Oregon BEST E-news Masthead
JANUARY, 2012        
In This Issue...
$2M Grant for Hydrogen Storage
$3.5 M to Innovate Transportation
"Fool's Gold" Could Mean Cheaper Solar
$40M to Advance Biofuels
Grants Help Rural Oregon Economy
OPB Visits Green Building Lab
Terra Magazine: The Impacts of Climate Change in Oregon
Oregon BEST Researchers Make Headlines in the News

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Keep up with breaking news & funding opportunities between editions of our E-News Update

Oregon BEST Commercialization Grants

Applications are being accepted from university-industry teams for grants totaling $1M during coming 12-18 months.

Events & Opportunities

February 1-2, 2012

Day One (4-7 p.m.) of this 2-day event features a series of 4-minute presentations on emerging opportunities in Idaho's energy sector. Day Two (8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) includes research and commercialization success stories, presentations on Idaho facilities and capabilities available to energy entrepreneurs, and facility tours of the Boise State Center for Materials Characterization and the University of Idaho Integrated Design Lab. Boise, ID


February 9  & 16

 BetterBricks Awards  


Each year, a handful of standout leaders in commercial building energy efficiency are honored with a BetterBricks Award. These teams and individuals hold the belief that an energy efficient built environment goes beyond good business sense and benefits all aspects of sustainability. Attend the Oregon/SW Washington event on Feb. 9 or the Puget Sound BetterBricks Awards on Feb. 16 


February 15, 2012

(Submission Deadline)

U.S. Dept. of Energy Student Business Plan Competition 


First Look West (FLoW) invites student teams throughout the Western U.S. to participate in the U.S. Dept. of Energy's first ever business plan competition for clean energy. FLoW offers $200,000 in prize money as well as mentoring programs, legal start-up packages, and the opportunity to pitch to investors who can help student entrepreneurs transform innovative ideas into commercial reality. Students attending accredited universities throughout the United States can submit an application by February 15, 2012.


April 18

Oregon Angel Conference 


At the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network's Angel Oregon 2012 investment conference, Oregon and southwest Washington's brightest entrepreneurs compete for the launch-stage investment(s) and other awards while Concept Stage companies vie for their own set of prizes.


April 25-26

Oregon Future Energy Conference   


Presented by the Northwest Environmental Business Council (NEBC) and the Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association (OSEIA), this conference provides a excellent forum for learning, networking, and business development - including members of the energy industry, energy end-users, policy makers, and economic development professionals. Portland, OR


May 2-4, 2012  

Where the green building movement's leading thinkers and practitioners come together to share their deep expertise and dearest hopes. Oregon BEST's Sustainable Built Environment Program Manager, Johanna Brickman, will be a featured speaker, addressing the green building materials ecosystem as well as ecodistricts. Portland, OR. NOTICE: Register before February 1st, to take advantage of early-bird rates!

More About
Oregon BEST 
Oregon BEST Researchers

Oregon BEST in the News

Oregon BEST Sustainable Built Environment Shared-User Research Network

Oregon BEST Solar Energy Shared-User Research Network

Oregon BEST Sustainable Built Environment Research Consortium

Oregon BEST Commercialization Program 

Oregon BEST
P.O. Box 212
Portland, OR 97207
Tel. 503-725-9849

Executive Director's Report

Renewed Energy for 2012    
David Kenney portraitMost of us have finished our "Happy New Year" greetings now that we're a few weeks into 2012, but let me squeeze my greetings in while I share some thoughts about 2011's accomplishments and 2012's plans.

As we've been laying out plans for this year, I've been feeling my own energy level increase to match the big set of goals we've developed for 2012.

  • Commercialization Grants Awarded - We funded four startup company-university teams to do research, development, or test projects that were all targeted at getting the businesses closer to private investment or customer revenue. The projects are underway and achieving positive results.
  • Signature Shared-User Research Facilities Expanded - Our network of lab facilities has grown to seven, all of which are accessible for collaboration with faculty from other universities and with businesses.
  • Research Funding Success - Our 200+ Oregon BEST Member Faculty continued to have great success with more than $60 million in cumulative research revenue over the past 3.5 years, including major wins from NSF supporting the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry and research in hydrogen storage.
  • Oregon BEST FEST '11 - Some 275 people participated in this one-of-a-kind, one-day conference in September. Offering a unique mix of university researchers, entrepreneurs, corporate innovators, and nonprofit and government partners, this event showcased research and new technologies. New this year was a very popular session featuring student innovators from around the Northwest.

Overall, it was a great year for us, including strong execution on programs and plans we had developed in 2010.

  • Growing the Sustainable Built Environment Research Consortium - The Consortium members have refined their research focus areas and we will be working to execute on the demonstration test bed model that is a key piece of the Consortium value proposition.
  • More Commercialization Grants - We announced recently that we'll be awarding $1 million in Commercialization Grants in the next 12-18 months. We're now reviewing the first proposals and look forward to announcing the next round of winning company-university teams soon. Apply now for future grants.
  • Entrepreneurs in Residence - We'll be hiring two part time EIRs very soon to help our "portfolio" startups address their biggest business challenges and accelerate their path to success.
  • Oregon BEST FEST '12 - Plan on another outstanding event coming this fall. 
  • Strategic Planning - We've kicked off a strategic planning process to lay out our priorities for 2012-15 and will wrap that up this spring. Our last 3-year plan served us well to help prioritize our financial and human resources and to develop programs that were well aligned with our charter.

To keep up on our breaking news as 2012 unfolds, be sure to 'like' us on Facebook, where you'll find our latest successes, funding opportunities, and more.
Wishing you a successful 2012,


David Kenney, President & Executive Director


$2M Grant for Hydrogen Storage

Oregon BEST Matching Grant Helps Secure Research Funding  

Hydrogen storage at University of OregonA proposal matching grant from Oregon BEST helped the University of Oregon win a $2 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy to develop and test hydrogen storage materials for use in fuel cells.

The investment, to be shared by the University of Alabama, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and fuel cell technology company Protonex Technology Corp., is a part of the DOE's commitment to U.S. leadership in advanced fuel cell research to help domestic Shih Yuan Liu, UO professorautomakers bring more fuel cell electric vehicles to market.

The project is led by Oregon BEST researcher Shih-Yuan Liu, a chemistry professor in the UO Materials Science Institute, who has developed a boron-nitrogen-based liquid storage material for hydrogen. Full story...

$3.5M to Innovate Transportation
Oregon BEST universities team up to innovate transportation


Bike Box, Portland, OregonThe U.S. Dept. of Transportation awarded a coalition of Oregon BEST founding universities a $3.5 million grant for research and education on sustainable transportation topics. The universities include Portland State University, the University of Oregon, and the Oregon Institute of Technology.  


The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC), the university transportation center based at PSU and directed by Oregon BEST researcher Jennifer Dill, will administer the grant. The grant competition challenged university transportation centers to demonstrate the ability and experience to produce the country's best transportation research and educational programs. Full story...  


SPOTLIGHT on Oregon BEST Research

"Fool's Gold" Could Mean Cheap Solar
Researchers discover compounds that benefit solar energy

Pyrite, or

Pyrite, known as "fool's gold," is helping Oregon BEST researchers at Oregon State University discover related compounds that could offer new, inexpensive, and promising options for solar energy.


Current solar cell materials are often made from rare, expensive, or toxic elements. The new compounds are benign and could be made from some of the Earth's most abundant elements. 


"We've known for a long time that pyrite was interesting for its solar properties, but that it didn't actually work," said Douglas Keszler, an Oregon BEST researcher and a distinguished professor of chemistry at OSU. "We didn't really know why, so we decided to take another look at it. In this process we've discovered some different materials that are similar to pyrite, with most of the advantages but none of the problems." Full story...  


$40M in Funding to Advance Biofuels 

Oregon BEST researcher involved in research grant    


Poplar Seedings from Steve Strauss Lab OSU Steven Strauss, Oregon BEST researcher and distinguished professor of forest biotechnology at OSU, will share in a $40M grant to Portland, Ore.-based Greenwood Resources, Inc. targeted at better positioning hybrid poplars grown in northeast Oregon to be used for biofuel.

Greenwood Resources operates the country's largest irrigated tree farm near Boardman, growing 7.5 million hybrid poplar and alder trees on 25,000 acres. OSU is receiving a $9.8 million slice of the grant focused on research and education aimed at helping Greenwood and other biofuel-related companies succeed. Strauss researches ways to prevent  gene movement from genetically engineered trees to native forests. Full story...

Grants Help Rural Oregon Economy

Oregon BEST grant to OIT impacts economy in Klamath Falls 


Oregon Welcome SignAn Oregon BEST Commercialization Grant is not only advancing electric vehicle research for Portland, Ore.-based Green Lite Motors, it is also helping the local economy in southern Oregon survive the economic downturn.

Green Lite Motors is collaborating with Oregon BEST faculty and students at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls to develop a 100-mpg gas-electric hybrid vehicle. The Commercialization Grant is an example of how investments in economic development are helping rural Oregon communities connect and collaborate in the cleantech economy. Full Story...


OPB Reports on Green Building Lab

Oregon BEST lab helping green building companies test products   


Oregon BEST Green Building Research LabOregon Public Broadcasting's Rob Manning stopped by the Green Building Research Lab, an Oregon BEST signature research facility located at Portland State University. He filed a radio news story on how the lab is helping Oregon's green building industry test and develop innovative, new products for the sustainable built environment. Oregon BEST researcher and PSU mechanical & materials engineering professor David Sailor directs the lab, where he and his students field myriad requests from a range of companies. Listen to the OPB Story...


Focus on Climate Change in Oregon

OSU's research magazine expanding circulation 


Terra magazine logo
The winter issue of Terra, Oregon State University's research magazine, will focus on how Oregonians are planning for climate change. Foresters in Central Oregon, local officials on the coast, and infrastructure planners in the Portland metro area are among those using research results from OSU and the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. Oregon BEST's Johanna Brickman will be featured in a story about green building research innovation. Distributed three times per year, Terra is available on the Web at http://oregonstate.edu/terra or you can email terra.magazine@oregonstate.edu to request a printed copy of the winter edition as soon as it's published (let them know you're affiliated with Oregon BEST!).

From transit, to biofuels, to neighborhood sustainability ...
Oregon BEST Researchers IN THE NEWS...

Kate Hunter-Zaworski
иии Oregon BEST researcher KATE HUNTER-ZAWORSKI, Director of National Center for Accessible Transportation at Oregon State University, is featured in a New York Times story about how the transit industry is responding to heavier passengers and the need for wider seating and upgraded crash test standards on trains, buses, subways, and airplanes. Full story...

Sergio Palleroniиии The Daily Journal of Commerce has named PSU architecture professor and Oregon BEST researcher SERGIO PALLERONI one of the newspaper's "2012 Newsmakers," a select roster of the most interesting personalities impacting local and regional built environments. The Newsmakers will be honored Feb. 23rd. Full story...

Vivek Shandasиии Oregon BEST researcher VIVEK SHANDAS, a faculty member in Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University, received a $40,000 grant from the Bullitt Foundation for a study to develop an online, spatially explicit engagement process for measuring and improving neighborhood scale sustainability. Full story...

 At the 2012 Pacific West Biomass Conference & Trade Show, CHRISTINE KELLY, Oregon BEST researcher and OSU professor of chemical, biological, and environmental engineering at Oregon State University, outlined recent achievements made by private companies, research institutions, and universities in the biopower, biomass, and biofuels sectors. Full story...

The Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST) connects businesses with our growing shared-user network of university research facilities to transform renewable energy and sustainable built environment research into on-the-ground products, services, and jobs that power Oregon's green economy. Oregon BEST's founding partner universities include Oregon State University, the Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland State University, and the University of Oregon.

Oregon BEST и PO Box 212 и Portland, OR 97207-0212
Tel. 503-725-9849 и On the web: oregonbest.org