CRG has landed $206K in federal funding to develop a new solid-state transformer that aims to improve the resiliency of the nation’s power grid.
CRG is one of 259 grant recipients to receive a portion of the $53M total funding awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE) last week through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
With this funding, CRG will develop a solid-state transformer with an embedded digital twin for predictive maintenance, a technique that can pinpoint repair or replacement of electronic components nearing the end of their useful life. Predictive maintenance reduces the total life cycle costs of the installed system, ultimately reducing the cost passed on to consumers. Additionally, this technology will improve the resiliency of the grid by reducing power outages, which cost the U.S. economy $150B annually.
Once demonstrated, this technology will be capable of expanding to use in a wide range of products, including power conversion systems in electric vehicles and aircraft.
“Supporting small businesses will ensure we are tapping into all of America’s talent to develop clean energy technologies that will help us tackle the climate crisis,” said Steve Binkley, Acting Director of the DOE’s Office of Science.
On Thursday, September 30, 2021, at a “Collider Event,” from 2:00-4:00 PM, at the Wright Brothers Institute, Cornerstone Research Group will be sharing their success story and strategies and helping other small businesses interested in succeeding in the SBIR (small business innovative research) contract process.
CRG is a nationally recognized technology leader in the aerospace and defense field. One of CRG’s greatest accolades is being Ohio’s #1 SBIR awardee – no other company in Ohio has won more SBIRs. CRG is willing and excited to speak about their pathways to success.
At the Sept. 30 event, CRG will be sharing their overall strategy and lessons learned throughout their history. Their Venture Studio leadership team will share insights on the topics below and more.
SBIR and non-SBIR BAA
Working with government customers
Strategies on leading and growing this type of organization
Technology commercialization, including the formation of CRG’s Venture Studio, launched in 2020
CRG was excited to be a part of the Dayton Ohio STEM Ecosystem (DO STEM) Virtual Career Week, May 10-14, 2021, hosted by our community’s newest STEM champions at the Dayton Ohio STEM Ecosystem. The newly formed DO STEM is a collaboration of regional partners committed to leveraging resources and opportunities to engage students in STEM activities throughout the Dayton region.
This career exploration event allowed over 2,000 students from across the region to explore virtual exhibits and attend live Career Talks with professional partners from a variety of STEM industries. These valuable career connections showed students just how many incredible future opportunities are available right in their backyard!
CRG hosted several talks over the course of three days on aircraft design careers, careers in battery engineering, and careers involving composites.
CRG teamed with Battle Sight Technologies to develop and mass produce a special crayon for warfighters, first responders and disaster-relief workers.
Dubbed CrayTac, this device allows troops to write messages or draw complex figures on walls, sidewalks and other surfaces. The markings are invisible except to someone wearing night-vision goggles. Troops can use CrayTac to mark vehicles and other equipment so they can be identified in low- or no-light situations. It also can be used in place of a glow stick to mark a room as cleared.
To achieve Battle Sight’s longer-term goals, it needed more manufacturing capacity, prompting them to team with CRG. The collaboration ultimately resulted in Battle Sight gaining enough production capacity to shift from building CrayTacs by hand to making them in large batches. CRG’s improvements to manufacturing included formulation changes as well as novel process development.
In 2019, the Air Force SBIR program awarded a Phase II contract for this project. The funding has allowed Battle Sight and CRG to progress from making CrayTacs by hand to developing the ability to produce hundreds in an hour.
Inc. magazine revealed that CRG was one of three Dayton-based businesses to make the Inc. 5000 Regionals: Midwest 2021 list of 250 fastest growing companies. The Midwest region covers a 12-state territory that includes Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The Inc. 5000 rating looked at revenue growth from 2017 to 2019. CRG ranked No. 152 with a growth rate of 93%.
The FAA is coming out with new rules requiring that drones have no exposed rotating parts — good news for Lectratek’s ducted fan propulsion systems. The final rules will be released in January.
Under the Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Over People rules, drones will be required to have no exposed rotating parts that could potentially lacerate human skin. For example, if the propellers that provide lift and thrust for the small unmanned aircraft are internal to the unmanned aircraft, such as in a ducted fan configuration, and are incapable of making contact with a person as a result of an impact, then the parts would not be exposed, and the aircraft would satisfy this proposed requirement.
Lectratek is poised to provide the suitable propulsion systems as well as lightweight batteries required for electric flight.
Launch Dayton, Dayton’s on-line startup community of entrepreneurial “ecosystem builders,” announced the top 10 startups to watch in 2021. Lectratek was listed among them.
“Lectratek LLC is looking to power the world’s first flying cars. The startup is focused on powering eAviation technologies for an industry poised for dramatic growth in the coming years. A spinout of private aerospace and defense firm Cornerstone Research Group, Lectratek leverages two decades’ worth of federally sponsored research into electric aviation for applications from commercial and industrial drones to mid-tier commercial airliners. The current team is actively recruiting for executive leadership and business development positions.” –Launch Dayton
The Dayton Business Journal published an article titled, “CRG Venture Studio launches new electric aviation company” about the formation of Lectratek LLC. An excerpt below:
“Cornerstone Research Group Inc. (CRG), a privately held aerospace and defense firm based in Miami Township, announced Monday its new company — Lectratek LLC. The new business, launched by CRG’s Venture Studio unit, is an electric aviation technology company. It is focused on powering “eAviation” tech for an industry the company says is poised for dramatic growth in the coming years.”
The Dayton Daily News published an article on the formation of Lectratek by CRG’s Venture Studio, titled “Miami Twp. defense contractor announces new aviation spinoff.” An excerpt is below:
“Creating new businesses and divisions is all in a day’s work for Cornerstone. Lectratek will take advantage of CRG-developed technologies, including engineering services and aircraft parts related to electric propulsion, advanced composites and safe energy storage, the company said in a release,” says an excerpt from the article.
CRG’s Venture Studio today has launched an electric aviation (eAviation) technology company, Lectratek LLC. This new company is focused on powering eAviation technologies for an industry poised for dramatic growth.
Lectratek leverages core proprietary technologies developed over the years by CRG. Initial offerings will include engineering services and aircraft components related to electric propulsion, advanced affordable composites, and safe energy storage. Growth over time is anticipated to eventually touch virtually all aspects of electric aviation powertrains and some structural components. The new company is already off to a strong start, leveraging over $25 million of prior DoD/NASA investment at CRG, including three new Agility Prime contracts.
“Nothing could be more appropriate to the Dayton region’s inventive roots than growing a company to be a leader in the next wave of aviation,” said CRG’s CEO Patrick Hood. “Electric aviation is rapidly moving from something people dream about to something people will use every day, and Lectratek is positioned to be a leader in the field.”
Lectratek is the first new company coming out of CRG’s recently formed Venture Studio to gain critical mass, according to Andrew Cothrel, CRG’s Chief Venture Officer. “We are really pleased with how quickly customer demand is becoming tangible for Lectratek, particularly for our highly unique propulsion solutions,” said Cothrel. “While it is still early days in eAviation, this is a market forecasting to be worth $178B by 2040, and we think Lectratek has something to offer that can lead to enduring success.”