Sowing seeds for business

Startup companies and entrepreneurs work hand-in-hand with researchers
Xihou Yin, president, AGAE Technologies (Photo: Karl Maasdam)

Xihou Yin, president, AGAE Technologies (Photo: Karl Maasdam)

AGAE Technologies

Surfactants enhance cleaning, dispersion and emulsification in paints, household cleaners and other products. However, many are known to be toxic. Based on research in the Oregon State College of Pharmacy, AGAE Technologies has developed a biological method for producing surfactants that are environmentally benign and biodegradable. Based on licensed OSU technology, the new product is known as a “rhamnolipid” and is produced by a strain of the common bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Scott Gilbert, left, chief technology officer, and Todd Miller, president of Microflow CVO (Photo: Karl Maasdam)

Scott Gilbert, left, chief technology officer, and Todd Miller, president of Microflow CVO (Photo: Karl Maasdam)

Microflow CVO

The problem seems simple: mix two liquids with consistently uniform results. Manufacturers usually perform this step in vats where batches of liquids are stirred and then processed. Through research in OSU’s Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, Microflow CVO has developed stainless-steel micromixers that achieve high-quality mixtures by pushing liquids through channels slightly larger than a human hair. The dime-sized devices can be scaled and adapted to manufacturing needs in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical and personal-care product industries.

Applied Exergy
Renewable energy sources tend to be intermittent: They produce power when the sun shines or the wind blows. Based on research in the OSU College of Engineering and the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, Applied Exergy is developing methods for storing energy as “low-grade heat,” temperatures from 40 to 80 degrees Centigrade. The technology has multiple applications: energy recovery from steam plumes, integration with carbon capture systems and energy storage for use during peak demand.

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