MIPS Projects Fuel Alternative, Efficient Energy

By Martha Connolly

Mtech’s Maryland Industrial Partnerships program (MIPS) is working to fuel the innovation economy in Maryland. As the weather turns cold, we want to highlight MIPS projects with the promise to reduce energy consumption, increase energy efficiency, and explore new and alternate sources of energy.

We’re working at this by funding the development of promising new energy-related products. If these projects are successful, you’ll see new energy-related solutions, technologies, products and jobs in Maryland to help create a more energy-efficient world.

Takoma Park-based CoolCAD Electronics is working with Shuvra Bhattacharyya, professor of electrical and computer engineering and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, to develop a cost and power-consumption-optimized wireless sensor network for monitoring energy use in residential and commercial buildings. Sensing power needs and automatically adjusting for them will reduce energy consumption in unused parts of buildings.

Jewel Barlow, director of the Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel at the University of Maryland, is working with Genovation Cars to validate computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models for the company’s new plug-in electric hybrid G2 automobile.

Baltimore-based ProParts is also teaming up with Barlow to bring low-cost wind turbines to market that work under low-wind conditions and are easily mounted in residential or urban markets. These turbines could also be used as portable turbines for the military.

Germantown-based Renewable Energy Solutions and Barlow are performance-testing the company’s small-wind, scalable, vertical-axis turbine. Results show that the turbine performs well in a broad range of wind conditions for residential, small commercial building and other distributed wind applications.

Frostburg State University is building strength in alternate energy systems, and is working through MIPS on two commercially-directed projects.

Frostburg-based Sustainable Systems is working with Mohammed Eltayeb and Julie Wang, both assistant professors at FSU, to develop a prototype vertical axis wind turbine. This new turbine will have an innovative, active, aesthetically pleasing design that is lower cost, produces lower noise, performs well in both low and high winds, and is safer to people, as well as birds and bats living around it. The turbine will be able to be deployed on residential and commercial buildings and cell phone communications towers, as well as utility-scale wind farms.

Instant Access Networks partnered with Hilkat Soysal, a lecturer in physics and engineering at Frostburg State University, to develop an economically viable backup electricity system by combining battery and hydrogen storage with renewable energy sources to provide power for mission-critical infrastructures in case of a disaster or when the conventional electric grid becomes unavailable for a long period of time.

Owings Mills-based Differential Dynamics Corporation is working with Weidong Zhu, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, to develop a new type of wind turbine with a speed converter and a variable-torque generator that can reduce failure rates and maintenance costs, harness more energy, and reduce unit cost.

College Park-based FlexEl and Victor Granatstein, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Maryland, are working together to develop an integrated battery management system for FlexEl’s thin-film batteries. These light-weight batteries, first invented at UM, incorporate upstream energy scavenging circuitry and downstream load management circuitry to give end users an ultra-thin, plug-and-play power solution.

Dayton-based HY-TEK Bio is working with Feng Chen, associate professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, to optimize HY-TEK Bio’s technology to sequester CO2and additional harmful nutrients from industrial flue gas. This is done by enhancing micro algal growth, simultaneously creating clean energy from fossil fuels.

MIPS is addressing some of the most critical problems in today’s complex world. These MIPS projects we’re funding all have the potential to lead to new products, create jobs, and enhance Maryland’s energy future, today and beyond. Check on our progress to see which of these projects will change Maryland for the better. The results: better products, better energy solutions, and a better economy in Maryland.

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