Texas State University has partnered with Arizona-based MicroPower Global to develop cutting-edge “green energy” technology.
The partnership, facilitated by the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and the Innovate Texas Foundation, will initially see MicroPower carry out its 12-month prototype development plan using the new Multifunctional Materials Laboratory at Texas State.
“Our investment through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund has helped create partnerships like those between Texas State University and MicroPower, and is moving Texas forward by developing cutting edge technology that will continue to enhance our state’s global competitiveness and eventually introducing these technologies into the marketplace,” said Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The idea is to build on a technology already planned for the 2010 BMW 5 Series, which converts heat into electricity for the car’s air-conditioning and other power systems. MicroPower believes that the work it will perform in Texas will yield new efficiencies that will in turn open up huge new applications, such as heat recovery from jet engines. The plan is expected to bring at least 28 jobs to Texas and to participate in a potential $330 billion market.
“Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Perry and the Texas Legislature for their investment from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund in this research center, we are able to partner with Texas State University and are pleased to be working together in Texas toward developing this cutting edge technology.” said MicroPower Chairman Max Lewinsohn, who helped finance the development of the company’s technology from the outset. “It is clear Texas State has much to offer with their first-class research expertise and facilities and a strong desire to see technologies commercialized. We hope to strengthen our relationship with the university as we work to eventually introduce this breakthrough technology into the marketplace.”
An Energy Revolution in Texas
During the initial phase, MicroPower aims to build its first thermoelectric-chalcogenide based chips, a device that can convert heat directly into electricity, leading to significant energy savings. The chips’ targeted efficiencies are in excess of 15 percent, or three times more efficient than the conventional material.
“Landing MicroPower with us in Texas is a direct result of the faculty talent and commercialization platform we have been able to assemble due to support from the Emerging Technology Fund and the vision of the university administration,” said Terry Golding, director of the Center for Research Commercialization at Texas State.
Working with Texas State, MicroPower’s goal is to drive development toward the world’s first 20 percent efficient modules, which will revolutionize the thermoelectric market. In addition, the clean, green technology is expected to save energy, reduce harmful emissions and lead to the availability of substantial carbon credits.
“Having searched extensively for a suitable development facility, it was immediately clear Texas State was the perfect fit for MicroPower,” said Ali Murdoch, MicroPower CEO. “As well as providing an ideal environment in which to complete this technology and grow the company, the support we have been afforded makes me extremely positive about MicroPower’s long-term future in Texas.”
Further cementing the relationship is the agreement in principle for MicroPower to relocate operations to the Interstate 35 corridor. MicroPower would be a key early tenant of the off-campus commercialization center, developed by Texas State in conjunction with the City of San Marcos. Groundbreaking is expected to begin within 12 months.
— FROM TEXAS STATE NEWS SERVICE/JAYME BLASCHKE