Category Archives: Innovation

Washington companies increase manufacturing efficiencies.

gaming controllerSometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest impacts. Washington technology companies are helping to improve the efficiency and production in a variety of advanced manufacturing and clean energy applications. For instance, BluHaptics, has developed software that helps control underwater robots. These days robotic operators have often spent their young adult years playing gaming consoles and transferring that skill set to real world applications is a natural. Using laser data and video-game technology, BluHaptics is making it easier and more effective for oil and gas companies and other marine industries to operate robots to clean and fix things underwater. Read more in The Seattle Times.

BluHaptics is one of eight Washington companies that will be attending Hannover Messe, the world’s leading industrial show, as part of the Washington State Department of Commerce delegation. Other Washington State innovators in the delegation include a fiberglass recycler, a producer of biomass energy systems, a developer of imaging technology for monitoring power plants, a producer of clean melting iron and coke free fuels, and a protective coatings company for wind turbines. The work of these Washington State companies increases industry productivity and capabilities, and reduces risk in a variety of industrial and energy production environments.

To learn more about Washington State’s participation in Hannover Messe click here.





Washington State: 3rd in Innovation, 1st in STEM.

engineering research studentsStaying on the cutting edge of innovation and successfully bringing patentable products to market is the hallmark of a robust state economy.  Washington State ranks 3rd in innovation and 1st in concentration of STEM employment by the 2016 Bloomberg U.S. Innovation Index.

States are ranked by measuring six critical metrics. The Index evaluates R&D intensity; productivity; high-tech density; concentration of science, technology, engineering and math employment; number of graduates with science and engineering degrees; and the number of patents. Read more in the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Critical elements for this success are a cluster of research institutions, an emphasis on STEM curricula in early stages and higher education, a culture of collaboration and an entrepreneurial spirit. Washington has top-tier research institutions at the University of Washington, Washington State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, as well as nationally recognized private research organizations in life sciences.  Washington State business legends such as Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have been setting the standard in aerospace, digital technology, advanced manufacturing and life sciences. Our pioneering spirit, emphasis on research and innovation, and cross industry collaboration has fueled Washington’s long term success and quick recovery from the Great Recession.

To learn more about innovation in Washington State contact

Personalized retail around the globe.

latte cupWhether you purchase your morning latte in your hometown or in London or Dubai, with cloud technology the customer experience can be exactly the same. No more worries about downloading a special in-country app for mobile payment or the hassle of currency exchange. And, along with your drink order artificial intelligence will be suggesting food items you might enjoy with your double tall. Launching next year,  ‘My Starbucks Barista’ will personalize your order from your smartphone with your favorite food items and special discounts just for you.

Purchasing your personalized latte and tasty treat will be seamless no matter where in the world you are. Just like your hometown barista, they already know what you want to order.

Relying on cutting edge cloud-based software development, Starbucks is heading towards globalization of the coffee shop experience.  Read more at

The Washington State tech sector is leading the world in cloud based technology and the development of artificial intelligence.  The  breadth of applications for these revolutionizing technologies are helping to streamline the burgeoning global economy.

Washington State has over 14,000 software and mobile app companies. With pioneering business legends like Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, Washington has become the hub of cloud computing. With globalization of e-commerce, supply chain management and big data analysis Washington State’s tech sector is at the forefront of business in the digital age.

To learn more about the depth and breadth of Washington’s tech expertise contact

Human waste to biocrude oil in 45 minutes.

Biocrude oil produced from wastewater treatment sludge

Society produces a lot of waste and finding ways to manage and reuse it has been a robust industry for decades. Now Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, WA has developed a new process called hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) that breaks down the sewer sludge into chemical compounds with similar properties as crude oil.  The biocrude can then be refined just like the oil we pump out of the ground. The HTL process eliminates the need for drying the sewage before processing which has not proven to be cost effective.  Even the liquids and small amount of solids left after the HTL process have been found to have uses in fertilization and other chemical products. Read more about PNNL’s biocrude technology at

Washington State research institutions are in the forefront of sustainable and green energy technologies. Washington State University, PNNL and the University of Washington, along with many green tech private companies are finding ways to use alternate materials and methods to create cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. You can also read a recent post about WSU’s current effort to analyze the market potential for biowaste fuels.

To learn more about green energy technology initiatives in Washington State contact

Photos courtesy of PNNL and WE&RF.

WSU wins grant to research commercial biofuels market.

flasks of biofuels for research

Washington State has a serious commitment to clean energy and reducing emissions across industries. As an aerospace leader, Washington  researchers are focused on revolutionary biofuels that will reduce emissions from commercial aircraft and maintain fuel efficiency.

A Washington State University research team in Tri-Cities has won a grant from the National Science Foundation to research the market potential for their biofuel that converts biomass into hydrocarbons of jet fuel quality.  See article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.  The University of Washington’s Foster Business School is also providing expertise to the WSU team as they plan for bringing the biofuel to market.

Airlines are facing a demand for emissions reduction and have been testing alternative fuels. See earlier post.  And, Sea-Tac International Airport is building the infrastructure to handle these eco-friendly fuels. See 2015 post. Recently, Washington State based Alaska Air was the first to use alternative fuels on a commercial flight.

Washington State has been at the forefront of developing clean energy. Smart grids for cities, alternative fuels and high-performance power storage systems are a few of the innovations coming from Washington companies.

If you would like to learn more about clean energy, biofuels and aerospace initiatives in Washington contact


Washington State lab wins R&D innovation awards.

pacific-northwest-national-labThe R&D 100 Conference brings together the top innovators in the research world to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration, provide insight into future forecasting and to recognize innovative achievements. The 2016 Awards Ceremony, called the ‘Oscars of Innovation’, recognized two innovative achievements by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), located in Richland, Washington.

A four-dimensional imaging system was developed to scan contaminates underground which allows real-time monitoring of the effectiveness of soil remediation treatment. For practical application, PNNL  developed the E4D-RT to aide the cleanup of uranium contaminates at the Hanford Nuclear site. The subsurface imaging system has broader applications such as monitoring volcanic regions and hydraulic fracturing operations.

PNNL’s second award was for computational and modeling software that aides the development of technology to capture carbon emissions at power plants. The Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative tool gives a complete understanding of how scaled up commercial processes will operate. Read more in the Tri-City Herald.

Washington State research institutions and clean tech companies are pioneering a wide range of  innovations that help to clean up existing environmental problems and build a sustainable future that protects our natural world.

For more information about environmental innovation in Washington State contact

Washington ranks with top “knowledge capitals” worldwide.

uw-logoWashington State and the University of Washington have been highly ranked in recent studies by the Brookings Institute and Reuters.

The Brookings Institute study considered a range of factors from talented workforce and elite research universities to GDP growth, internet speed and number of globally engaged companies. Seattle ranks with the top 19 “knowledge capitals” in the U.S. and Europe. These regions are at the cutting edge of innovation and are highly productive centers. The study included 123 of the largest metro economies in the world.  Read more in The Seattle Times.

The Reuters study looked at the top 100 most innovative universities. University of Washington, with campuses in Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell, placed fifth in the world. The ranking demonstrates the ability to turn discoveries into real-world commercial solutions. The UW repeatedly ranks in the top tier showing the consistency of innovation year after year.  One center of innovation is University of Washington’s CoMotion startup incubator which has helped 126 startups become viable businesses over the past decade, with 21 spin-off companies just in 2016.  Read more in Geekwire.

From it’s pioneering history, Washington State has consistently been at the forefront of innovation. With a talented and well educated workforce, a culture of collaboration and entrepreneurial spirit, new ideas are quickly brought to market. Washington companies are setting industry standards in technology, aerospace and space exploration, advanced manufacturing and life sciences.

If you would like to know more about the innovating companies in Washington State contact


CoMotion: Bringing great ideas to market.

EngineeringResearch2A great idea is just an idea until you can successfully bring it to market. The University of Washington’s CoMotion Innovation program provides the resources and environment where cutting-edge ideas can develop into real-world, marketable solutions. The goal of CoMotion is to assist researchers, designers and entrepreneurs with targeted expertise in product development, fundraising strategies, providing a makerspace with tools and research resources; and making connections with industry leaders and investors.

A host of companies across industry sectors have spun off with CoMotion assistance. These innovators are finding solutions to create a healthier, more sustainable world.  CoMotion is in the top-tier for commercialization ranking third in the nation for launching start-ups. Read more in Geekwire.

Washington State has 2 top-tier research universities – the University of Washington and Washington State University. And, it is home to Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, one of 10 nationally funded labs in the country. The cross-pollination between science and engineering expertise, the highly skilled software development eco-system and venture capital community fuels a wide range of innovations  that successfully reach the marketplace.

If your idea would benefit from the pioneering spirit and depth of expertise in Washington State contact


Collaboration, innovation are hallmarks of Washington State business.

cloud-wiresOur digital universe and the data it creates is expanding exponentially. The cloud was created as a solution to data storage on our overloaded hard drives. But the downside of acres and acres of server farms to store all that data is  the amount of energy it requires to operate and keep those servers cool. While Washington State has remarkably low energy costs (4.25¢ per kWh) the amount of energy consumed is still enormous.

Collaboration between cloud companies such as Microsoft and top-tier research institution, the University of Washington, is creating a totally new solution to data storage that would reduce the need for more and more servers. Transforming image data into a DNA sequence and then rebuilding the image seems like stuff of science fiction. But you can read about experiments with the process in The Puget Sound Business Journal.

Washington State is the center for cloud computing and tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services are also pioneering alternative energy sources and ways of making data storage more efficient and environmentally sustainable. Read our earlier post highlighting cloud computing and energy saving efforts.

To learn more about cloud computing and the tech sector in Washington State contact

Hands-free, germ-free bathroom in the sky.

boeing-toiletAerospace innovation isn’t confined to next-gen composites and robotic assembly. Boeing engineers have come up with a new airline bathroom design in which basic functions are activated with the wave of your hand and UV rays zap the whole lavatory space when you leave. The self-cleaning bathrooms will save maintenance costs and keep travelers happier. Read more and watch the self-cleaning bathroom in action engadget.

Washington State’s culture of creativity and top-notch engineering expertise puts our companies on the cutting edge of innovation. Contact to learn about doing business in Washington State.