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Turning Innovation Into Enterprise


TransTech Conference Highlights Innovation and Opportunity in Energy and Manufacturing Sectors

TechConnectWV Executive Director Anne Barth and organization Board Members Kevin DiGregorio and Diane Newlon

The inaugural TransTech Energy Business Development Conference, held Nov. 14-16 in Morgantown, attracted more than 130 participants from 13 states.  The goal of the event was to promote investment in, and nurturing of, new companies and commercializable projects that provide solutions to energy, environmental, and economic challenges such as creating new jobs and more competitive industries.

Organizer Carl Irwin said TransTech Energy (TTE) refers to transition technologies and strategies that move us along the pathway to a lower carbon, industrially competitive, clean energy economy of the future.  He hopes this will be the first of many TransTech Energy conferences held in West Virginia.

“TTE technologies reduce greenhouse emissions, improve industrial competitiveness, increase demand for advanced manufacturing processes, and create new business development opportunities,” Irwin said.  He added that they are generally available for implementation in the near term, but research could yield even greater effectiveness in the future.

With TTE technologies, energy-intensive manufacturing companies and fossil energy industries can reduce emissions and improve efficiencies.  A list of examples of TTE technologies can be found on the conference website.

(L to R) Carl Irwin of IOF-WVU, Dr. Lynn Daniels of U.S. Dept. of Energy and Tom Minnich of RCBI

TransTech Energy Panel discussions during the conference examined the development and deployment of TransTech Energy innovations, advanced manufacturing, intellectual property, and the future of industrial energy use and vehicle technologies.

In addition, 15 startup firms–focused on fossil energy, renewables, or energy recovery–pitched their business proposals for new and innovative technologies before panels of judges.  Of the 15 presenting companies two were selected by the judges for “Best of TransTech 2012” awards – SenSevere LLC of Pittsburgh, PA and CavitroniX Corp. of Bristol, VA.

Dr. Cheryl Martin, newly appointed Interim Director of ARPA-E, discussed the agency’s goals for stimulating and commercializing research.  In his keynote remarks, Greg Babe of Orbital Engineering discussed the role of sustainability, innovation and education in terms of TransTech energy opportunities. David Wilhelm called on conference participants to be intentional about creating sustainable value for the Appalachia region with TransTech investments, saying, “Things don’t happen by accident.”

Conference co-sponsors included TechConnectWV and other organizations such as ARPA-E, American Electric Power, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, the WV Division of Energy, the WV Manufacturing Extension Program, WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy, Innovation Works, Dinsmore and Shohl, and others. For additional information on the conference including Power Point presentations, click here.