Welcome back from the holiday break and to a new year. Let’s jump right in and catch up on Midwest tech headlines, starting with a project to install alternative vehicle fueling infrastructure across the region.
🚘 TRANSPORTATION: More than a dozen public and private entities are working together to install charging and fueling infrastructure for non-gasoline-powered vehicles along Interstate 94, especially in rural areas. The federally backed Michigan to Montana (M2M) project is the Midwest’s first multi-alternative fuel corridor, reports Energy News Network. It aims to fill fueling gaps and encourage the adoption of cleaner vehicles.
🌞 SOLAR: Regulators in Wisconsin intend to update the state’s 17-year-old distributed energy generation facility rules, which could transform the customer-owned power source space, reports the Wisconsin State Journal. Currently, the rules make no mention of energy storage, an emerging technology that is considered the future of renewables and smart grids.
🌊 WATER: Researchers from Iowa State University and Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co. are on a team studying biological membranes to inform the development of better large-scale water desalination technologies. High-performance computing and 3D modeling are helping them figure out why some natural membranes perform better than others.
A 3D model of a polymer desalination membrane shows water avoiding dense spots in the membrane and slowing flow. Image by the Ganapathysubramanian research group/Iowa State University and Gregory Foss/Texas Advanced Computing Center.
🏭 CARBON CAPTURE: In other membrane news, Des Plaines, Illinois-based GTI (Gas Technology Institute) is overseeing a project to develop new large-scale membrane technology to capture carbon dioxide from exhaust gas, reports Chemical Engineering magazine.
🚜 AGRICULTURE: Forbes explores how access to data is turning farm equipment manufacturers — including Midwest companies like John Deere — into tech firms.
💵 FUNDING: SafeLi, a battery startup that originated at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, changed its name to COnovate and received a $50,000 seed investment from the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, reports Wisconsin Inno.
🤝 ACQUISITION: Buffalo, New York-based renewable energy solution provider Gibraltar acquired solar racking technology manufacturer TerraSmart for $220 million. TerraSmart’s manufacturing hub is in Columbus, Ohio.
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