About the MBI
The Microproducts Breakthrough Institute is a unique collaboration between Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory focused on the development and commercialization of microchannel-based technologies for energy, medical, environmental and national security applications. Formed in 2003, the MBI model is to include academic, federal laboratory and industrial researchers in the same facility and to support the researchers with unique fabrication, modeling and testing capabilities tailored to the development of microchannel devices.
Through a public/private partnership, and through research supported by federal and corporate sponsors, the mission of the MBI is to develop and commercialize with industry micro/nano technology and processes in the energy and environmental areas. Core competencies are in microchannel heat and mass transfer processes, energy systems, microreactor technologies, nanoparticle synthesis, and fabrication of microchannel components.
Microchannel-based technology is the MBI's core focus
The technical focus of the MBI is microchannel-based technology where we use the short diffusion lengths available in microchannels to significantly improve heat and mass transfer for a wide range of energy, chemical and biological systems. The use of microchannels for diffusion-limited heat and mass transfer processes frequently result in a factor of five or ten reduction in the size of the device. Examples of microchannel components include:
- Microchannel heat exchangers
- Microchannel catalytic chemical reactors
- Microchannel combustion systems
- Microchannel reactors for the production of nanoparticles
- Microchannel separations processes
- Microchannel kidney dialysis systems
- Compact power and heat actuated cooling systems
- Compact hydrogen production systems for fuel cells
- Microchannel desalination systems
- Energy storage systems
Research at the MBI involves device development and the development of low cost and high volume manufacturing processes for microchannel devices.
ONAMI and the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute
The Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve as a collaboration nexus for world-class industry, academic and federal research institutions in the Pacific Northwest.
The MBI, affiliated with Oregon State University, is one of three ONAMI Signature Research Centers. Sister facilities are CAMCOR (Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in Oregon) at the University of Oregon in Eugene and CEMN (Center for Electron Microscopy and Nanofabrication) at Portland State University.
ONAMI's sustained, effective advocacy on behalf of the MBI, in addition to direct support, have been instrumental to the MBIs success. The most concise overview of ONAMI's contributions would be incomplete without noting: ONAMI's role in acquiring the actual physical facility on favorable terms from Hewlett Packard; a substantial facility grant that supported start-up operations; a multi-year grant that matched facility usage revenue; the donation of funds to acquire state-of the-art computers and engineering design software; access to the services and expertise of a High Tech Extension program dedicated to MBI, CAMCOR and CEMN; and the advocacy that contributed to State of Oregon funding that enabled the facility to expand from 20,000 sq. ft. to 55,000 sq ft. of usable space for labs, fabrication floor, offices, enhanced classroom and conference rooms.
The MBI is deepy appreciative of OSU and PNNL for the positive and productive relationships it enjoys with both. OSU/MBI is administratively housed in OSUs School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufactuirng Engineering, within the College of Engineering. MBI's PNNL staff are members of the Energy and Efficiency Division within the PNNL Energy and Environment Directorate. In December of 2012, OSU and PNNL further strengthened their collaborative relationship by establishing two positions that hold appointments in both organizations.
The MBI is the sole occupant of Building 11 on the Hewlett Packard campus in Corvallis that Hewlett Packard has leased, at no cost, to Oregon State University for 30 years. The facility originally comprised 20,000 sq. ft. of useable space—offices, laboratories and a microchannel device fabrication facility. The State of Oregon provided funding to substantially expand the facility to 55,000 sq. ft. in a major capital construction project that was completed in 2010. Industry tenants in the MBI, as of January 2013, are Ecopolymerix, HTI, Inspired Light, LLC, Microflow CVO, OR-Cal, Inc., and Sunstone Labs. The Institute also houses numerous OSU labs and the Oregon Process Innovation Center.
Working with the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute
The MBI offers expertise in fundamental research and development, technology development, product development assistance and manufacturing process development assistance. We work with governmental or private clients on proprietary and non-proprietary topics with various intellectual property provisions under a range of standard contractual arrangements. Students and faculty can work with the MBI through the educational programs at both Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Science and Engineering Education Programs.
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