2nd Annual TransTech Energy Business Development Conference Highlights and Winners
More than 170 entrepreneurs, researchers, investors and industry representatives attended the Second Annual TransTech Energy Business Development Conference, held Nov. 6-7 in Morgantown. Participants hailed from 12 states and the District of Columbia, and included 26 high school students with the MARS robotics team.
Hosted by Industries of the Future-West Virginia, the conference featured 23 pitches, including seven from West Virginia. Two of the seven West Virginia pitches were presented by WVU graduate students who have started companies based on research done with their professors.
Conference organizer Carl Irwin with Industries of the Future-WV coined the term “TransTech” to mean transition technologies and strategies that move along the pathway to a lower-carbon, industrially competitive, and globally sustainable economy of the future. He said the goal is to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that encompasses startup companies, investors, and established companies that can be customers or strategic partners of the startups.
Six of the 23 pitches made at the conference were for commercializable projects – five for technologies developed at the National Energy Technology Laboratory and one for work currently in progress by a WVU grad student and his professor.
Vandalia Technologies LLC of Princeton, WV won the $10,000 “WVU Research Office Technical Assistance Award.” Vandalia Technologies creates safety devices using light for the mining industry.
“Best of TransTech 2013” awards of $10,000 each were presented to Pittsburgh firms Optimum Pumping Technology and SAVD Solar, Inc. In addition, Rev LNG, LLC of Ulysses, PA won a $5,000 “Best of TransTech 2013” award.
Top scoring WVU student companies were WindPax LLC, led by Justin Chambers of Glen Dale and Aspinity, Inc., led by Brandon Rumberg of Morgantown. Each won $2,500 awards.
WindPax LLC specializes in portable power generating wind turbines for outdoor recreational use. The company currently has a patent pending unit and has other patentable units under development.
Aspinity, Inc. specializes in the commercialization of ultra-low power electronics in sensor networks, which could be used in many types of monitoring.