By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Jon Barnwell, Co-Founder and COO of One Scientific Inc. in Johnson City, draws an analogy between the progress the clean tech start-up is making and the stages of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
He says One Scientific’s path closely aligns with companies that have gone that route. There’s Phase I, which is the opportunity to establish the scientific, technical, commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed innovation. Next comes Phase II where the focus is on the development, demonstration and delivery of the innovation. Finally, Phase III is actual commercialization.
“We’re in Phase II,” Barnwell says of One Scientific’s effort to commercialize multiple technologies including a 40-year old cost-effective method for generating renewable hydrogen anywhere in the world where there is access to water.
The work officially began about three years ago with the company’s founding, but Barnwell and Michael Redwine, the Founder and CEO, have been focused on the concept for a much longer period. In fact, it is Redwine’s technology that is the technical foundation for the company.
We have followed One Scientific’s progress with a series of previous articles on teknovation.biz that you can find here.
Over the last three years, the start-up has developed three major components for its one-of-a-kind distributed energy resource (DER) system. They include a catalytic hydrogen/oxygen gas generator, 3D-printed Cyclonic Separator, and a novel fuel cell.
“We’ve achieved all of the technical milestones we established,” Barnwell says.
Now, it’s a matter of putting all of the components together for a year-long pilot project.
“We’re excited about completing the prototype,” Barnwell says. One Scientific’s next goal: commercial quality pilots – Phase II, if you will, beginning this year.
“We’re into the final weeks of phase I,” Barnwell says in response to how soon the pilot for energy storage will begin. “The fuel cell is the last component we are working on. We are building 48 for the prototype.”
One Scientific has produced a “four-foot cubed stainless steel enclosure” that will house all of its technology including 48 fuel cells that can generate 500 watts each. Collectively, they will power the 24 kilowatt prototype that will be deployed by the energy storage pilot partner.
“Other pilot applications we’re pursuing include onsite renewable hydrogen supply for a chemical company and onsite renewable hydrogen supply for Fuel Cell Vehicle refueling station.“
One Scientific visualizes building units that can scale with demand, so Barnwell says the 24 kilowatt prototype has been developed as a module for ease of scalability and to maximize manufacturing efficiency. The company has also filed utility and international patent applications on its technology.
“It’s really been a good experience,” he says. “The mentors are exceptional providing industry related experience to help us prepare for raising future capital. It’s a great program.”
One Scientific is located in the Innovation Lab at East Tennessee State University.
“We’re growing,” Barnwell says proudly. “Our team is expanding and it’s exciting to see the pieces of the puzzle coming together.”