News Article | February 16, 2017
Almost immediately after the funds of the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act, ARRA, became available, many states, including Vermont, distributed some of the funds to a number of government and private renewable energy entities. Government programs with federal and state subsidies were created to attract in-state and out-of-state investments in renewable energy projects to create jobs and boost the economy. In Vermont, the media were enlisted to build up an image of Vermont as a “renewable energy leader”. Well-known foreign renewable energy leaders were invited to Vermont to give lectures about their renewable energy achievements. A 520-page report of the Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, was created, which states an aspirational goal of “90% Renewable Energy of All Primary Energy by 2050”; electrical energy is only about 35% of all primary energy. NOTE: No nation in the world, except Denmark, has such an extreme goal, however, Denmark is a special case, because of its proximity to Norway’s hydro plants to balance its wind energy. In the real world, almost all political entities have much lower RE goals for primary energy than Vermont. Relatively few political entities have high RE goals for electrical energy. NOTE: The German Energiewende goal is at least 80% of electricity production and 60% of primary energy from RE by 2050, which is much less extreme than Vermont’s 90%. Denmark and German Household Electric Rates: Denmark and Germany implementing higher renewable energy percentages has led to higher household electric rates. The same would happen in Vermont. The below graph shows German household electric rates are the second highest in Europe, about 28.69 eurocent/kWh in 2015; Denmark is the leader with about 30 eurocent/kWh, Ireland is at 25 c/kWh, Spain 24 c/kWh, France, about 80% nuclear generation, 17 c/kWh. From Aspirational Goal to Mandate: Senator Bray introduced Bill S.51, titled “Consolidated Clean Energy Planning and Economic Opportunity Act” The bill proposes: to establish a statutory goal (a mandate), that, by 2050, 90 percent of Vermont’s total energy consumption be from renewable energy. It also proposes to establish additional supporting goals and to require State plans that affect energy to recommend measures to achieve these goals. State and local bureaucrats would exhort Vermonters to spend $33.3 billion on various government-directed measures and programs that would cause their energy consumption to decrease, but the cost of their remaining energy consumption likely would be about 2 – 3 times present costs. An Easy Task for Utilities: It would be an easy task for Vermont utilities to achieve a Renewable Portfolio Standard, RPS, of “90% RE of their electricity supply”. They merely would have additional contracts to buy RE from in-state and out-of-state producers, and pass any costs onto ratepayers, per VT-Public Service Board, PSB, approval. An Expensive Task for Vermonters: It would be extremely expensive for Vermonters to achieve “90% RE of All Primary Energy by 2050”, as that would require a significant transformation of the Vermont economy. Vermonters would have to make investments of about $33.3 billion* during the 2017 – 2050 period, as estimated by the Vermont Energy Action Network. Vermont’s stakeholders prefer the renewable energy to be from mostly in-state sources, as that would maximize their revenues and profits. Federal subsidies for wind, solar, and other renewable sources likely would be decreasing in future years. * If the US were to adopt Vermont’s 90% RE goal, the capital cost would be: US 325 million people/Vermont 0.625 million x 33.3 = $17,316 billion, which is in the same ballpark as the US national debt. Reducing the 90% Goal to 40% is an Economic Necessity: Reducing the 90% goal to 40% would be more affordable, and it could be implemented by means of: – Significantly increased efficiency of buildings (such as net zero energy buildings) and of transportation (such as by adherence to federal CAFE standards), which would be much better for Vermont, as it would decrease the energy bills for already-struggling households and businesses, and would decrease CO2. Both measures would be the lowest-cost and quickest way to reduce CO2, and would have minimal impact on the Vermont environment. They would be much better for Vermont, instead of additional, subsidized wind turbine systems on more than 200 miles of pristine ridgelines and solar systems in thousands of acres of fertile meadows, which produce energy, that is variable, intermittent, grid disturbing, health damaging, property value-lowering, environment-damaging, social-discord-creating, and expensive at 3 – 5 times NE wholesale prices of 5 c/kWh. The 40% goal would be more in line with other New England states and much less costly. See Table 2. There would be no need for a regressive carbon tax. With the 40% goal, source energy would be reduced, similar to the 90% goal, by getting more, low-cost, near CO2-free, hydro energy from Hydro-Quebec*. *About 200 MW of a 1000 MW HVDC line, under construction, is reserved for Vermont, which could provide about 1.3 million MWh/y from H-Q in addition to the present H-Q supply, equivalent to 7 Lowell wind turbine plants. Future HVDC lines, in various planning and approval stages, could provide more hydro electricity. Source Energy Factors: The ratio of the energy from well, mine, forest, etc., to user is defined as the source energy factor. The source factors of hydro is 1.0, NE grid energy 2.63, nuclear 3.08, and biomass 3.33*. Whereas the source factors of variable wind and solar are 1.0, they require grid-connected generators for balancing, as in Germany and Denmark. The source energy would also be reduced by significantly increased efficiency of buildings and transportation. * McNeil and Ryegate wood-fired power plants have source factors of 4.2, because of their poor efficiency. Closing them would significantly reduce Vermont’s source energy (3.2 out of 4.2 trees are wasted), and toxic pollution, and CO2 emissions (which are not counted, because burning trees is “declared” CO2-neutral within about 50 to 100 years). NOTE: Vermont Public Issues Research Group, VPIRG, mostly financed by RE stakeholders, commissioned a study by REMI, a consultant, which provided VPIRG, legislators, et al, with a report with pretty photographs, a rosy pro-carbon tax rationale, and various talking points, to bamboozle voters regarding the merits of the proposed carbon tax. NOTE: In 2011, the electricity supplied to Vermont utilities was 6119.1 GWh, or 20.88 TBtu. That electricity required about 50.8 TBtu of primary energy, for an average conversion factor of 20.88/50.8 = 0.41, per the VT-Department of Public Service 2013 Utility Facts Report. Vermont’s 2010 total primary energy was 147.6 TBtu, thus electricity was 50.8/147.6 = 34.4% of total primary energy. NOTE: “The Department of Public Service, DPS, in conjunction with other State agencies designated by the Governor, shall prepare a State Comprehensive Energy Plan covering at least a 20-year period”, per Vermont statute $202b. DPS, et al, arbitrarily selected the goal of “90% RE of All Primary Energy by 2050”, without any feasibility and cost analysis. DPS correctly stated during a public information hearing: “It does not matter what Vermont does, because it would not make any difference regarding climate change and global warming”. Thus far, after waiting for years, Vermonters have not received any rational explanation of why that goal was selected. That goal is greatly in excess of what other New England states have as their goals. Huge Capital Requirements: Vermont’s goal of attaining 90% of its energy from renewables by 2050 would require capital investments of at least $33.3 billion during the 2017-2050 period, about $1 billion per year, according to Vermont Energy Action Network’s 2015 annual report. That’s not counting interest and finance charges and replacements and refurbishments due to wear and tear. See Page 6 of annual report. That burden is far in excess of what the near zero, real-growth Vermont economy could afford. It took at least $900 million to go from 11.53% total renewable energy (EAN number) in 2010 to about 15% in 2016. That includes electricity, transportation energy and heating and cooling. This was made easier because it was highly subsidized. That level of subsidies will be less going forward, because wind, solar and other subsidies are being reduced. Most of that spending affected the electrical part. As a result, Vermont utilities likely will meet 55% RE of their electricity supply by 2017, and 75% by 2032. It would require a minimum of about $950 million per year between 2017 and 2050 to meet the 90% renewable goal. See Table 1, which is based on estimates by EAN, a consultant for Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, VEIC, and DPS. See URL. *EAN uses source energy (from mine or well to as delivered to user) and DPS uses primary energy (as delivered to user), which is slightly less than source energy. Year 2016 obtained by interpolation. Where would the many billions of additional money come from for the remaining electrical part, plus the much more expensive thermal and transportation parts? Vermont is a relatively poor state with a stagnant population; a growing population of elderly and dependent people; state budget deficits year after year; a near zero, real-growth economy; and a very poor business climate. The last thing Vermont households and businesses need is a doubling or tripling of energy prices to make the Vermont economy even less competitive. If we were to reduce the goal to 40% renewable by 2050, it would still be a formidable task. That goal would require a minimum of about $420 million per year between 2017 and 2050. See Table 2. Renewable Portfolio Standards: Renewable portfolio standards require utilities to have a percentage of their electricity supply from renewable sources. Two states, Hawaii and Vermont, require much higher percentages of renewable energy than any other state in the nation. Hawaii requires 30% by 2020, 40% by 2030, 70% by 2040, and 100% by 2045. Unlike Vermont, Hawaii is much closer to the equator, has steady trade winds and much sunshine, and has the highest electric rates in the United States. The Hawaii goal is reasonable, but the Vermont goal is economically unwise. See URLs and Table 3. *MA percent to increase by 1%/y after 2020; the ME and VT goals are higher because of hydro being counted as renewable. Vermont utilities could satisfy the 75% requirement within a few years (well before 2032) by buying more hydro energy from Hydro-Quebec. That would require no subsidies and near-zero capital costs, because private corporations would design, build, own and operate the high voltage transmission lines from Quebec to Vermont. However, Green Mountain Power, which controls 77% of Vermont’s electricity market, refuses to buy more hydro energy for business reasons, i.e., it would not increase its asset base on which it earns about 9% per year.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Susan Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities (Alliance) will testify today before the Federal Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (CEP). Dreyfus will speak on behalf of the Alliance – a national network comprised of thousands of high-impact social sector leaders across the United States – on the importance of alignment of evidence to practice, policy, budget, and regulatory change. “Together community-based organizations, like those in the Alliance network, serve as the engine for human capital development by facilitating opportunities that build human potential,” said Dreyfus. “Social sector organizations operate at the nexus of practice, policy and people, where we generate the majority of outcomes data used to inform the development of best practices that should be used to guide evidence-based policy,” she added. The Commission’s public hearing is the third since the inception of the panel tasked with improving the government’s use of data in policymaking, created through legislation co-sponsored by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). “We are grateful for the opportunity to share the perspective of social sector professionals from across the country, as we believe this is the right time for significant steps forward in developing a modern human services system that leads to stronger and healthier families, communities and workforce,” said Dreyfus. “The Alliance strategic action network is dedicated to achieving the vision of a healthy and equitable society for all children, adults and families.” Dreyfus will address three key issues in front of the Commission: 1. Why federal policy needs to ensure there is alignment between intersecting systems to benefit the lives of the people who these programs serve. 2. Why staff development is a crucial investment necessary to produce better outcomes for children and families. Simply requiring the use of evidence without equipping organizations to develop and support staff who implement the models will not be successful. 3. Why deep investments in research and development will help create the conditions by which today’s practitioners will innovate and identify tomorrow’s solutions. In addition to bringing a practice-informed perspective, Dreyfus’s comments draw from her previous role as the secretary for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services where she was responsible for Medicaid, child welfare, behavioral health, juvenile justice, and economic assistance, among others. Prior to her public sector leadership in Washington, she was the first administrator for Wisconsin’s Division of Children and Family Services. From 2014 to 2016, she served as a commissioner for the Federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. About CEP The CEP was established by the bipartisan Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2016. The Act was sponsored by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and signed by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2016. It recognizes that better use of existing data may improve how government programs operate. The mission of the Commission is to develop a strategy for increasing the availability and use of data in order to build evidence about government programs, while protecting privacy and confidentiality. Through the course of the Commission’s work, members will study how data, research, and evaluation are currently used to build evidence, and how to strengthen the government’s evidence-building efforts. The Commission is composed of 15 members, appointed by the President, the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Senate Minority Leader. Members include individuals with experience as academic researchers, data experts, program administrators, and privacy experts. The hearing provides an opportunity for interested stakeholders to present their views on issues relevant to the Commission’s charge. The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities is a strategic action network of thousands of committed social sector leaders driving to achieve a healthy and equitable society. We aggregate the very best sector knowledge and serve as an incubator for learning and innovation to generate new solutions to the toughest problems. We accelerate change through dynamic leadership development and collective actions to ensure policies and systems provide equal access and opportunity for health and well-being, educational success, economic opportunity, and safety and security. Go to alliance1.org for more information (alliance1.org), or contact Lorraine Dowdey, ldowdey(at)alliance1(dot)org, 202.429.0599. More information about the CEP along with a list of the 15 commissioners can be found at https://www.cep.gov/commissioners.html..
News Article | February 17, 2017
Due to an error from CEP, incorrect information was provided for this press release. Please update information using this corrected release. Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Chewy, an online retailer of pet food and products in the United States, will locate a new fulfillment center in Marion County. The new facility will create 600 jobs and a $31 million capital investment in the region. Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce that Chewy will be building a new facility in Ocala and creating 600 new jobs for Florida families. While Chewy is a Florida-based company, they could have chosen to invest in any of their locations across the country. Instead, they decided to create hundreds of new jobs in Florida because of the hard work of Enterprise Florida and local economic development organizations, and our unrelenting focus on making Florida the best place for business. I am proud to celebrate Chewy’s expansion today and look forward to continuing to bring more jobs wins to our state.” Ryan Cohen, CEO of Chewy said, “We are pleased to expand our workforce and bring fulfillment operations to our home state. As a Florida-based company, we recognize the importance of driving economic opportunities in the region and we appreciate the partnership of Enterprise Florida and the CEP as we work to invest in the Ocala community through the creation of 600 new jobs. In addition to job creation, we look forward to the opening of this fulfillment center helping to better serve Chewy customers with even more efficient and faster delivery times.” Chris Hart IV, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. said, “Not only is a great Florida company continuing to grow, but Chewy has chosen to grow in their home state. Florida continues to shine as a national leader for job creation, and companies like Chewy are a big part of our success as a state. I commend them on their success and look forward to seeing their continued growth." Cissy Proctor, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, said, “Chewy’s expansion in Marion County is great news for Central Florida’s economy and I am proud that the company is continuing to invest in Florida. The 600 new jobs Chewy’s is bringing to the area will provide new opportunities to local job seekers and a chance for more Florida families to live their American Dream.” Carl Zalak, Chair of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners, said, “We are excited about bringing another great company to our community. Bringing Chewy to Marion County is great news for our county. This project means more jobs, investment and momentum to our community and we couldn’t be more excited about the future.” Brent Malever, Ocala City Council President, said, “On behalf of the Ocala City Council, we are incredibly excited to welcome Chewy to Ocala/Marion County. In addition to creating nearly 600 jobs, this is another great investment to keep Ocala moving in the right direction.” Ken Ausley, Chairman of the CEP Board of Trustees, said, “This announcement represents a partnership between Chewy, the City of Ocala, Marion County, Duke Energy, CareerSource CLM, Ocala 489 LLC, Enterprise Florida, and the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership.” Chewy is the #1 online retailer of pet food and products in the United States with a leading share of the e-commerce market. Founded in 2011 by entrepreneurs, Ryan Cohen and Michael Day, Chewy set out to disrupt the existing pet industry by offering pet parents the expertise and service of a local pet store with the convenience of online shopping. Chewy delivers on that promise with its dedication to 24/7 customer service, creation of cutting-edge software and technology to enhance the user experience, and commitment to sourcing high quality products. Headquartered in Dania Beach, Florida, Chewy currently employs more than 3,700 pet lovers both in their home office and fulfillment centers in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Nevada. For more information, visit www.chewy.com. Enterprise Florida, Inc. is a partnership between Florida’s businesses and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for Florida. EFI facilitates job growth through recruitment and retention, international trade and exporting, promotion of sporting events, and capital funding programs to assist small and minority businesses. EFI launched “Florida – The Future is Here” to promote the state as the nation’s premier business destination. The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) was formed to create a one-stop approach to business retention, attraction and creation efforts. Moving Forward is our charge and it reflects our desire to be a unified voice and catalyst for the business community. By working together with our partners and community investors, we will continue to improve our quality of life and build a strong base for economic development in Marion County.
News Article | February 24, 2017
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a seemingly innocuous joke Thursday about no one getting a free lunch. But the comment came as DeVos, a staunch opponent of public schools, is taking over the nation's free lunch program that provides nutrition to low-income students and is under attack from Republicans, raising questions about whether the administration of President Donald Trump will protect food aid programs for children, NPR reported. During her opening remarks at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference in the outskirts of Washington, Devos jokingly said she is the "first person to tell Bernie Sanders to his face, there's no such thing as a free lunch." The debate over free lunch, however, is no joke. Last year, Republicans pushed to introduce a bill that could have stopped thousands of schools from offering free lunch to all public school students. Republicans were unsuccessful in passing the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003) bill that aimed to reform an Obama-era program called Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Republicans who pushed for the bill argued that the CEP is a waste of taxpayers’ money as it subsidizes the meals of kids who can afford to pay for them. In particular, the bill aimed to reform the minimum eligibility criteria for receiving free lunch, according to the Washington Post. Under the program, schools or school districts where 40 percent of the students meet the requirement for a free lunch can also provide meals to all students for free. In turn, schools are reimbursed based on the percentage of low-income students. Republicans argued for hiking the 40 percent eligibility criteria to 60 percent. But Democrats argue providing free lunch to all student reduces the stigma attached to getting free meals at school. “Students are free to eat without being categorized and stigmatized, and this has created a wonderful climate of equality and cooperation,” Pruitt Jill Pruitt, the eighth-grade counselor at Coffee Middle School in south central Georgia, told the Atlantic. Betti J. Wiggins, executive director of Detroit Public School's office of school nutrition, said students don't like to admit they come from poor backgrounds. “Many students whose household incomes say they are full-pay may in reality be the household where our students are the most food insecure,” he said. In most states, students that come from a family of four earning $44,955 or less qualify for reduced-price meals and student with families earning $31,590 or less get free meals. Roughly 31 million American school children qualify for free lunch.
News Article | February 15, 2017
While studying age-associated dendritic restructuring in C. elegans neurons7, we noticed that fluorescent signals originating from neurons sometimes appeared situated outside of the cell in defined vesicle-like structures that we call exophers (Fig. 1a–c, Extended Data Figs 1a–c, 2g). We first characterized exophers associated with the six gentle touch receptor neurons, for which cell bodies and dendrites are easily visualized. We found that exophers are comparable in size (average diameter 3.8 μM) to neuronal somas (Extended Data Fig. 1d). The size of the vesicles, the morphological stages in their biogenesis (Fig. 1a–c), and the genetic requirements for their production (Extended Data Table 1a) distinguish them from much smaller exosomes (around 30–100 nm; Extended Data Table 2 compares exophers to characterized extracellular vesicles). Neuronal exophers do not seem to result from classical cell division: (1) exophers did not stain with the nuclear DNA indicator DAPI (Fig. 1b); (2) cell division-inhibiting hydroxyurea8 did not change exopher levels (n > 30 per trial, three trials); and (3) RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated disruption of cell cycle genes did not change exopher detection (Extended Data Table 1b). We found that exopher production is not restricted to a specific transgene reporter or line (examples in Fig. 1, Extended Data Fig. 1). Amphid neurons that are dye-filled via openings to the outside environment9 (Extended Data Fig. 1e, f) can produce exophers, confirming that exophers can form under native physiological cellular conditions. Exopher production differs markedly among the six touch receptor neurons, with ALMR neurons producing exophers most frequently (Fig. 1d). Many neuronal types can produce exophers, including dopaminergic PDE and CEP neurons (Extended Data Fig. 1g, h), FLP neurons (not shown) and sensory ASER neurons (Extended Data Fig. 1i). Time-lapse analyses (Supplementary Videos 1, 2) revealed that exophers typically arise from the soma by asymmetrically amassing labelled protein to create a balloon-like extrusion via a pinching off event; the exopher compartment then moves outward from the neuronal cell body (extrusion approximately 15–100 min; Fig. 1a, Extended Data Fig. 1a). The plasma membrane reporter P PH(plcDelta)::GFP (Extended Data Fig. 2a) and electron microscopy data (Extended Data Fig. 2) confirm that exophers are membrane-bound. Exophers can initially remain connected to the soma by a thin thread-like tube (Fig. 1c) that allows the transfer of tagged proteins and calcium into the attached exopher compartment (Extended Data Figs 1a, 3, Supplementary Video 2). Exophers ultimately disconnect from the originating neuronal soma (Extended Data Fig. 3). Time-lapse studies indicated that aggregating mCherry often appeared preferentially concentrated into exophers, and neurons expressing the huntingtin (Htt) protein with a neurotoxic polyglutamine tract of 128 repeats (Htt-Q128) could also concentrate and extrude this aggregating protein in exophers (Fig. 2a, b). We therefore further queried the relationship of aggregating or toxic protein expression to exopher production. Strains expressing Q128 (toxic, with high levels of apparent aggregation10, 11) produced significantly more exophers than strains that did not express polyQ or that expressed Htt-Q19 (non-toxic and low aggregation) (Fig. 2c). Likewise, aggregating mCherry lines exhibited higher average exopher numbers over adult life than lines expressing soluble green fluorescent protein (GFP) (see Fig. 2d). High aggregate load in individual neurons was predictive of increased exopher production on the following day (Fig. 2e). Conversely, mCherry RNAi reduced the number of exophers by approximately one-half in a line producing aggregating mCherry (Fig. 2f). Although our studies cannot determine the relative contribution of aggregate load from protein expression levels, they suggest that proteostatic challenges increase exopher production. Consistent with a potential role for exophers in the elimination of potentially harmful neuronal contents, the expression of amyloid-forming human Alzheimer’s disease fragment amyloid-β in ASER neurons increases exopher numbers (Fig. 2g). Our combined observations on exopher formation, contents and frequency of detection suggest that exophers preferentially include aggregated, excess, or otherwise neurotoxic proteins for removal. To address the hypothesis that aggregation-prone proteins might be selectively extruded in exophers, we constructed a line that expressed both an aggregation-prone mCherry (Is[P mCh1]) and a non-aggregating GFP (Is[P GFP]) and compared the red and green fluorescence distribution between exophers and somas (example in Fig. 2h, data in Fig. 2i). In 22 out of 23 exophers, we found higher relative levels of mCherry in the exopher, and higher relative levels of GFP in the soma. Neurons appear to extrude aggregation-prone mCherry preferentially compared with soluble GFP, suggesting that deleterious materials are identified and sorted for export during exopher-genesis. To investigate whether proteostatic challenges enhance the exopher production response, we manipulated the in vivo protein-folding milieu. We found a roughly sixfold increase in exopher production in an hsf-1(sy441) mutant deficient in the core proteostasis transcription factor HSF-1 (and therefore deficient in chaperone expression) (Fig. 3a). We impaired autophagy by treating animals with the pharmacological inhibitor spautin-1 and by RNAi knockdown (lgg-1, atg-7, bec-1, lgg-1/2) in a strain expressing aggregation-prone mCherry, and measured a significant increase in exopher incidence (Fig. 3b, c). Impairment of proteasome activity with the inhibitor MG132 on strain Is[P mCh1] also increased exopher production (Fig. 3d). Given that inhibiting several facets of proteostasis increases exopher extrusion, we suggest that exophers may constitute a previously undescribed component of the proteostasis network, which may function as a backup or alternative response to rid cells of neurotoxic aggregates/proteins when proteostasis becomes overwhelmed by mounting intracellular proteotoxicity. Exopher production occurs with a notable bimodal distribution throughout adult life: exophers are most commonly observed at adult days A2–A3, diminish in abundance at A4–A8, and then reappear again later in life at approximately A10–A11 (Fig. 2d; similar young adult pattern with dye-filled amphid neurons, Extended Data Fig. 1f; and with a 1-day earlier onset in an hsf-1 mutant, Extended Data Fig. 1j). The distinctive temporal production profile suggests that conditions permissive for exopher production exist in young adulthood but can then be limited or remain below a threshold until late adulthood. The coincidence of the early peak with a transition in C. elegans young adult proteostasis management12, 13, 14 suggests that the first wave of exopher-genesis may serve as a normal component of an orchestrated proteostasis reset in young adulthood that involves the removal of neuronal debris generated during development; the later adult increase in exopher production may be the consequence of age-associated decline in proteostatic robustness. Rather than inducing neuronal death or dysfunction, exopher-genesis seems to be beneficial. First, in hundreds of longitudinal observations, we did not observe neuronal loss after exopher production: exophers are distinct from apoptotic bodies in their biogenesis (Fig. 1a, Extended Data Fig. 1a), and the soma of an exopher-producing neuron retains normal ultrastructural features (Extended Data Fig. 2e). Second, the relative functionality of proteotoxically stressed neurons that have generated exophers is increased compared with neurons that did not extrude exophers. In blinded studies of a line expressing cyan fluorescent protein (CFP)-tagged Q128, which progressively impairs touch sensation10, we found that midlife touch sensitivity is greater when ALMR had definitely produced an exopher at A2, as compared to age-matched siblings in which ALMR had not produced an exopher (Fig. 3e). Third, we identified pod-1 and emb-8 as polarity genes required in adults for exopher-genesis (Fig. 3f), and found that adult RNAi knockdown impaired midlife touch sensitivity (Fig. 3g). Although we cannot rule out that pod-1 and emb-8 RNAi interventions might generally disrupt adult neuronal function, taken together our data are consistent with a model in which adult neurons that do not make exophers become functionally compromised compared to those neurons that extruded offending contents. Overall, adult neurons seem to be healthier after a considerable expulsion of potentially toxic contents. Considering the large apparent volume of exophers, we proposed that they might include organelles. Indeed, both lysosomes (Extended Data Fig. 4) and mitochondria (Fig. 4a, b, Extended Data Fig. 5) can be extruded in exophers. Mitochondrially localized GFP reporters revealed mitochondrial inclusion in budding and dissociated exophers, with punctate or filamentous morphology typical of adult mitochondrial networks (Fig. 4a, Extended Data Fig. 5a–c). To address whether impairing mitochondrial quality enhances the production of exophers, we genetically manipulated the mitophagy mediator dct-1 (homologue of mammalian BNIP3), the human Parkinson’s disease homologues pink-1 (PINK)15 and pdr-1 (PARK2)16 implicated in mitochondrial maintenance, and the mitochondrial unfolded protein response gene ubl-5 (ref. 17) (Fig. 4c, d). We conclude that several genetic approaches that impair mitochondria can increase exopher-genesis. To address the hypothesis that stressed or damaged mitochondria might be preferentially segregated to exophers, we used the mitochondrial reporter mitoROGFP, which changes its peak excitation wavelength from around 405 nm (oxidized) to 476 nm (reduced) according to the local oxidative environment18, 19. We find a significant increase in the 405 nm (oxidized)/476 nm (reduced) excitation ratio of mitochondria in exophers compared to those in somas (Fig. 4e), roughly equivalent to the redox excitation ratio observed in C. elegans neurons subjected to H O -induced oxidative stress19. We confirmed higher oxidation scores using MitoTimer, an alternative reporter of mitochondrial matrix oxidation20 (Extended Data Fig. 5d). In addition, touch neurons of juglone-treated21 bzIs166[P mCherry]; zhsEx17[P mitoLS::ROGFP] animals had significantly higher numbers of mitochondria-including exophers than matched controls (Extended Data Fig. 5e). Although compromised mitochondrial health may impair neuronal proteostasis, thus increasing exopher production, our data establish that touch neurons can eject mitochondria via exophers, which raises the intriguing possibility that exopher-genesis may constitute a previously unappreciated removal-based mechanism of mitochondrial homeostasis. We next sought to determine the fate of the extruded exopher and its contents. With time, exopher fluorescence intensity diminishes or disappears (persistence times 1–12 h), possibly as exopher contents are degraded internally or digested by the neighbouring hypodermis that fully surrounds the touch neuron and has degradative capabilities. Disruption of the C. elegans apoptotic engulfment genes ced-1 (homologue of mammalian CD91, LRP1 and MEGF10, and fly Draper), ced-6 (GULP) and ced-7 (ABC1) increases the detection of ALMR neurons that have extruded several exophers (Fig. 5a, Extended Data Fig. 6a); however, the genetic manipulation of a parallel engulfment pathway comprising ced-2 (Crk-II), ced-5 (DOCK180), ced-10 (RAC1), ced-12 (ELMO) and psr-1 (PSR) did not change the frequency of exopher generation or the detection of multiple exophers. Moreover, we did not detect the apoptotic ‘eat-me’ signal phosphatidylserine on the exopher surface using a widely expressed phosphatidylserine-binding annexinV::GFP (0 out of 43 exophers; Extended Data Fig. 6b). Our data suggest that hypodermal recognition/degradation of exophers and their contents occurs by mechanisms that are at least in part distinct from the classical removal of apoptotic corpses, but involve the CED-1, CED-6 and CED-7 proteins. Electron microscopy studies also show that the hypodermis may mediate the degradation of at least some exopher contents (Extended Data Fig. 2d–f, h). The lack of a detectable phosphatidylserine signal on exophers raised the question as to whether at least some exopher contents might be destined to elude hypodermal degradation. Indeed, fluorescent mCherry protein that was originally expressed specifically in touch neurons, or fluorescent DiI loaded into dye-filling neurons, appeared later in distant scavenger coelomocytes (Fig. 5b–d, Extended Data Fig. 6c). Blocking coelomocyte uptake capacity by cup-4 mutation22 caused fluorescent particles to accumulate outside neurons, possibly within the pseudocoelom (body cavity; Extended Data Fig. 6d, e). We conclude that some exopher contents transit the hypodermal tissue to be released into the pseudocoelomic fluid, from which materials can later be taken up by distant coelomocytes. Exophers can therefore mediate transfer of neuronal materials to remote cells. Considerable excitement in the neurodegenerative disease field has been generated by the findings that mammalian neurons can extrude conformational disease proteins, including in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion disease23. The production of exophers in C. elegans constitutes a newly identified mechanism by which neurons can transfer cellular material (preferentially neurotoxic species) to other cells. Notably, in a C. elegans muscle model of prion toxicity, offending prion proteins were transferred among muscle cells and ultimately localized to coelomocytes24. We speculate that the basic mechanism we document here may correspond to a conserved pathway for the transfer of toxic contents out of many cell types. In this regard, it may be noteworthy that mammalian aggregated poly-Q-expanded huntingtin can transfer between neurons via tunnelling nanotubes25, 26, 27 that resemble thin connections between C. elegans somas and exophers, and that neuronal polyQ in Drosophila is transferred to glia via a process that requires the CED-1 homologue, Draper28. Recent reports show that mitochondria can transfer out of specific cells to contribute positive roles (mesenchymal stem cells via tunnelling nanotubes29; astrocytes to neurons in a stroke model30), but our study underscores a generally underappreciated option for mitochondrial quality control: mitochondrial expulsion. The mitochondrial expulsion we report in C. elegans touch neurons has a notable mammalian counterpart: mouse mitochondria originating in retinal ganglion cells can be extruded into neighbouring astrocytes for degradation6 (with some similar morphology to C. elegans exophers; see fig. 1e of ref. 6). Although further study will be required to establish definitively the health status and fates of transferred mitochondria in the C. elegans model, it is tempting to speculate that transcellular degradation of mitochondria may be a more broadly used mechanism of mitochondrial quality control than currently appreciated, with associated potential importance in neuronal health. Overall, although further experiments are needed to determine the detailed mechanisms at play and validate the proposed functions of exophers in proteostasis and the removal of damaged organelles, we suggest that exopher production is a previously unrecognized mechanism for clearing out accumulating protein aggregates and dysfunctional organelles that threaten neuronal homeostasis (Extended Data Fig. 7). The analogous process in mammals could enable the transfer of misfolded protein and/or dysfunctional mitochondria to neighbouring cells, promoting human pathology in neurodegenerative disease if compromised. Mechanistic dissection of this new aspect of proteostasis and mitochondrial homeostasis should thus inform on fundamental mechanisms of neuronal maintenance and suggest targets for intervention in neurodegenerative disease.
News Article | February 19, 2017
MIDDLETOWN, R.I., Feb. 19, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq:KVHI), is introducing the TACNAV Light/GPS navigation solution today, at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Based on KVH’s successful line of tactical navigation systems, TACNAV Light/GPS features a newly designed sensor mast with embedded GPS, and utilizes KVH’s new TACNAV Moving Map Display (MMD) and its proven Universal Multilingual Display (UMD). TACNAV Light/GPS is designed specifically to meet the requirements of light military vehicles used for such functions as troop transport and reconnaissance, where 100% situational awareness is vital. The system provides positioning accuracy within 5 meters CEP with valid GPS, and a dead reckon accuracy of 2-3% distance travelled without GPS. “The TACNAV Light/GPS is an affordable and reliable navigation solution for a wide range of military vehicles today,” says Dan Conway, executive vice president of KVH’s guidance and stabilization group. “It’s particularly useful to have two displays – the MMD with the user-friendly touchscreen for the commander, and the UMD for the driver – providing essential information to keep vehicles on track and soldiers safe.” The new MMD delivers real-time tactical moving map technology that enables the vehicle’s commander to view vehicle travel; the commander can also create, store, and activate waypoints by utilizing the touchscreen. The vehicle driver relies on KVH’s proven multilingual display, the UMD, for steer-to functionality. KVH’s TACNAV product line is currently in use by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, as well as many allied militaries, including Saudi Arabia, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Egypt, Botswana, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Romania, Poland, Turkey, Malaysia, Switzerland, South Korea, Singapore, Brazil, and Italy. Note to Editors: For more information about KVH’s TACNAV Light/GPS military navigation solution, please visit www.kvh.com/tacnav. High-resolution images of KVH products are available at the KVH Press Room Image Library. About KVH Industries, Inc. KVH Industries, Inc. is a premier manufacturer of high-performance sensors and integrated inertial systems for defense and commercial guidance and stabilization applications, having sold more than 19,000 TACNAV systems and more than 100,000 fiber optic gyros. KVH is also a leading provider of solutions that bring global high-speed Internet, television, voice services, and content via satellite to mobile users at sea, on land, and in the air. KVH is based in Middletown, RI, with research, development, and manufacturing operations in Middletown, RI, and Tinley Park, IL. The company’s global presence includes offices in Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. This release may contain certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements include, for example, statements regarding the functionality, characteristics, quality, and performance of KVH’s products and technology, as well as customer demand, preferences, requirements, and expectations. The actual results could differ materially. Factors that may cause such differences include, among others, uncertainties and risks associated with the delivery or performance of critical hardware; unanticipated declines or changes in customer demand, due to competitive, economic, seasonal, and other factors; delays in customers’ qualification processes for our products; changes in military fielding and equipment requirements; lack of reliable vendors; continued substantial fluctuations in military sales, including to foreign customers; the unpredictability of defense budget priorities as well as the order timing, purchasing schedules, and priorities for defense products, including possible order cancellations; the uncertain impact of potential budget cuts by government customers; and export restrictions, delays in procuring export licenses, and other international risks. These and other risk factors are discussed in more detail in KVH’s most recent Form 10-Q filed with the SEC. KVH does not assume any obligation to update its forward-looking statements to reflect new information or developments. KVH and TACNAV are registered trademarks of KVH Industries, Inc.
News Article | February 9, 2017
The research analysis report “Hydraulic Fracturing Market Size By Well (Horizontal, Vertical), By Technology (Plug-And-Perforation, Sliding Sleeve), By Application (Crude Oil, Shale Gas, Tight Gas, Tight Oil) Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook (U.S., Canada, Mexico, UK, Russia, Norway, China, Brunei, Australia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Oman, Argentina), Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2016 – 2024” by Global Market Insights, Inc. says Hydraulic Fracturing Market share is poised to exceed USD 68 billion by 2024. Increasing investment towards exploration and production of unconventional resources due to rising concern towards rapid depletion of conventional resources will drive the hydraulic fracturing market size during the forecast period. Growing petroleum demand, rapid infrastructure development and demographics will drive industry growth. Global hydrocarbon based liquid fuel demand for2015 was more than 92 mb/d. Request for a sample of this research report @ https://www.gminsights.com/request-sample/detail/1122 Natural gas is expected to witness the considerable growth owing to wide applications across industries and power plants. Its environment friendly nature makes it preferable over other alternatives. Tight gas accounted for over 15% of global hydraulic fracturing market share in 2015. Horizontal fracturing demand is expected to witness substantial growth, owing to its ability to access natural gas surrounding the entire portion of horizontal drilled section. Plug and perforation hydraulic fracturing market size was valued at over USD 15 billion in 2015 and is expected to witness handsome growth in future. Ease of accessibility for fracking in horizontal wells will boost technology demand. Several restrictions in some countries owing to its adverse environmental impact including noise and visuals impact, seismic events, land surface disturbance etc. may hamper the business. High operational expenditures involved in development of shale gas is also among the major restraints. Browse key industry insights spread across 145 pages with 182 market data tables & 11 figures & charts from this 2017 report Hydraulic Fracturing Market in detail along with the table of contents at: Positive outlook toward automobile and manufacturing sector may favor the crude oil demand in coming years. Canada hydraulic fracturing market size accounted for over 10% of regional revenue share in 2015. Increasing exploration and production of unconventional resources including shale gas coupled with availability of resources and advanced technology may favor growth. Argentina hydraulic fracturing market size was valued at over USD 2 billion in 2015 and is expected to witness a handsome growth in future. Abundant availability of unconventional resources will propel the regional growth. Government has also introduced various initiatives or measures to encourage market dynamics and competition, facilitating entry of new players which will drive demand. Iran hydraulic fracturing market share is set to witness a substantial growth due to presence of unconventional reserves. In April 2016, (CEP) Center for Exploration and Production announced 158 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. Indonesia is set to exceed USD 300 million by 2024. The country holds decent shale reserves which could possibly be measure to 574 TCF. Make an inquiry for purchasing this report @ https://www.gminsights.com/inquiry-before-buying/1122 Hydraulic Fracturing market research report includes in-depth coverage of the industry with estimates & forecast in terms of revenue in USD Billion from 2013 to 2024 , for the following segments: The above information is provided on a regional and country basis for the following : Global Market Insights, Inc., headquartered in Delaware, U.S., is a global market research and consulting service provider; offering syndicated and custom research reports along with growth consulting services. Our business intelligence and industry research reports offer clients with penetrative insights and actionable market data specially designed and presented to aid strategic decision making. These exhaustive reports are designed via a proprietary research methodology and are available for key industries such as chemicals, advanced materials, technology, renewable energy and biotechnology.
News Article | March 2, 2017
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - March 02, 2017) - Clairvest Group Inc. (TSX: CVG) today announced that the Toronto Stock Exchange has accepted a notice filed by Clairvest of its intention to make a new normal course issuer bid. Clairvest's current normal course issuer bid expires on March 6, 2017. The notice provides that the Corporation may, during the 12-month period commencing March 7, 2017 and ending March 6, 2018, purchase on The Toronto Stock Exchange up to 760,627 common shares in total, being approximately 5% of the outstanding common shares. The average daily trading volume for the six months ending February 28, 2017 was 438 common shares. Daily purchases will be limited to 1,000 common shares, other than block purchase exceptions. Any shares purchased will be cancelled. The price which the Corporation will pay for any such shares will be the market price at the time of acquisition. The actual number of common shares which may be purchased and the timing of any such purchases will be determined by the Corporation. In total 3,449,895 common shares at a cost of approximately $35.9 million have been purchased under previous normal course issuer bids. The Corporation purchased 20,000 common shares under its current bid within the last twelve months at a weighted average price of $29.45 per share. There were 15,212,540 common shares (15,194,095 common shares and 18,445 Employee Deferred Share Units) of the Corporation outstanding on February 28, 2017. The Corporation believes, depending upon future price movements and other factors, that its outstanding common shares may represent an attractive investment and a desirable use of a portion of its available funds. Clairvest Group Inc. is a private equity investor which invests its own capital, and that of third parties through the Clairvest Equity Partners ("CEP") limited partnerships, in businesses that have the potential to generate superior returns. In addition to providing financing, Clairvest contributes strategic expertise and execution ability to support the growth and development of its investee partners. Clairvest realizes value through investment returns and the eventual disposition of its investments.
News Article | February 15, 2017
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - February 13, 2017) - Clairvest Group Inc. (TSX: CVG) today reported results for the third quarter and nine months ended December 31, 2016. (All figures are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated) Clairvest's book value was $532.9 million or $35.08 per share at December 31, 2016, compared with $502.2 million or $33.05 per share at September 30, 2016. Net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2017 was $30.8 million, or $2.03 per share, which reflects the net investment gains on the sale of Cieslok as described below. For the nine months ended December 31, 2016, net income was $52.9 million or $3.48 per share. At December 31, 2016, Clairvest had approximately $676 million of capital available for future investments through treasury funds, credit facilities, access to funds in its acquisition entities and uncalled committed capital in various Clairvest Equity Partnerships (the "CEP Funds"). During the quarter, Clairvest invested an additional $20 million in Centaur Gaming in the form of term loans with stapled warrants. The investment was made by CEP IV Co-Investment Limited Partnership ("CEP IV Co-Invest"). In aggregate, the investment held by CEP IV Co-Invest is convertible upon exercise into 12.7% of Class A and B units in Centaur Gaming. As at December 31, 2016, Clairvest's carrying value of the investment in Centaur Gaming was $107.2 million representing 20.1% of the book value of Clairvest. Also during the quarter, Clairvest and its managed funds (the "DA Investor Group") provided a $25 million revolving credit facility ("Revolver") to DA Defence, $20 million of which was drawn at closing and outstanding at December 31, 2016. All drawn amounts under the Revolver are secured, bear interest at a rate of 12% per annum and mature on June 30, 2017 subject to acceleration in the event of certain refinancing transactions. Clairvest's portion of the investment was made by CEP IV Co-Invest, which committed $8.0 million for this Revolver and at December 31, 2016, $6.7 million of which was drawn by DA Defence. In conjunction with this transaction, Discovery Air repaid in full its secured revolving credit facility with the DA Investor Group which had $5.5 million outstanding at September 30, 2016. The DA Investor Group also purchased an additional 4,179,122 common shares in Discovery Air for $0.8 million increasing their aggregate ownership in Discovery Air to 86.1%. In aggregate, CEP IV Co-Invest made net additional investments in Discovery Air and its subsidiaries of $5.2 million during the third quarter of fiscal 2017. In December 2016, Rivers Casino, a gaming entertainment complex located in Des Plaines, Illinois, completed a financing and paid US$42.7 million in distributions to Clairvest and CEP IV. Clairvest's portion of the investment was made by CEP IV Co-Invest, which received US$11.4 million in distributions. Rivers Casino commenced operations in July 2011, and to December 31, 2016, it had made distributions totaling 4.3 times invested capital to Clairvest and CEP IV. In December 2016, Clairvest closed on a new 5-year $100 million committed revolving credit facility with several Schedule 1 Canadian chartered banks. The new credit facility replaced the $95 million in prior credit facilities. The new credit facility has an initial maturity date of December 22, 2021 and is eligible for a one-year extension on each anniversary of the closing date. At closing and at December 31, 2016, no amounts were drawn on this new credit facility. Subsequent to quarter end, Clairvest and CEP IV completed the sale of Cieslok Media and realized 8.4 times invested capital or an IRR of 92% over a holding period of approximately three years. Clairvest's portion of the investment was made by CEP IV Co-Invest. Inclusive of the carried interest from CEP IV and management participation entitlements, the sale of Cieslok Media increased Clairvest's book value by $1.24 per share, substantially all of which was recognized during the third quarter of fiscal 2017. "We concluded the third quarter on a very positive note, realizing an outstanding return on Clairvest's investment in Cieslok and completing a successful recapitalization of the Rivers casino. In addition, we further strengthened our balance sheet by closing on a new $100 million credit facility to ensure that our liquidity and staying power are uncompromised. With this press release we also proudly celebrate 30 years in business. The recent wins are a testament that our disciplined investment approach and unwavering focus on partnership continue to be the foundation of our success", said Ken Rotman Co-CEO of Clairvest. Subject to the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange, Clairvest's Board of Directors has approved a new normal course issuer bid to purchase up to 5% of the outstanding common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange during a 12-month period expected to commence on March 7, 2017. Clairvest's third quarter fiscal 2017 financial statements and MD&A are available on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com and on the Clairvest website at www.clairvest.com. Clairvest Group Inc. is a private equity investor which invests its own capital, and that of third parties through the Clairvest Equity Partners ("CEP") limited partnerships, in businesses that have the potential to generate superior returns. In addition to providing financing, Clairvest contributes strategic expertise and execution ability to support the growth and development of its investee partners. Clairvest realizes value through investment returns and the eventual disposition of its investments. This news release contains forward-looking statements with respect to Clairvest Group Inc., its subsidiaries, its CEP limited partnerships and their investments. These statements are based on current expectations and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Clairvest, its subsidiaries, its CEP limited partnerships and their investments to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include general and economic business conditions and regulatory risks. Clairvest is under no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein should material facts change due to new information, future events or otherwise.
News Article | September 7, 2016
Devices called ultracapacitors have recently become attractive forms of energy storage: They recharge in seconds, have very long lifespans, work with close to 100 percent efficiency, and are much lighter and less volatile than batteries. But they suffer from low energy-storage capacity and other drawbacks, meaning they mostly serve as backup power sources for things like electric cars, renewable energy technologies, and consumer devices. But MIT spinout FastCAP Systems is developing ultracapacitors, and ultracapacitor-based systems, that offer greater energy density and other advancements. This technology has opened up new uses for the devices across a wide range of industries, including some that operate in extreme environments. Based on MIT research, FastCAP’s ultracapacitors store up to 10 times the energy and achieve 10 times the power density of commercial counterparts. They’re also the only commercial ultracapacitors capable of withstanding temperatures reaching as high as 300 degrees Celsius and as low as minus 110 C, allowing them to endure conditions found in drilling wells and outer space. Most recently, the company developed a AA-battery-sized ultracapacitor with the perks of its bigger models, so clients can put the devices in places where ultracapacitors couldn’t fit before. Founded in 2008, FastCAP has already taken its technology to the oil and gas industry, and now has its sights set on aerospace and defense and, ultimately, electric, hybrid, and even fuel-cell vehicles. “In our long-term product market, we hope that we can make an impact on transportation, for increased energy efficiency,” says co-founder John Cooley PhD ’11, who is now president and chief technology officer of FastCAP. FastCAP’s co-founders and technology co-inventors are MIT alumnus Riccardo Signorelli PhD ’09 and Joel Schindall, the Bernard Gordon Professor of the Practice in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Ultracapacitors use electric fields to move ions to and from the surfaces of positive and negative electrode plates, which are usually coated with a porous material called activated carbon. Ions cling to the electrodes and let go quickly, allowing for quick cycling, but the small surface area limits the number of ions that cling, restricting energy storage. Traditional ultracapacitors can, for instance, hold about 5 percent of the energy that lithium ion batteries of the same size can. In the late 2000s, the FastCAP founding team had a breakthrough: They discovered that a tightly packed array of carbon nanotubes vertically aligned on the electrode provided much more surface area. The array was also uniform, whereas the porous material was irregular and difficult for ions to move in and out of. “A way to look at it is the industry standard looks like a nanoscopic sponge, and the vertically aligned nanotube arrays look like a nanoscopic hairbrush” that provides the ions more efficient access to the electrode surface, Cooley says. With funding from the Ford-MIT Alliance and MIT Energy Initiative, the researchers built a fingernail-sized prototype that stored twice the energy and delivered seven to 15 times more power than traditional ultracapacitors. In 2008, the three researchers launched FastCAP, and Cooley and Signorelli brought the business idea to Course 15.366 (Energy Ventures), where they designed a three-step approach to a market. The idea was to first focus on building a product for an early market: oil and gas. Once they gained momentum, they’d focus on two additional markets, which turned out to be aerospace and defense, and then automotive and stationary storage, such as server farms and grids. “One of the paradigms of Energy Ventures was that steppingstone approach that helped the company succeed,” Cooley says. FastCAP then earned a finalist spot in the 2009 MIT Clean Energy Prize (CEP), which came with some additional perks. “The value there was in the diligence effort we did on the business plan, and in the marketing effect that it had on the company,” Cooley says. Based on their CEP business plan, that year FastCAP won a $5 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy grant to design ultracapacitors for its target markets in automotive and stationary storage. FastCAP also earned a 2012 DOE Geothermal Technologies Program grant to develop very high-temperature energy storage for geothermal well drilling, where temperatures far exceed what available energy-storage devices can tolerate. Still under development, these ultracapacitors have proven to perform from minus 5 C to over 250 C. Over the years, FastCAP made several innovations that have helped the ultracapacitors survive in the harsh conditions. In 2012, FastCAP designed its first-generation product, for the oil and gas market: a high-temperature ultracapacitor that could withstand temperatures of 150 C and posed no risk of explosion when crushed or damaged. “That was an interesting market for us, because it’s a very harsh environment with [tough] engineering challenges, but it was a high-margin, low-volume first-entry market,” Cooley says. “We learned a lot there.” In 2014, FastCAP deployed its first commercial product. The Ulysses Power System is an ultracapacitor-powered telemetry device, a long antenna-like system that communicates with drilling equipment. This replaces the battery-powered systems that are volatile and less efficient. It also amplifies the device’s signal strength by 10 times, meaning it can be sent thousands of feet underground and through subsurface formations that were never thought penetrable in this way before. After a few more years of research and development, the company is now ready to break into aerospace and defense. In 2015, FastCAP completed two grant programs with NASA to design ultracapacitors for deep space missions (involving very low temperatures) and for Venus missions (involving very high temperatures). In May 2016, FastCAP continued its relationship with NASA to design an ultracapacitor-powered module for components on planetary balloons, which float to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere to observe comets. The company is also developing an ultracapacitor-based energy-storage system to increase the performance of the miniature satellites known as CubeSats. There are other aerospace applications too, Cooley says: “There are actuators systems for stage separation devices in launch vehicles, and other things in satellites and spacecraft systems, where onboard systems require high power and the usual power source can’t handle that.” A longtime goal has been to bring ultracapacitors to electric and hybrid vehicles, providing high-power capabilities for stop-start and engine starting, torque assist, and longer battery life. In March, FastCAP penned a deal with electric-vehicle manufacturer Mullen Technologies. The idea is to use the ultracapacitors to augment the batteries in the drivetrain, drastically improving the range and performance of the vehicles. Based on their wide temperature capabilities, FastCAP’s ultracapacitors could be placed under the hood, or in various places in the vehicle’s frame, where they were never located before and could last longer than traditional ultracapacitors. The devices could also be an enabling component in fuel-cell vehicles, which convert chemical energy from hydrogen gas into electricity that is then stored in a battery. These zero-emissions vehicles have difficulty handling surges of power — and that’s where FastCAP’s ultracapacitors can come in, Cooley says. “The ultracapacitors can sort of take ownership of the power and variations of power demanded by the load that the fuel cell is not good at handling,” Cooley says. “People can get the range they want for a fuel-cell vehicle that they’re anxious about with battery-powered electric vehicles. So there are a lot of good things we are enabling by providing the right ultracapacitor technology to the right application.”