One Scientific moving forward with its disruptive technology

(NOTE: This article was originally published on Teknovation.biz)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

When you are involved in a disruptive technology that will potentially change the world, one of the greatest challenges is determining where to start.

That’s certainly the case with One Scientific Inc., a Johnson City-based clean tech start-up that has been the subject of several previous articles in teknovation.biz including this initial overview. We caught-up with Jon Barnwell, Co-Founder and Vice President, during a recent visit to Northeast Tennessee.

“One of our biggest challenges has been identifying where we fit into the evolving energy space,” he told us. “We can produce two energy carriers – hydrogen and electricity – with ultra-high efficiency.”

The question becomes what customer segment has the greatest pain and opportunity to gain? It’s a long list, and Barnwell says there is potential to serve them all.

One Scientific is commercializing multiple technologies including a 40-year old cost-effective method for generating renewable hydrogen anywhere in the world where there is access to water. Conceived and built in the 1970s by Michael Redwine, company Founder, the technology is ready for broad commercialization now that One Scientific has combined with another proprietary technology, a new hydrogen fuel cell, which will work to address previous safety concerns.

Yet, the widespread adoption of hydrogen as a mainstream energy carrier has not yet occurred, because it has been expensive to produce and convert to a useful form of energy.

Barnwell underscored that challenge by noting that there are less than 1,000 fuel cell vehicles on the road, most of which are in California. “But that’s about to change,” he says.

At the 2016 “California Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Summit,” stakeholders met to discuss unprecedented attention and activity in the use of hydrogen and fuel cells along with ongoing challenges. Honda Motors proposed that three key developments need to happen for broad consumer adoption of fuel cell vehicles.

Read the full story here.

Renewable Algal Energy has won four Small Business Innovation Research awards

TAEBC member Renewable Algal Energy (RAE) was featured in a two-part series on Teknovation.biz for its successful use of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants to scale its business model.

RAE’s CEO, Jeff Kanel, has been very focused and purposeful in using the SBIR program to strategically advance the company.

Kanel describes his keys for success in submitting and winning the awards: utilization of solid project management tools, inclusion of well-defined milestones and deliverables, and a clear understanding of the critical success factors.

RAE has created what is describes as “novel breakthrough technology to produce a sustainable, economically viable product from micro algae.” Those offerings range from algal oil as a feedstock for renewable diesel fuel to protein, carotenoids, and omega-3 fatty acids for animal and human nutrition.

“Our model is to be a technology licensor,” said Kanel. “We are trying to make algae a profitable endeavor that also solves a lot of global problems.”

Three of the four SBIRs that Kanel submitted were directly related to evolving RAE’s technology. The fourth, also focused on algae, was submitted by Kanel before RAE was founded.

Over a roughly six-year period, RAE has successfully won Phase I, II and III awards that have proven the viability of the technology, helped fund work to validate the financial model and scalability of the technology, and deploy a semi-works facility.

Today, RAE has strategic relationships, customers, and a technology proving ground in Arizona as well as a North-American developer with a site that is permitted for the deployment of RAE Technology.

“By going through the SBIR Phase I, we matched-up a proof on concept (that showed) what we were doing had a chance of success,” Kanel said. The proposal was submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2007. The award and work were conducted in 2008.

Phase II, again funded by DOE, ran from 2009 to 2012, with RAE collecting considerable amounts of data to show financial viability and technology scalability.

“We were moving the proof of concept to commercialization,” Kanel says in describing that period.

Phase III, which ran from 2012 into 2014, was an accelerator period when RAE deployed the technology in a semi-works scale effort designed to reduce the technology risk. This final phase helped RAE to secure contracts with interested partners.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series on the Teknovation.biz website to learn more about why and how SBIRs had a solid impact on RAE’s development.