professor Bing Hu is professor of Materials Science Engineering at UMD-College Park and co-founder of HighT Tech. This patented method of manufacturing and tuning of high entropy catalyst materials will create high performance, perfectly mixed and stable multi-element catalysts. This technology enables energy-efficient, clean and low-cost catalyst manufacturing; enables discovery of new materials and performance optimization; enables multiple catalyst functions within one material; and enables alloying of low-cost elements to replace noble metals.
Team Leader Professor Meilin Yu
Meilin Yu is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UMBC. Weidong Zhu is also a founder of this Startup. The Navita Tech Hybrid Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (HVAWT) is a hybrid of two classic vertical axis wind turbine designs – Darrieus H-Rotor plus Modified Savonius. The Navita Tech turbine outperforms traditional VAWTs by providing lower cut-in speed, higher power co-efficient, less noise, and longer system life due to its more rigid structural design. Distributed wind customers require turbines to be placed where the customer needs them, not where the wind resource is optimal. Thus, the best turbine is the one that performs best under the widest variety of conditions.
Team Leader Pranay Kohli
Pranay Kohli is CEO of ACTIVEcharge, which offers an innovative approach to monitoring wind turbine blade health. This technology converts vibrational and rotational energy into electrical energy so that the sensors and data transmitters mounted hundreds of feet inside the blade do not need batteries or any additional electrical equipment to power the sensors. This reduces the long-term blade monitoring part of operation and maintenance (O&M) cost by 80%. Additionally, this eliminates the need for battery replacement and costly turbine shutdowns, increasing owner profits by approximately 1.5%/year. The technology is currently in prototype stage and looking to deploy a pilot with a turbine over the next 12 months.
Team Leader Adam Landsman
Adam Landsman is President of PulseIQ!, a unique and innovative energy management and information service company. It delivers significant energy efficiency and cost savings by utilizing the power of big data and analytics from their proprietary networked thermostats combined with a state-of-the-art suite of HVAC sensors, controls, automation and optimization. They also offer intelligent system monitoring and alarms allowing them to identify issues before they become larger problems. With rising energy costs and aging infrastructure, this service presents an opportunity for older buildings to improve their physical and financial health while also improving their social and environmental impact.
Team Leader Professor Dongxia Liu
Dongxia Liu is a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UMD-College Park. This technology takes methane and converts it to fuels and other carbon products via a single-step reactor. It is an H2-permeable membrane reactor technology that integrates reaction and separation into one operation unit to achieve high efficiency, low cost and a one-step process for natural gas conversion, other greenhouse gas conversion or ammonia (fertilizer) production. This technology has achieved >10% methane conversion and >90% product selectivity without catalyst deactivation in >50 hours continuous operation in direct non-oxidative conversion in the H2-permeable membrane reactor. This technology has great market potential in cases of methane flaring during oil extraction or in cases of chemical refinement. It turns a waste product into viable potential resources and decreases methane flaring, a large contributor to climate change.
Team Leader Professor Weidong Zhu
Weidong Zhu is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UMBC. The transmission technology, called infinitely variable transmission or IVT, mechanically converts a changing tidal current input speed to fixed output speed. The IVT improves tidal current energy harvesting, reducing the cut-in speed of a tidal energy device to accommodate low tidal current speeds, converting variable low-rotation speeds of turbines to constant high-rotation speeds of generators, and eliminating impacts of tidal current speed fluctuations on generators. This technology also applies to high torque, low speed heavy duty vehicle engines where typical gear systems are susceptible to slipping or stripping.
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