West Virginia University students will represent three of the 23 entries competing for investment dollars and business deals for their innovations at the second annual TransTech Energy Business Development Conference on Nov. 6-7 at Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown.
“One of our goals for this year’s business development event is to encourage students and faculty to submit TransTech Energy ideas,” said Carl Irwin, energy efficiency division director at WVU’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy and creator of the TransTech Energy program.
TransTech Energy is a concept promoted by Irwin that focuses on innovations that can help transition today’s economy to a lower carbon, industrially competitive and economically sustainable economy of the future.
Computer science and electrical engineering graduate student Brandon Rumberg is president of technology start-up Aspinity, Inc., a company that he and his Ph.D. advisor, WVU associate professor David Graham, founded on their unique analog signal processing technology that extends the life of batteries used to power wireless devices such as smart phones.
Mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate student Josh Matheny submitted his concept for a micro hydro-turbine that he and his faculty advisor, associate professor Andrew Nix, are developing for Kingwood-based small business Preston Machine Inc. where Matheny is employed. Their turbine is designed to harvest energy from small streams in remote areas where power may be required but access to the grid is limited.
Mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate student Justin Chambers entered WindPax , LLC, a company based on Chambers’ patent-pending technology he developed with professor Jim Smith that uses portable wind turbines and batteries to generate and store power for off-grid recreational, military, and emergency applications.
These students are competing with seasoned inventors, entrepreneurs from the private sector and scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory for recognition and funding for their innovations. Panels of investors, economic developers and industry experts serve as judges to hear, question and score all pitches. The top scoring pitches will receive monetary awards and may attract additional funding from investment firms and strategic partners.
Sessions will cover biological and catalytic conversion processes, environmental sensors for control and monitoring, renewable energy innovations, and shale and natural gas-related technologies. While the conference is drawing entrepreneurs from Illinois to North Carolina, one session will be dedicated solely to West Virginia-based entrepreneurs.
The event is open to the public. The conference agenda and online registration are available at http://transtechenergy.org.