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Economic Development Office

Tri-Cities Tech Business Update

This monthly e-mailed update contains news, opportunities, upcoming events, and other information about Mid-Columbia tech businesses and the organizations that support them.

May 2017 Issue


Energy Department Announces 38 New National Lab/Business Collaborations

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the 38 small businesses that will partner with DOE national lab researchers as part of its Small Business Voucher Pilot. Through these collaborations, the selected small businesses will have access to the national labs’ capabilities and expertise to focus on research in advanced manufacturing, bioenergy, buildings, fuel cells, geothermal, solar, vehicles, water and wind. Eight national laboratories are participating in this pilot, including Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which received $610,000 in vouchers to partner with ThermChem Corporation, Portland, OR; Emerald Energy NW, Bothell, WA; and InnaVenture, Wilkes-Barre, PA.  Read more.

New Largest-of-its-Kind Megawatt-Hour Flow Battery Installed in Washington State

Mukilteo, WA-based UniEnergy Technologies has installed the largest containerized flow battery system in the world—a 2-MW, 8-MWh system housed in 20 connected shipping containers for use by the Snohomish, WA Public Utility District.  UET licensed the vanadium flow battery technology from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and PNNL will provide analytical and technical support to help UET test the system’s performance and evaluate economic impacts of the various services provided by UET.  Read more.

West Richland Named Best City for Families in Washington State

West Richland, WA has been named the best city for families in the state of Washington, according to the financial services website WalletHub.  West Richland bested 110 other communities based on housing affordability, number of playgrounds, families with school-aged children, weather, commute times, graduation rates, divorce rates, poverty, and foreclosure rates.  Richland ranked seventh.  See the rankings.

Pasco Ranked Among Nation's Top Housing Markets

Pasco, WA was ranked as the best small city in America for its rising housing market, according to the financial technology company SmartAsset.  From 2011 to 2015, Pasco’s population increased almost 18 percent, but during that same time period the housing stock grew 12 percent—meaning the housing demand may be higher than the supply.  Pasco also saw an 11.24 percent increase in home values and a nearly 19 percent increase in income.  Read more.

Tech Opportunities and Resources

Tri-Cities Economic Gardening Pilot Program

The Tri-Cities, WA Regional Chamber of Commerce is offering the Tri-Cities Economic Gardening Pilot Program—the first of its kind in the state.  Five second-stage businesses from the Tri-Cities community will be selected to engage with the National Center for Economic Gardening’s “National Strategic Research Team”—a team of specialists from across the company that will deliver services at no cost specially tailored to each business.  Businesses that apply should be for-profit, privately held companies based in Benton and Franklin counties; have between $1 million and $50 million in annual revenue or working capital in place from investors or grants; and employ 10 to 99 fulltime equivalent employees, including the owners.  Battelle and Gesa Credit Union are supporting this program.  See a full list of criteria and register.

Applications Open for Elemental Excelerator

Each year, the Elemental Excelerator (formerly Energy Excelerator) finds 12 – 15 companies that best fit its mission and funds each company up to $1 million to improve energy, water, agriculture, and transportation systems that impact lives.  Portfolio companies include water, agriculture, transportation, finance, and cybersecurity startups, and they are seeking more companies in recycling and resource management. Applications to join the next cohort close May 25. Learn more about Elemental Excelerator and its mission.  Apply.

Ocean Exchange Solutions Awards

Ocean Exchange—a company with the sole mission to help advance adoption of solutions in the field of sustainability—is seeking applicants for the 2017 WWL Orcelle® Award and the 2017 Neptune Award. Innovators are encouraged to apply who have solutions (and working prototypes) in materials, devices, processes, and systems that impact sustainability and that generate economic growth and increased productivity, while reducing use of nature’s resources and waste.  Recipients will receive $100,000 for each award.  Applications are due July 31.  Learn more and apply.

Clean Energy Patenting Report, Interactive Patent Map Available

The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization, has released a new publication on energy innovation focused on the momentum and city-by-city vitality of clean energy patenting.  The report includes an interactive map showing the total number of cleantech patents awarded between 2011 and 2016.  Tri-Cities, WA is very high on the cleantech patents per capita list (129 per million residents), making the Tri-Cities second in the northwest by that measure.  In addition, Battelle Memorial Institute is named as the top cleantech patent owner for the Tri-Cities area.  See the report.  View the interactive map.

BETO Launches Interactive Project Map

The Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office has launched its Small Business Innovation Research Projects Map, an interactive map showing all recent BETO projects across the United States awarded by the SBIR program.  BETO is focused on forming partnerships with key stakeholders to develop technologies for advanced biofuels production.  Learn more and access the interactive map.

Fuse Offers Variety of Events

Fuse SPC is the Tri-Cities’ first social purpose corporation that provides a shared work environment, community, and resources for the entrepreneurial, startup, artistic, and tech communities.  Fuse is offering the following upcoming events at the Fuse facility in Richland, WA:

  • May 13.  Table Top Game Night, 6 - 10 pm.
  • May 24. Conversational Spanish,  6 - 7 pm.
  • June 6. Opening the Vault: How to Obtain and Utilize Business Loans, 5:30 - 6:30 pm. 

These events are at no cost unless otherwise indicated.  Learn more about each event and register.  Learn more about Fuse SPC.

Classes Offered at Confluent

Confluent, a makerspace targeted to the arts and tech communities in Tri-Cities, WA, offers a variety of classes for members and non-members.  Located in Richland, Confluent offers memberships starting at $35 per month.  Classes include:

  • May 3. Laser Cutting Tool Training, 6 - 7:30 pm.
  • May 7.  3D Printing Class, 1 - 3 pm.
  • May 25 and June 22.  Electronics Monthly (event for people who enjoy electronics), 7 - 9 pm.

Classes are at the Confluent facility.  See the full variety of classes offered.  Learn more about Confluent.

Upcoming Government Contracting Workshops

Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center is a statewide organization dedicated to guiding companies through the entire process of applying for and fulfilling government contracts.  Washington PTAC offers no-cost workshops that help inform small business owners and others about aspects of contracting, including:

  • June 1. Teaming and Joint Venturing for Government Contracting Success! 10 am - noon, Tri-Cities Business and Visitor Center, Kennewick, WA.
  • June 7.  Yakima Government Contracting Essentials Workshop, 10 am - noon, Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce, Yakima, WA.
  • June 13.  Government Contracting Essentials, 9 - 11 am, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Kennewick, WA.
  • July 12. Meet the Buyer: Doing Business with the Hanford Primes and PNNL, 2 - 4:30 pm, Tri-Cities Business and Visitor Center, Kennewick, WA.

See the PTAC workshop calendar.

PTAC Webinars and On-Demand Training

Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center offers no-cost resources for new and established businesses to prepare for interacting with the growing government procurement market.  PTAC provides access to previously recorded webinars addressing topics such as government contracting essentials and federal contracting questions.  The on-demand training covers subjects such as understanding solicitation and proposal development as well as estimating and bidding.  Access the webinars and on-demand training.

Tech Dates and Deadlines

Small Business Financing Workshop

May 3.  The Washington State Department of Commerce is hosting a Small Business Financing Workshop on May 3, 10 am – 2 pm at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kennewick, WA.  This is an interactive event for small businesses focused on access to capital, financing, and business assistance programs.  No cost to attend.  Register.  For more information, contact the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, (509) 736-0510.

Governor's Summit on Career Connected Learning in Richland

May 31.  The Governor’s Summit on Career Connected Learning will be held May 31 in Redmond, WA.  In addition, three-hour sessions are being planned across the state, including at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA from 10 am – 1:30 pm.  This summit is intended to help business and community leaders learn about career-connected learning successes, identify new skills, find additional resources, and develop the capacity to solve workforce problems.  No cost to attend.  Learn more and register for the Richland event.

Grant Writing Course

June 21 - 22.  The Benton Franklin Health District is hosting a grant writing class on June 21 – 22 from 9 am – 4 pm at the District’s office in Kennewick, WA. Beginning and experienced grant writers from city, county, and state agencies as well as non-profit and educational entities are encouraged to attend.  Cost to participate is $455.  Learn more and register.

Call for Chemistry-Related Entrepreneurs

June 25 – 28.  Chemistry-related startups and researchers who want marketplace insights are invited to participate at the American Chemical Society’s 2017 Regional Meeting, June 25 through 28, at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR. The Lens of the Market Innovation workshop is a half-day training event for researchers who want to better understand the markets for their ideas and technologies. A separate Innovation Fair offers 16 vetted spots for early-stage ventures to display their chemistry-related products and services for the business and tech communities. Other sessions for participants feature technology commercialization and venture funding. Discounts are available for early registration, graduate students, and post-docs. Learn more and register. 

PNNL This Month

Changing the Game

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researcher Shuaiwen Leon Song collaborated with researchers from the University of Houston to develop a new architecture for the computing hardware 3D stacked memory, resulting in increased 3D graphic rendering speeds up to 65 percent.  The results were presented at the 2017 IEEE Symposium on High Performance Computer Architecture. “We’re pushing the boundaries of what hardware can do,” Song said. “And though we tested our idea on video games, this improvement ultimately benefits science.”  Learn more.

Got News?

We invite your contributions! We will consider items that fit the mission of this publication, including your tech-related news, awards, and notices of upcoming events. Please send text and photos to or call (509) 371-6017.

Tri-Cities Tech Business Update is published by the Economic Development Office at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Each month, we send you an e-mail message, giving you the link of news, tips, awards, upcoming events, and other information about local technology-based businesses and organizations that support them. With business and community partners, our goal is to build and diversify the Tri-Cities economy—adding skilled jobs in primary-sector industries that bring in outside dollars. Currently, more than 1,100 tech-related businesses, investors, and economic development stakeholders subscribe to the newsletter, mostly in the Mid-Columbia area and the rest of the Pacific Northwest. This newsletter (RL-P00-009) supports DOE-Richland's vision for the future of the Hanford Site and surrounding area through the creation of research opportunities, new industries, and new business clusters