11 May 2008

WA State Technology Summit

While I worked in the Pacific Northwest in April, I attended the Washington State Technical Summit taking away a few good nuggets as well as meeting some incredibly dynamic people. Coming from Michigan, it was surprising to see how forward thinking the city governments *let alone their state government, are in the planning to install solar power charging stations for the wave of electric vehicles to hit in the next five years. The Governor speaking of Washington's success in general emphasized companies at the forefront of innovation in clean technologies and advanced materials. This state seems to embrace it's export-driven economy as well as funds R&D significantly.

Also interesting that I attend a tech summit in Washington State only to meet a guy who worked for DCX for several years and has created a lightweight car that runs on methane! Eric Leonhardt is a professor now teaching at Western Washington University where the dairy cows are plentiful and has created a few vehicles along with honeycomb impact module designs; designs that can absorb 100,000 lbs while they weigh only three. I’ve always had a soft spot for vehicle design even as a child, the long nose of our 1976 blue corvette my first love; it’s powerful engine not withstanding. It struck me listening to the presentation that while many electric vehicles have short front ends due partially to the engine volume being greatly reduced, they could actually remain longer holding large impact panels contributing to safety as well as allowing the aesthetic nose.

Download the presentation Eric spoke from via this link. From the Washington Technology Center website and Tech Summit Agenda web page, you can also watch a few of the presentations from the Clean and Renewable Energy panels.

In another panel, I was introduced to a company who has created a near net shape metal process. While I have read about near net shape plastic panel creation for low waste, highly engineered materials, this was the first I’d heard of metal application. ModuMetal has basically created a metal plywood where they ‘grow’ the metal directly on a platform creating a material that is both tough and hard. They are still in development able to create only 18 x 18” pieces and have submitted samples as impact panels to the aerospace industry. This company’s President and CEO is a helicopter pilot, acrobatic water-skier, and is starting her own Merlot vineyard! I love this town.

Off hours I took long walks near Udub, the Cut, Arboretum, and around Green Lake. I visited friends in Renton, Portland, and on Bainbridge Island, enjoyed a SIFF special screening of The Price of Sugar, and even participated as a troop leader for a Girl Scout retreat weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'm so happy you've decided to make a comment! Thank you for joining the conversation.