Stevens Water, PSU Share Grant
July 18, 2012
Oregon BEST Announces Commercialization Grant to Stevens Water, PSU
Funds will speed commercialization of wireless sensing technology used for water, energy, and air quality monitoring in developed and developing world applications
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST) has awarded a Commercialization Grant to a collaborative project involving Portland State University researchers and Stevens Water Monitoring Systems, Inc., an Oregon manufacturing company, to accelerate commercialization of a wireless water, air and environmental sensing technology that integrates data collection with web-based analysis to help users more efficiently monitor and utilize resources.
The funding is part of more than $1 million in Commercialization Grants that Oregon BEST will award this year to fast-track commercialization of the state’s most promising cleantech products and technologies being co-developed by university researchers and private businesses.
“We’re pleased to be able to target our commercialization grant funds to help this local company advance a unique technology that will ultimately create jobs, improve the environment, boost energy efficiency and establish another Oregon firm as a cleantech innovator,” said David Kenney, President and Executive Director of Oregon BEST. “Our Commercialization Program offers grants and business support to Oregon companies like Stevens Water Monitoring that are collaborating with university researchers to bring clean technologies to the marketplace.”
The SWEETSense™ technology was developed at PSU’s Sustainable Water, Energy and Environmental Technologies Laboratory (SWEETLab), a research facility affiliated with Oregon BEST that has received previous support from the Oregon BEST Sustainable Built Environment Research Consortium.
PSU professor Evan Thomas, a Member Faculty of Oregon BEST and director of the SWEETLab, has collaborated with Portland-based Stevens Water Monitoring Systems since 2011 to develop the smart sensor and data management technology for domestic and international applications.
“The Oregon BEST Commercialization Grant allows our research lab to collaborate with Stevens Water in producing a competitive and useful product,” said Thomas. “The SWEETSense platform is already being used around the world, and Oregon BEST has allowed our team to move the technology from the lab to production.”
The $150,000 grant will advance the technology into full production, encompassing applications that include air quality and thermal efficiency sensors, water flow monitoring and other environmental monitoring applications. Although the sensor boards, power management, data connectivity, and internet-based analysis infrastructure have been developed and deployed in limited numbers, Stevens Water Monitoring will help with additional data processing work, including refinement of the remote calibration capabilities of the sensors. The company will also set up manufacturing and technical support operations.
The project team plans to establish a new company, SweetSense, Inc., to market the technology. The new company is a collaboration between Stevens Water, PSU, and other organizations adding value to the product development.
“Low-power, low-profile, affordable remote monitoring that integrates directly with web-based cloud computing services can provide solutions to many issues around health protection and sustainability of water, energy and infrastructure interventions,” said Scott South, CEO of Stevens Water Monitoring Systems. “By collaborating with Evan and the PSU School of Engineering and their SweetLab, and using the Oregon BEST Commercialization Grant, we’re able to advance the technology faster that we would be able to do on our own, moving more quickly toward job creation and applying this technology to help manage a healthy, sustainable environment.”
Although the SWEETSense technology was initially developed to serve international humanitarian aid agencies in providing real-time, automated monitoring information on water filtration, latrines, wash stations, cook stoves and other products, the team is finding domestic industry applications that have emerged as potential opportunities and markets. These include indoor air quality and water quality monitoring, as well as the efficiency of energy use in buildings.
About Stevens Water Monitoring Systems, Inc. www.stevenswater.com
Stevens Water Monitoring designs and manufactures instrumentation and systems for long-term monitoring, collection and data analysis of water conditions and related environmental conditions. Stevens’ core technology enables measurement of water level, water quality, groundwater, soil conditions and weather conditions. The purpose of this data is to enhance the user’s knowledge to help manage and improve the long-term sustainability of the environment and related conditions being monitoring. Stevens’ technology is expanding into advanced data collection and analysis through the development and integration of smart sensor technology directly with web-based data management/analysis programs via wireless communication. In addition to sensors, data loggers and web-based data management programs, Stevens manufactures certified wireless radios for environmental data transmission including short-range Bluetooth technology, cellular modems and long-range GEO satellite communications.
About Oregon BEST http://oregonbest.org
The Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST) is the nexus for clean technology innovation, building capability, convening collaborations, and accelerating solutions to environmental challenges that deliver prosperity in all corners of Oregon. Oregon BEST brings together Oregon’s significant R&D strengths in clean technology to support the commercialization of new products and services. Since establishment in 2007, Oregon BEST’s 210-plus Member Faculty have generated more than $60 million in research revenue from federal, industry and foundation sources to Oregon. At its four partner universities (Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland State University, and University of Oregon), Oregon BEST has established a network of seven shared-user research facilities. Oregon BEST Commercialization Grants are awarded to collaborations between entrepreneurs and Oregon BEST Member Faculty at partner universities. The first four Commercialization Grant awardees from 2011 have secured more than $1.5 million in follow-on funding, more than six times the total grant amount awarded.
Media Contacts: Gregg Kleiner, Oregon BEST, 541-740-9654
Sources: David Kenney, Oregon BEST, 503-725-9849; Evan Thomas, Portland State University/SWEETLab, 503-725-2898; Scott South, Stevens Water Monitoring Systems, Inc., 503-445-8000