CAPTURE - COMPUTE - CONSUME
Research North Dakota Awards Grant to UND Tech Accelerator for $900,000 Turbine Blade Inspections Automation Project
Grand Forks, North Dakota (April 22, 2015): EdgeData, a Grand Forks-based company focused on the capture, compute and consumption of data, has matched a newly approved $450,000 Research ND grant to the University of North Dakota (UND) by the North Dakota Centers of Excellence Commission. The grant will be used for applied research aimed at commercialization of services related to EdgeData’s proprietary process for inspecting industrial wind turbine blades with Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). EdgeData has partnered with LM Wind Power, the world’s leading independent blade supplier to the wind industry, to perfect and deploy BladeEdge. BladeEdge will automate activities associated with condition assessments and service planning for wind turbine blades; and eliminate the safety risk associated with elevated work for inspections. SmartC2 is a collaborating company in the development of BladeEdge.
Home to one of the six national Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS test sites, North Dakota is an emerging center for UAS innovation. Using UAS rather than human crews for wind turbine inspections is expected to eliminate elevated work safety risk for inspections, recover the wind farm energy-efficiency loss due to blade condition and help address the lifecycle extension of wind-energy infrastructure. Kevan Rusk, the head of the UND Tech Accelerator added “the project will help showcase the advantages of the UAS and renewable energy environments in Grand Forks and all of North Dakota, so that other companies can come here for technology application acceleration.”
“Automated condition assessment and integration in our service processes will serve the wind energy industry and its customers with higher efficiencies, lower costs and life extensions,” said John Jeno, the Senior Manager for Regional Technology for LM Wind Power. Bill Burga, LM Wind Power’s Director of Operations – Americas, observed that “this important applied research is aimed at improving or maintaining the condition of an important part of the wind turbine asset, the blades, and is a tool towards further advancing the wind energy industry. I’m proud that North Dakota is a leader.”
“EdgeData is an exciting new venture in our technology ecosystem. We are very excited about the potential of the UAS inspection methodology being pioneered by EdgeData and LM Wind Power at UND,” said Bruce Gjovig of the UND Center of Innovation. “EdgeData wants to create value for the North Dakota taxpayer in return for their support.” said Greg Thorsteinson, one of the founders of EdgeData. “This grant will accelerate the process of developing and refining this technology to enhance energy efficiency, protect workers, save money and create value.”
More information about BladeEdge may be found at www.EdgeData.net .
Trial results promising for curing puppies' parvo
Posted: Jun 01, 2014 10:05 AM CST Updated: Jun 04, 2014 12:40 PM CST
By DAVE KOLPACK
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota company that discovered an antibody technology while trying to cure flocks of dying geese is using its research for a more warm and fuzzy purpose: saving puppies.
Early tests performed on about 50 puppies in seven states for Grand Forks-based Avianax have resulted in a 90 percent cure rate for canine parvovirus, which spreads through animal waste and direct contact between dogs, usually at kennels, shelters and shows. Some puppies die from the virus and others are euthanized because the antibiotics and other medicine needed to treat it can be too expensive - sometimes up to $2,000 - and take too long.
It isn't clear how many dogs contract parvo annually, since the disease isn't required to be reported. At the Kansas City Pet Project, one of eight test sites and among the largest shelters in the United States, about five cases a month wind up on the "parvo ward." Officials with the Missouri shelter believe the treatment will lead to a dramatic increase in their "parvo graduates."
"When the box arrived we were yelling, 'Woo, the geese antibodies are here!'" shelter spokeswoman Tori Fugate said. "Just the fact that someone is caring out there is pretty remarkable. A lot of open admission shelters choose to not treat parvo because it's considered too much of a resource."
Avianax chief operating officer Richard Glynn hopes to start selling the parvoONE antibody-based treatment - that is harvested from the yokes of goose eggs - for $75 a dose by next spring.
"I think there will be a lot of puppy owners who will be very happy," Glynn said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a conditional permit for the field trials that are taking place in sites in Missouri, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Texas, North Carolina and Arizona. Such permits are normally reserved for outbreaks or other dire situations, but this one passed muster because there's no product specifically targeted for parvovirus, said Jeremy Vrchota, Avianax's sales director and regulatory liaison.
Officials with the USDA's Animal and Plant Inspection Service did not respond to phone messages left by The Associated Press.
The company's path to puppy love began a decade ago after a mysterious disease - later found to be West Nile virus - spread among flocks at the South Dakota-based Schiltz Goose Farm, the largest goose producer in North America. Farm owners James and Richard Schiltz and Glynn, who was working for them, found researchers at the University of North Dakota who were interested in the project.
The group, led by Dr. David Bradley, the executive director of the Center of Research Excellence for Avian Therapeutics for Infectious Diseases at UND, discovered antibodies in the geese that they could purify and put back into other birds. The treatment worked.
"We went to the Mayo Clinic and they looked at all our work," Glynn said. "They called it a game-changing technology."
Avianax quickly found promising links between goose antibodies and treatments for other diseases, including rabies, dengue fever, avian flu and some cancers. Because they didn't have the money or time to explore testing for human diseases, the group set their sights on the veterinary market and eventually settled on saving puppies.
Treating parvovirus currently can cost, at a minimum, $500 for antibiotics, intravenous fluids, painkillers and stomach medicine and generally takes six days, said Dr. Darin Meulebroeck, chief medical officer for Avianax. The trials have shown the new drug can work quickly as two days, he said.
"We've lost a couple that have been so severe ... there's no drug that is going to treat 100 percent of everything," Meulebroeck said.
The tests run through November.
Glynn said Avianax has "stuck in there" with the help of key researchers and believes it is on the verge of saving human lives with a similar antibody- although it could take more than five years to reach the market. The U.S. Army is interested in using the technology for Andres virus, which has been found to lead to a fatal respiratory disease. Safety trials are scheduled in the next two years.
"We went from being goose herders from South Dakota to an antibody company," Glynn said. "And we're not done yet."