Officials from Lansing-based Niowave Inc. accepted the SBIR/STTR Small Business of the Year from the Department of Energy at an awards banquet Tuesday.
On hand to accept the award were president & founder Terry L. Grimm, COO Jerry Hollister and vice president Beth Grimm.
The annual award is presented to “a U.S. small business that exemplifies the spirit of innovation by strengthening and expanding its high-technology research and development competitiveness.”
In 2010, Niowave became the only company in the world to successfully design, build, commission and test a superconducting electron accelerator in its own plant — a refurbished former elementary school. The innovative technology for this accelerator was initially proposed and developed under a federal Small Business Innovation Research grant. This project was completed in January with SBIR funding for this project totaling just over $1 million.
The project has already directly led to more than $4 million in contracts for additional development and commercialization. Niowave expects an additional $2 to $4 million worth of contracts in 2011 alone as a result of the success of this innovation.
Before the SBIR project was even completed, the SBIR investment of $1 million has realized a 400 percent return in economic development. This return will continue to grow, and Niowave expects the commercialized returns to be in the tens of millions within the next 5 years.
An example of a commercial application of superconducting accelerators is radio-isotope production. Niowave’s advances in superconducting electron accelerators now makes possible a cost-effective alternative for producing radio-isotopes used for medical and research purposes. The majority of radio-isotopes used in the U.S. today come from foreign suppliers. As Niowave begins building these isotope production facilities, it will provide a significant source of radio-isotopes that will boost research opportunities and create jobs within the United States.
Said Grimm: “Commercialization of these accelerators is why we founded Niowave. With the MSU Cyclotron already known as a leader in accelerator research, this award puts mid-Michigan squarely at the center for both research and commercialization of this new technology.”
Added Hollister: “An award like this would not be possible without the highly skilled and innovative staff we have here in mid-Michigan.”
Niowave Inc. is a Lansing based high-tech research and manufacturing company specializing in superconducting particle accelerators. Founded in 2005, Niowave’s plant produces accelerators for domestic and overseas customers for research, medical, defense and industrial applications. In June 2010, Niowave became the first commercial entity worldwide to build and operate a superconducting linear accelerator entirely in its own facility. Niowave was named among the “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” in 2009, and received the 2010 IEEE Award for Entrepreneurship. Over the next two years Niowave plans to double its staff and expand to a second manufacturing facility to assemble and test superconducting particle accelerators.
More at www.niowaveinc.com.