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Username: Detroitman

Post Number: 901
Registered: 06-2004
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Posted on Monday, February 06, 2006 - 8:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/c gi-bin/article.pl?articleId=28 727
NextEnergy may get HQ
By Amy Lane
• February 06, 2006

LANSING — Nextek Power Systems Inc. came to Detroit to work with a manufacturer on its alternative-energy technology.

Now, it’s considering moving its New York headquarters here — building on a foothold it’s taken in Detroit’s NextEnergy Center.
“Part of what attracts me to this part of the world is that there’s a huge pool of engineering talent that has been and will continue to be more involved in electronics,” said Paul Savage, CEO of Happauge, N.Y.-based Nextek, developer of a patented technology that routes electricity from solar panels or other sources to electronic devices.

Nextek, which has eight employees, has contracted with Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems Inc.’s Dearborn facility to build the next version of its routing system.

“What makes me excited about looking out into the future is that the fit of what we want to do and what Southeast Michigan wants to do is very close,” Savage said.

Nextek is one of nine tenants in a 45,000-square-foot research-and-development complex that is a centerpiece of Michigan’s four-year-old effort to become a leader in alternative energy technologies.

The center is operated by NextEnergy, a nonprofit corporation charged with advancing the state’s alternative-energy industry. Seeded by a $30 million state grant, NextEnergy has developed programs, built infrastructure and recruited companies to incubate at the center, targeting firms “that would feed off each other, that are noncompetitive, and that would work at different pieces of the problem,” said NextEnergy CEO James Croce, a former DTE Energy Co. executive.

NextEnergy’s services include business-plan and technical consulting. The nonprofit has secured $20 million in federal funding that flows largely back to companies or entities affiliated with NextEnergy for research.

Its 3.5-acre site includes the NextEnergy Center and two demonstration and testing areas — one for on-site or “distributed” power generation and one for alternative-fuels production.

Companies sign two-to-three-year leases for lab space and access to conference facilities, an auditorium, training rooms, and demonstration and exhibit space.

“It’s really a remarkable facility,” said Nextek’s Savage. “It’s several times nicer than the space we occupy in Long Island. It’s more of a kind of collaborative atmosphere.”

NextEnergy’s involvement has provided Nextek its first work on a federal military contract to create an “advanced mobile microgrid” — a product that could be taken to war zones or natural-disaster areas and would use whatever energy sources are available to meet emergency power needs, Savage said.

Separately, Nextek’s technology will get its first Michigan application sometime this summer. Solar panels produced by Auburn Hills-based United Solar Ovonic L.L.C. will generate electricity at Automation Alley’s Troy headquarters, and Nextek technology will be used to monitor and route some of the power.

Nextek’s power systems act as a gateway between locally generated, direct current, such as from solar panels and fuel cells, and lighting systems, computers, telecommunications equipment and other office electronics that need DC power.

The approach is designed to be more efficient than a conventional system, in which alternating current flows from a utility grid and must be converted into direct current. Nextek’s revenue was about $700,000 in 2005 and is expected to reach $2.5 million in 2006.

Nextek’s customers for solar-powered systems include Target Corp., Frito-Lay Corp. and Whole Foods Markets Inc.

Tom Anderson, senior director of Automation Alley, said the solar pilot will enable it to generate power, monitor savings and “really demonstrate for our businesses here in Michigan that solar-power energy is one of the things that can be on the table.”

Producing power at or near its use is a focus of initiatives throughout the state. Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon is a business incubator and R&D center focused on using alternative and renewable energy for distributed-generation systems.

But incubators are just one piece of the state’s focus.

NextEnergy has given more than $1 million in two rounds of grants to colleges and universities to develop alternative-energy courses. University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Lawrence Technological University, Kettering University and Lansing Community College won the initial grants. NextEnergy makes the curriculum available free to any Michigan school that wants to use it, but asks that if schools modify it, “we would like you to share it with us … so that we can continue to distribute more courses,” said Carolyn Upshaw-Royal, director of programs and education at NextEnergy.

More than 1,800 students have enrolled in courses developed through NextEnergy. In Southeast Michigan, such courses are offered at Henry Ford Community College, Lawrence Tech, Oakland Community College, Oakland University and Wayne State.
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Username: Merchantgander

Post Number: 1546
Registered: 01-2005
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Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 12:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nextek Power Systems Inc. is the exact type of company Michigan and Detroit need to target.
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Username: Tetsua

Post Number: 515
Registered: 01-2004
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Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 12:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I hope this pulls through, lets keep this ball rolling
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Username: Bobj

Post Number: 435
Registered: 11-2003
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Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 2:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There is a long history of tehnological innovation for the energy industry coming out of Detroit - sounds like a promising idea.

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