PITTSBURGH, PA –On May 18th in Pittsburgh during the 5th Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest the following four companies each walked away with a winner’s check for $20,000:
Bill Hall, Ben Franklin SGICC Director noted, “The 12 finalists once again show the diversity of ideas being brought to the table by entrepreneurs and small companies in the region to help advance the shale energy play. Innovations are now more than ever, critically important to the industry as we manage through this downturn. Continuous innovation is needed in every sector of the industry and all along the value chain, and this is exactly the space that the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center (SGICC) works in every day.”
At the event, Joe Frantz, Vice President of Engineering Technology for Range Resources provided a keynote address where he discussed just some of the incredible advancements that have been made recently by companies to improve their performance. He also noted, “What I like about the Innovation Contest process is that I always see several new technologies that might help Range further improve our operations. I take the new ideas back to the office and meet with other staff to see where they might fit in."
Hoon Won, President of Compass Natural Gas commented, “It’s an honor for Compass Natural Gas Partners to be recognized by SGICC and its distinguished panel of judges. Compass has benefited from the association with and support from SGICC. SGICC’s work to catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship in the Marcellus is important to the future of the state and the region.”
Gordon Craig, Chief Technology Officer from Epiphany noted, “Epiphany Water Solutions is honored to be recognized by the Shale Gas Innovation Contest and its well qualified panel of judges as a winner of the 2016 Shale Gas Innovation Contest. The contest is a great way to continue to improve the safety, efficiency, profitability and sustainability of the shale gas industry. The competition is especially valuable to Epiphany as it highlights our technologies in front of key personnel within the industry. It’s not often that you get to speak about your company and technology in front of the decision makers of so many E&P organizations.”
Donny Beaver, CEO of HalenHardy noted, “SGICC and the Ben Franklin program have been instrumental in helping HalenHardy innovate new products since our inception. They’ve not only provided much needed early stage funding but also continue to offer us world class advice and business connections. Bill Hall and John Siggins are constantly encouraging us. We could not have come this far so quickly without their priceless input.”
This year the contest once again also included a winner from the state of West Virginia thanks to a grant provided to the SGICC from the Benedum Foundation. That winner was Aridea Solutions from Charleston, WV. Their on-demand pneumatic actuated valve system allows valves at remote sites such as pipelines in rugged terrain to be controlled at significantly lower costs than traditional SCADA systems.
This year’s event also included a panel of previous Innovation Contest winners that fielded questions posed by shale energy expert Katie Klaber, President of the Klaber Group. The panel that included KCF Technologies, Optimum Technologies, and PIX Controller addressed topics ranging from the support they’ve received from Ben Franklin and SGICC to the challenges they faced with the slowdown in the industry.
This year the contest also included a poster session showing off some of the cutting edge research and technologies under development by 4 regional universities (CMU, PITT, PSU, and WVU). Three posters were chosen as winners of $500 prizes and they were:
Contest Sponsors also praised the event. “Given the cyclical nature of the natural gas industry, a deliberate and focused effort on finding and developing new, innovative technologies has always been a huge differentiator for EQT – and the return on investment is particularly beneficial during a low-price, downturn environment”, noted Karl Coke, Senior Vice President of Innovation at EQT Production. “For this reason, EQT supports events such as the annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest, which provides tremendous learning opportunities and allows us to make connections that might otherwise have been missed.”
Finalist presentations and additional details on the event are posted at http://www.sgicc.org/finals-event-2016-shale-gas-innovation-contest.html.
This 5th Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest’s GOLD sponsor is the Ben Franklin Technology Partners (http://www.benfranklin.org). Industry sponsors include: Chevron Technology Ventures (http://www.chevron.com/ctv/ctvi/), EQT Corporation (https://www.eqt.com), First National Bank (www.fnb-online.com), GE Transportation (http://www.getransportation.com/), LPR Energy (http://www.lprenergy.com/), LPR Land Services (http://www.lprls.com/), the Marcellus Shale Coalition (http://marcelluscoalition.org), PPG Industries (http://corporate.ppg.com/), Praxair (www.praxair.com), Steptoe & Johnson PLLC (http://www.steptoe-johnson.com/ ), and Williams (www.williamsinthenortheast.com). Non-Profit sponsors include: Carnegie Mellon University’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation (http://www.cmu.edu/energy/), Penn State University’s Institute for Natural Gas Research (http://www.ems.psu.edu/INGaR), the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy (http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/cfe/), and West Virginia University’s Energy Institute (http://energy.wvu.edu/). And the Media sponsor for this year’s event is the Marcellus Business Central (http://www.pabusinesscentral.com/).
About the SGICC
The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center (www.sgicc.org) supports and commercializes early-stage technologies that enhance responsible stewardship of the environment while properly utilizing this energy asset.