Commercialization Opportunity: Industrial Pneumatics Strain Energy Accumulator

The Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) has sponsored more than 240 pre-competitive fluid power research projects in its 10-year history. Some prove to be promising candidates for commercialization by an engaged industry partner. The CCEFP’s Industry Engagement Committee recently reviewed the current projects and identified some that meet that test. Here’s one:

 

Industrial Pneumatics Strain Energy Accumulator

Project Description: Implementation of the pneumatic Strain Energy Accumulator (pSEA) on industrial equipment that captures, stores, and recycles exhaust gas of industrial pneumatic cylinders to increase system efficiency and thus decreases use and wear on air compressors.

Value Proposition: Recently completed system efficiency increase studies have shown that the pSEA results in efficiency increases ranging from 31% to over 60% in industrial pneumatic systems that use a pSEA compared to systems that do not. DOE statistics project annual savings of $15K per compressor and $300M annually in US industrial pneumatics with even a modest adoption rate of 10%.

Research Student Profile: Josh Cummins is the current President of the CCEFP Student Leadership Council and has recently completed all of the requirements for his PhD in three years time at Vanderbilt University. Prior to attending Vanderbilt, Josh worked at NAVAIR serving as a Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) on multiple SBIR programs where he authored calls for proposals, reviewed submitted proposals, and provided technical direction to the selected small businesses. It is this experience in developing technologies at a low TRL through SBIR programs that has enabled Josh to elevate the TRL of the pSEA to a TRL 6, with recent experimental validation in a simulated operational environment. Josh has authored two proposals for the pSEA through the CCEFP. The most recent proposal was able to capitalize on a pilot commercialization program at Vanderbilt, formerly the TI:GER program at Georgia Tech. In this extensive nine month program, Josh led a team of two MBA students and two JD law school students, and worked with multiple legal and industry mentors, to develop a robust commercialization case for the technology. His future plans are to develop a full business plan based on a pilot/case study with an industry partner and to form his own engineering consulting company to commercialize this technology.

Sources of Support: Josh is willing and able to seek out other sources of support including government funding such as PFIs, SBIRs, etc.

 

This opportunity is available to all companies in the fluid power industry. For more information, contact Mike Gust at 612-624-4956 or mjgust@umn.edu.

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