Local companies take home grants from GE
By Angie Yang, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Wednesday, November 17, 2010
IceCode — a West Lebanon-based firm that has worked with the College to develop technology to remove ice from wind turbines — has been named one of five companies that will receive $100,000 innovation awards from GE to develop their ideas, according to Business Wire. IceCode received the grant after participating in the “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid,” which is part of GE’s plan to transform global energy use and develop a more efficient electric grid through open collaboration, according to GE.
“We launched the Challenge to encourage new thinking and spur innovation at every level of development,” Beth Comstock, GE senior vice president and chief marketing officer, told Business Wire. “The first step toward modernizing our grid is to uncover ideas and transform them into game-changing technologies and the Challenge has demonstrated that many great ideas exist out there. The smart thinking and compelling business cases presented make these innovation award winning ideas examples of pioneering entrepreneurship.”
IceCode’s technology uses powerful pulses to remove ice from surfaces, according to the release. Applying this technology on wind turbines significantly decreases the amount of energy required to de-ice the turbines in the winter months, according to IceCode’s website. Additionally, the technique eliminates idle time necessary to remove ice and inspect the turbines.
The new technology also reduces the damage caused by ice buildup on the turbines, according to the website.
“Every winter, I brave the freezing wind, quickly get in my car, and turn on the heating,” an IceCode official said in a video on the GE website. “On my way to work, I pass a wind farm where I notice that the ice has stopped the turbines from rotating. So I thought to myself, what if you could remove the ice buildup from the turbines without having to waste energy melting it. So my team and I worked together to create a technology that could, using tiny pulses of electricity, break the interface between the ice and any surface to which it stuck. One crack, and gravity does the rest.”
Another N.H. company, ElectricRoute, which is based in Salem and Hollis, N.H., will receive $100,000 from GE. Run by partners Bob Dalias and Darrell Furlong, it created a secure network for the electric grid that allows electricity to “always find the best route to take” to reduce blackouts and shortages, Dalias and Furlong said in a video on the GE website.
An inflatable wind turbine, a technology that facilitates precise control over the flow and power of overloaded power grids to control short circuits and outages, and a water meter that produces its own energy are among the other ideas that received award money for development.
Nearly 4,000 ideas were entered in the 10-week challenge, Business Wire reported. The entries fell into three categories: eco homes and buildings, renewables and grids.
An independent panel of judges that included a Wired magazine editor and GE executives chose the winners.
GE collaborated with four venture capital firms — Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer and RockPort Capital — to plan and execute the Challenge, which was launched in July 2010, Business Wire reported.