Down to the wire: Midwest entrepreneur’s invention helps power company lineworkers

The mechanical tool makes specialized wire stripping easier and safer.

Today’s headlines:

ūüéČ NEW PRODUCT:¬†Kansas State University¬†assisted entrepreneur Andy Sedlacek, a lineworker for a Midwest electric power company, with designing and filing a patent for a¬†specialized wire stripper¬†used by power distribution workers. When power company lineworkers install new service connections, they use a special wire that needs the protective insulation stripped in spots, and the new mechanically powered instrument makes the task safer, less time consuming, and less tiring. The specialized wire stripper now is commercially available across the country.

ūüĒ¨ RESEARCH:¬†A researcher at¬†South Dakota State University¬†is collaborating on a¬†portable device¬†to detect per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)¬†in contaminated water and soil. The device would make testing easier and more efficient by eliminating the need to take water and soil to the lab for analysis.

ūüíį FUNDING:¬†The¬†North Dakota Industrial Commission¬†awarded $500,000¬†in renewable energy matching funds to the¬†Energy & Environmental Research Center¬†at the¬†University of North Dakota¬†to help develop the state‚Äôs first integrated ethanol and carbon capture and storage facility. Part of the project involves creating a guidance document for other biofuel and renewable energy producers that are interested in this technology.

ūüĆě SOLAR:¬†Researchers at¬†Purdue University¬†and the¬†University of Michigan¬†discovered a way to¬†measure the energy¬†of high-energy ‚Äúhot‚ÄĚ electrons that could help solar panels harvest light more efficiently. Previously, researchers have not been able to quantify hot electrons‚Äô energy. Hot electrons also have the potential to improve efficiency for other energy technologies, such as hydrogen-based fuel cells.

ūüĒč BATTERIES:¬†Researchers at¬†Argonne National Laboratory¬†are working on a battery technology that uses the metal¬†manganese as a more environmentally friendly alternative¬†to cobalt in lithium-ion batteries. Cobalt is expensive and often mined in unstable regions with inhumane working conditions. The manganese battery has potential applications for electric vehicles and the electric grid, where better storage options are needed for renewable energies.

ūüŹÜ AWARDS:¬†The¬†Technology Council of North Dakota¬†is¬†seeking nominations¬†for its annual awards program to honor individuals, businesses, or groups changing the face of the state‚Äôs technology industry. Submissions are due June 26.

Do you know of other Midwest businesses or organizations developing technology that improves the environment? Send news tips, press releases, and feedback to or connect on Twitter @centereddottech.

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