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Economic Development Office

Tri-Cities Tech Business Update

January 2007


InnovaTek signs hydrogen development agreement with Chevron ~ ~

InnovaTek logo

InnovaTek, Richland, has signed a joint development agreement with Chevron Technology Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Chevron Corp., to develop fuel processing technology for generating hydrogen from biodiesel and other liquid fuels. The technology is intended for use in refueling stations for fuel cell and hydrogen vehicles. Under the agreement, Chevron will contribute to the development of a low-cost approach for scaling up InnovaTek's InnovaGen® fuel processing technology for commercial hydrogen production and purification. InnovaTek will team with industry leaders in materials technology and manufacturing to achieve cost, operational, and efficiency goals for the system. The process developed under the agreement will use multiple feedstock fuels, including renewable oils such as biodiesel, to cost-effectively produce hydrogen for vehicles. Contact Patricia Irving at 509-375-1093 Ext. 222.

Infinia signs alternative energy agreementwith Open Energy
Corporation ~ ~

Infinia logo

In November, Kennewick-based Infinia signed an agreement with Open Energy Corporation, a publicly traded company headquartered in California, to develop a Suncone/Stirling Solar Electric Power System. The agreement combines Open Energy's solar-concentrating technology with Infinia's proprietary free-piston Stirling engine to produce renewable energy. Open Energy Corporation designs and manufactures solar energy products. Infinia's free-piston Stirling engines are being used for aerospace and national security applications where reliability and long, maintenance-free service life are required. The engineering teams at Infinia and Open Energy believe that the Suncone CSP solar concentrating power system can be modified to deliver more than 700 degrees centigrade of solar thermal energy to Infinia's engine, thus generating electricity cost-effectively without burning fossil fuels or emitting greenhouse gases. Contact J.D. Sitton at (509) 735-4700.

Kennewick company poised to capitalize on hydrogen economy ~ ~

Hydrogen Gas photo

Apollo, Inc., Kennewick, has licensed a new hydrogen gas sensor technology invented by Russian scientists, under an agreement with Battelle. Apollo Sensor Technology, a division of Apollo, will offer the sensor product, along with its other measurement and control products, to industries that manufacture, store, and use hydrogen in the emerging hydrogen fuel economy. According to Apollo Vice President Dan Briscoe, industry representatives have expressed a desire for improved hydrogen leak detection with a small, reliable, cost-effective hydrogen sensor that has a quick response time. The license comes under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Battelle, the Karpov Institute of Physical Chemistry in Moscow, and Apollo, Inc. The collaboration between the Russians and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (operated by Battelle) began five years ago under a U.S. Department of Energy program that funds technology development by former Soviet weapons scientists to help prevent the proliferation of weapons expertise. PNNL also provided technology and business assistance to support Apollo's commercialization of the sensor. Battelle and the Russian institute will receive royalties from Apollo from sales of the sensor. Contact Dan Briscoeat (509) 586-1104. More information . . .

Come UnGlued keeps customers out of sticky situations ~ ~

UnGlued photo

A new product invented by Richland dentist Jim Huffman has generated orders for more than 1,000 devices in one month. The product, called Come UnGlued, makes it easier to repair PVC pipes such as those used in irrigation and plumbing. Computer-controlled heat melts the cement bond that holds the pipe and fitting together, enabling a damaged piece of pipe to be removed and replaced while keeping the rest of the system intact. Customers can buy a complete system for $4,000 that includes components for working on various sizes of pipes up to 24 inches, or individual units at lower prices. Established in May 2006, Huffman's business, Debonding Systems, Inc., won first place for its product in the International Irrigation Trade Show in San Antonio in November. The product is manufactured by Tate Technology, Inc. of Spokane. Debonding Systems has offices in Richland and Spokane. Contact Jim Huffman at (509) 946-4143.

Software attracts new customers ~ ~

Software photo

Company Jones Richland, recently landed new customers for two of its software products. The Women's Business Center of West Virginia, a grant-funded agency that supports women-owned and other small businesses in that state, purchased the Learning Management System software to deliver online business training to employees statewide. The software comes loaded with approximately 200 courses covering topics such as desktop skills, performance management, and health and safety. The Business Center expects to train up to 5,000 employees with the online software in the first year, expanding after that. The Tri-City Development Council, Tri-Cities, Wash., purchased Company Jones' e-mail marketing software for its business-recruiting efforts and for e-mail updates to members and other stakeholders. Contact LeRoy Enger at (509) 942-0175.

Biofuel demo generates interest ~ ~

Biofuel photo

A biofuel demonstration at a local specialty fruit processor generated a lot of interest among Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and other visitors at FruitSmart's Prosser, Wash. location in December. The project is converting agricultural waste into a fuel source. The waste, leftover grapes, mint, and hops from Washington farmers, was processed into pellets by Yakima Chief, Inc. and burned in the prototype gasifer at FruitSmart to run its fruit seed-drying equipment. Washington State University students helped document which sources provided the most energy. The project was funded by a $50,000 grant from the Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board, $50,000 from the Port of Benton, and $75,000 worth of donated equipment and expertise from FruitSmart, Center for Strategic Alliance, REL Associates, Green Power, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The Port of Benton hopes to turn the technology into a new business venture. Contact Scott Keller, Port of Benton, at (509) 375-3060 or Jim Early, FruitSmart, at (509) 973-3500.

PNNL and Agilent collaborating on analytical technology ~ ~

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will use equipment and software from Agilent Technologies to develop techniques to better identify protein biomarkers that may aid in early diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Battelle, as operator of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, and Agilent Technologies, Palo Alto, Calif., signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement in December. Agilent Technologies, a publicly traded company with 20,000 employees and customers in 110 countries, will provide PNNL with specialized mass spectrometry equipment and software valued at $450,000, and DOE will fund researchers at PNNL to use the equipment and software in its research programs to improve the ability to identify proteins and peptides that may be indicators of disease and treatment effectiveness. Agilent will have the opportunity to obtain exclusive commercial rights to any technologies that come out of the CRADA and DOE will own the equipment for ongoing use at PNNL. Contact Bruce Harrer at (509) 375-6958.

Gary Spanner appointed to Sirti board ~ ~

Gary Spanner portrait
Gary Spanner

Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed Gary Spanner, who manages the Economic Development Office at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, as a new board member for Sirti. Sirti is a Washington State economic development agency focused on accelerating the development and growth of technology companies in the Inland Northwest. The appointment runs through June 2009. Spanner develops and directs programs to serve the technological needs of businesses and to diversify the local and regional economy. His programs have won 19 national and regional awards, including being named a national model of economic development by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Contact Linda Hemingway at (509) 358-2031.

Opportunities and Tools

Nominate successfully managed projects ~ ~

PMI Logo

The Columbia River Basin Chapter of the Project Management Institute is sponsoring its 14th Annual Project of the Year competition to be held March 6, 2007 at the Pasco Red Lion. Projects that demonstrated successful implementation of project management principles and met or improved on budget and schedule are sought for this award. Any project completed between February 1, 2006 and January 31, 2007 is eligible to compete. Nominations must be received by February 6, 2007. Nomination form. Contact Ken Albin at (509) 371-3552.

Scholarships for engineering students ~ ~

The Eastern Washington section of the Society of Women Engineers is accepting applications for two engineering education scholarships, each worth $1,000. The Wanda Munn scholarship is for nontraditional women who are re-entering the work force or advancing their careers. They must be pursuing an engineering degree and have finished two years of college in any field at a college or university with an accredited engineering department. The second scholarship, funded by Areva NP, is for women with at least one year of engineering credits from a Northwest school. Applications are due February 28, 2007, with winners selected on May 1 and announcements sent on June 10, 2007. Application forms. Contact Sandy Brower at (509) 375-3112.

Small Business Development Center now in Pasco ~ ~

Tri-City area businesses can get help from the Small Business Development Center at Columbia Basin College, which moved from the TRIDEC building in Kennewick to a new location at 1600 N. 20th Ave., Suite A, Pasco, in December. The Center provides business counseling, business planning assistance, loan package development, and small business classes. The Center has helped 640 businesses since 2003, including helping business owners get more than $7 million in loans and other funds. Contact Bruce Davis at (509) 547-0511, Ext. 3135.

Online now ~ ~

Computer graphic

Three new resources are online now: 1) The slide presentation from the December 14 Three Rivers Entrepreneur Network meeting, "The Washington Technology Center: The Right Tools at the Right Time"
2) A Tri-City Herald article based on the WTC talk
3) The winter 2007 issue of the Tri-City Alumni Update newsletter, geared toward former Tri-Citians.

Resources for energy entrepreneurs ~ ~

Energy TechNet is a free online resource for developing and advancing energy technologies. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the site includes a searchable database of resources for energy technology developers; a description of steps to develop and commercialize innovative technologies; news, funding opportunities and events related to energy technology; and links to other useful sites.

Coming Up

Lessons Learned

Learn from experienced entrepreneurs ~ ~

JANUARY 16, RESERVE BY JANUARY 12. "Lessons Learned from 30+ Years of Starting and Running High-Tech Companies" will be presented by representatives from Sirti, a Washington state technology economic development agency, at the Three Rivers Entrepreneur Network meeting on January 16. John Overby, Sirti's Director of Client Services and a successful serial entrepreneur, and Mike Urso, Sirti's Sr. Principal Consultant and former Fortune 500 company executive, are the featured speakers. The two will share tips about setting startup goals, obtaining financing, assessing technology-based products, managing, marketing, evaluating results, and accounting. They will explain how they use Sirti's Innovation Continuum Model to help new tech-based businesses in Eastern Washington grow rapidly. The breakfast meeting is from 7:15 to 8:30 am at the Richland Community Center. It's free and open to the public, but registration is required by January 12. Contact Janet Budzeck at (509) 375-3060. More information . . .

Tri-Cities Regional Economic Outlook Forum 2007 ~ ~


JANUARY 24; DISCOUNTED REGISTRATION BY JANUARY 12. The Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC) and Banner Bank present the eighth annual Economic Outlook Forum to be held at the TRAC Facility in Pasco, Wash. This event is an opportunity to hear economists and regional industry experts provide a comprehensive economic forecast for the Tri-Cities region. Special guest speakers include Jeff Thredgold, President, Thredgold Economic Associates; Bill Conerly, co-author of Thinking Economics; Keith Klein, Manager, DOE Richland Operations; and Mike Kluse, Director, PNNL. The entrance fee for TRIDEC members is $50 if paid and registered by January 12 and $60 for non-members. After January 12 and at the door, the fee is $65. The entrance fee includes the Speakers' Compendium on CD, a copy of On the One Hand. . . An Economist's Joke Book, all forum presentations, and a continental breakfast and luncheon. Print the registration form. To become an exhibitor, or for more information on the forum, contact Deanna Smith at (509) 735-1000.

Preparing for the funding process ~ ~

JANUARY 25; REGISTER BY JANUARY 23. The Washington Technology Center Small Business Innovation Research Breakfast Series presents "Preparing to Fund Your Technology Development," featuring Fred Patterson, SBIR consultant and president of The Commercialization Funding Coach, Inc. Patterson will share funding strategies for technology companies seeking capital for commercialization growth. The breakfast seminar will be held from 7:30 to 9 am at the University of Washington Club on the UW Campus in Seattle, Washington. The cost is $35. Contact David Gustorf at (206) 616-5457. Register online.

Satellite broadcast features financial outlook for 2007 ~ ~

Financial Market Photo

JANUARY 25. A satellite broadcast on Financial Markets: Outlook 2007 will feature a world-class panel discussing financial markets for 2007. Learn how the forces shaping the global economy will affect how companies make investment decisions. The broadcast is presented by the MIT Enterprise Forum Global Broadcast Series and will be held at Columbia Basin College, Pasco campus, from 4 to 5:30 pm on January 25. The event is free and open to the public. Register to attend by contacting Janet Budzeck at (509) 375-3060.
More Information . . .

Preparing for the funding process ~ ~

JANUARY 25; REGISTER BY JANUARY 23. The Washington Technology Center Small Business Innovation Research Breakfast Series presents "Preparing to Fund Your Technology Development," featuring Fred Patterson, SBIR consultant and president of The Commercialization Funding Coach, Inc. Fred Patterson will share funding strategies for technology companies seeking capital for commercialization growth. The breakfast seminar will be held from 7:30 to 9 am at the University of Washington Club on the UW Campus in Seattle, Washington. The cost is $35. Register online. Contact David Gustorf at (206) 616-5457.

Seminars for small businesses ~ ~

The Columbia Basin College Small Business Development Center offers the following workshops in December, from 6 to 9 pm. Fees range from $25 to $40, with a $10 late fee if you pay fewer than 48 hours before the scheduled course date. Classes are held at CBC in Pasco. To register, or to learn about these and other courses in the series, contact Daphne Larios at (509) 547-0511, ext. 3138. More Information . . .

January 9 - Starting Your Own Business: Questions You Were Afraid to Ask (1600 North 20th Ave, Suite A)
January 22 - Introduction to QuickBooks Pro (CBC, call for location)
January 24 - QuickBooks Pro I (CBC, call for location)
January 29 - QuickBooks Pro II (CBC, call for location)
January 31 - Financing Your Business (CBC B-101)

Resources Online

Got News?

We invite your contributions! We will consider items that fit the mission of this publication, including your tech-related news, awards, and notices of upcoming events. Please send text to Andrea McMakin at or call (509) 372-6013.

Tri-Cities Tech Business Update is published by the Economic Development Office at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Each month, we send you an e-mail message, giving you the link of news, tips, awards, upcoming events, and other information about local technology-based businesses and organizations that support them. With business and community partners, our goal is to build and diversify the Tri-Cities economy—adding skilled jobs in primary-sector industries that bring in outside dollars. Currently, more than 1,100 tech-related businesses, investors, and economic development stakeholders subscribe to the newsletter, mostly in the Mid-Columbia area and the rest of the Pacific Northwest. This newsletter (RL-P00-009) supports DOE-Richland's vision for the future of the Hanford Site and surrounding area through the creation of research opportunities, new industries, and new business clusters


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