MBI Researcher wins FLoW Transformational Idea Award

MuTherm, an Oregon State University spinout headquartered at the MBI, took home the 2014 FLoW $5,000 Transformational Idea Award with an innovation that will boost the safety of the nation’s thousands of miles of gas pipelines. MuTherm is developing a microchannel flameless device for powering the wireless sensors that monitor gas pipelines. The technology reduces the operating and maintenance costs of wireless sensors on natural gas pipelines up to 75% by using the pipeline natural gas to power the sensors instead of the conventional batteries. The market for a device, operating in real time, is substantial: it is estimated that there will be over 90,000 wireless sensors on oil and gas pipelines in 2014 with an annual growth rate of 30%.

Lead researcher Mohammad Ghazvini can be reached by email at mghazv@gmail.com or phone at 541-740-3932

The Transformational Idea Award is sponsored by Caltech’s Resnick Sustainability Institute and Draper University (the entrepreneurial educational program founded by venture capitalist Tim Draper) and rewards ground-breaking pre-commercial research.

FLoW represents the Western Region of the DOE’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition (NCEBPC) and is overseen by Caltech’s Resnick Sustainability Institute. The awards event was the culmination of a six month competitive process searching for the untapped clean energy innovation that lies in American university labs. The winning teams from six regions across the country will now participate in the National Competition in Washington D.C., June 11 – 12, 2014.

This year’s other winners are:

  • First Place, $100,000: REEcycle, led by a University of Houston student team, has developed a scalable process for reclaiming rare earth elements Neodymium and Dysprosium from discarded hard drive magnets.
  • Second Place, $40,000: GrollTex under a team from the University of California San Diego, is developing a novel process for manufacturing graphene that may be orders of magnitude more cost effective and less wasteful than current methods of production.
  • Third Place, $20,000: CinderBio, a spinout from Berkeley Lab led by a team of UC Berkeley students, uses microbes that thrive in the near-boiling acidic waters of volcanic springs to produce industrial enzymes with unmatched thermal and acid operational ranges.

This release is adapted from the original published June 3, 2014, in PRWeb.