By BECKY GILLETTE
Innovate Mississippi has been doing a bit of innovative matchmaking by successfully paring a promising startup company, NG1, in Olive Branch with a potentially disruptive technology called the NG1 TechFlo exhaust system for diesel engines, with a Mississippi manufacturer, Hawkeye Industries in Tupelo.
Innovate Mississippi helped NG1 prepare its business plan, and hone its pitch for funding. Help included entering the product in the 2014 Cleantech Open National Accelerator’s Competition, which has a “mission to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that address today’s urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges.”
Competing against some of the best green technology developments in the country, the company first won the Southeast competition and went on to be named the grand prize winner in the Cleantech Open National Accelerator. This is the largest green technology award a company from Mississippi–or even the Southeast –has ever received. As a result, NG1 Technologies received financial backing and in-kind services worth $200,000 to help grow the business.
The NG1 TechFlo exhaust system designed for large trucks and other diesel-powered equipment such as irrigation pumps averages 13 percent fuel savings by increasing flow rates of gases in the exhaust system.
“NG1 TechFlo has a product that customers rave about and that has truly disruptive potential,” said Tony Jeff, president and CEO of Innovate Mississippi. “I’m glad we were able to work with them through the planning process and bring them connections they have been able to capitalize on for so much success.”
NG1 CEO Cynthia O’Donnell said the system for diesel trucks quickly pays back the initial $2,600 investment to retrofit trucks with an estimated fuel cost savings of $6,000 to $10,000 per year. And what is good for the pocketbook of truckers and trucking companies also helps the environment to the tune of reducing about 40,000 pounds of carbon emissions per year, per truck.
The Class 8 truck (18-wheeler) exhaust system is the first NG1 TechFlo product launch, but adaptations for pickups, box trucks, and other styles of exhaust are coming soon. O’Donnell said the system is adaptable for any fuel and all mechanical piston style engines. Today, in addition to manufacturing the NG1 TechFlo product in Mississippi, NG1 is also providing training at independent diesel shop installation locations throughout Mississippi and the Mid-South.
O’Donnell said that Innovate Mississippi helped by first allowing NG1 to open a branch in an incubator in Jackson.
“Innovate Mississippi said if we worked with them, and agreed to manufacture in Mississippi, they would help us get started here,” O’Donnell said. “It was as simple as that. We found one manufacturers that didn’t work out, and then we found Hawkeye Industries. We definitely like working directly with the owners. If you work with plant managers who have their headquarters out of Mississippi, you risk that corporate might have a different strategy. We like we can talk directly to the owner, and be in a good relationship with the owner.”
Aside from exhausts system, there are other potential applications for this system such as gas and water pipelines–anything that flows through a pipe.
“If we can increase flow rates without adding extra power, it could save a lot of energy,” O’Donnell said. “The potential is huge.”
O’Donnell said NG1 TechFlo relieves the baffling in exhaust flow by the engine creating a natural vacuum that helps pull the exhaust gases out. Basically what that does is help the engine function more efficiently. The design creates a vortex inside the pipe, and the vortex increases the gas flow. When it does that, the vortex gains power and pulls out the gases. It is in a sense, it is a natural power source, she said. In addition to fuel savings, the engines have better torque and horsepower.
“When truckers are going uphill, they don’t have to downshift as much,” O’Donnell said. “They love it.”
Truckers and trucking companies need all the help they can get to be financially viable. O’Donnell touts their device as a way to not only help the economy of truckers, but also states that have a lot of trucking in them.
Another side benefit is reduction in noise.
“We have this incredible sound cancellation quality,” she said. “When you put one on a big truck, it is so much quieter in the cab. Farmers are just thrilled that their pumping equipment is so much quieter. One farmer told us he stopped at the well after putting on the NG1 TechFlo because it was so quiet, he was afraid the pump has stopped working. Certainly it also helps the engine function when there is sound dampening that reduces the vibration from noise.”
Farmers, like any business people, also appreciate reducing input costs. The device gets an average of seven percent fuel savings on diesel pumping equipment.
NG1 also uses a Mississippi distributor, Williams Transport, Tupelo.
“O’Donnell is excited about the potential for the future to have sales across the country and the world.
“NG1 TechFlo is proud to be American and Mississippi-made, and we look forward to continuing our business partnership with Innovate Mississippi, Hawkeye Manufacturing and Williams Transport,” she said.
For more info, visit ttp://ng1techflo.com/ and http://events.cleantechopen.org/globalforum/2014.