BY TIM MCCABE
One of the most important endeavors undertaken by Business Oregon is our assistance — through the Oregon Innovation Council (Oregon InC) and its signature research centers — of young Oregon companies seeking to tap the expertise of Oregon university researchers.
Through programs such as Oregon InC’s High Technology Extension service, the state finds these startups and connects them to state-of-the-art research and development laboratories at signature research centers like the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) and the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST). Oregon InC provides companies and entrepreneurs with the building blocks they need to survive and become commercial successes. In addition, research and commercialization grants help early-stage companies prove their inventions are commercially viable.
Three Oregon companies provide recent examples of how Oregon InC’s efforts help grow business prospects.
Beaverton startup Puralytics has already found global success with its SolarBag portable drinking-water purification system, which uses a nanotechnology-coated mesh activated by sunlight to purify 3-liter quantities of water in approximately three hours.
Most recently, Oregon BEST provided a $53,000 commercialization grant to enable Puryalytics to work with Oregon State University’s Institute for Water and Watersheds to develop a floating, solar-activated stormwater treatment device that could be deployed in retaining ponds or ditches along roadways and parking lots to keep contaminants from reaching streams.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has already expressed interest in the technology, which has the potential to keep highway surface contaminants from reaching nearby streams, as well as to provide emergency water supplies that meet EPA clean-water standards.
Puralytics, which previously received a $250,000 ONAMI Commercialization Gap grant for its SolarBag technology development, was named a Global Clean Tech Top 100 company in late 2012. The company employs 10 people and expects its 2013 sales to grow tenfold over the previous year’s sales.
Bend startup OnTo Technology received an ONAMI Commercialization Gap grant of $165,000 in 2012 to work at ONAMI’s Microproducts Breakthrough Institute labs in Corvallis to develop a way to recycle material from commonly used lithium cobalt xxide rechargeable batteries.
The company plans to extract materials from spent LCO batteries, fabricate new batteries, and perform functional and safety testing. Company officials believe the growth of waste from consumer electronics and electric vehicles demands the development of rejuvenation processes that are “green,” low energy and cost effective.
Finally, Portland startup Indow Windows continues to benefit from its partnership with Oregon InC. Indow Windows has developed a way to add glazing without replacing windows, reducing heat loss and providing better insulation than the single-pane glass typically found in older homes.
Oregon BEST recently awarded a $150,000 commercialization grant to support advancement of a “new recipe” of window coating being developed by researchers at Oregon State University’s Oregon Process Innovation Center for Sustainable Solar Cell Manufacturing (OPIC). As part of the project, CSD Nano, a Corvallis startup that specializes in antireflective thin-film coatings, hopes to also develop a low-temperature process for applying the coating to Plexiglas for Indow Windows.
These are three examples of how a partnership between Business Oregon, Oregon’s research labs and entrepreneurs results in globally competitive companies and jobs for Oregonians.
Tim McCabe is the director of Business Oregon. Visit oregon4biz.com for more information.