Local economy benefits from FSU research center’s ingenuity

Sastry Pamidi of the Center for
Advanced Power Systems at
Florida State.

A partnership between a Florida State University research center and a local business is bringing big bucks to the Tallahassee area while also contributing to the development of the Navy’s new fleet of all-electric ships.

Sastry Pamidi, a scholar scientist and researcher at the FSU Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS), has partnered with the Tallahassee-based Energy-to-Power Solutions (e2P) to bring in roughly $2 million in federal grant funding over the last few years.

Those funds are contributing to the local development of several superconducting-related products that could find use in the Navy’s new fleet of all-electric ships, including superconducting switches, hybrid cables and cables for electromagnetic rail guns. That funding, along with other grants from the Air Force and Department of Energy, is also helping to support the 10 employees who call e2P home.

Energy-to-Power Solutions primarily develops medical, military, space and commercial applications of low and high temperature superconducting materials and cryogenic systems.

“Partnering with local businesses is a win-win scenario for us,” Pamidi said. “On the one hand, we get access to grants that we would have never been able to compete for. On the other, we get to help the local economy by helping businesses get a foothold and grow.”

The specific grants Pamidi is referring to are known as Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between basic science and commercialization of the resulting innovations. SBIR grants enable small businesses to explore their technological potential while providing them with the incentive to profit from their commercialization efforts.

With an STTR, a business and research center have to partner up to even be considered for an award, something Pamidi and e2P had been doing for quite some time.

“The benefit of working with CAPS has been quick and easy access to experience and expertise in the field of high power, high voltage applications,” Rey said. “They can also turn around and rapidly test out concepts in their labs using complex and costly equipment and software, which as a small company we do not have access to.”

Rey has also been able to take advantage of his relationship with FSU by leveraging its graduate pipeline to help fill openings within his company. To date, the majority of his employees are FSU graduates.

Due to the nature of the STTR and SBIR grants, the future looks even brighter for this flourishing partnership. As they achieve research milestones, opportunities will open up for even larger funding amounts through these grants, feeding both the success of the company and the benefits to the local economy.

Sastry also continues to develop additional partnerships with other small businesses where he has successfully generated an additional $1 million in grant funding.

To learn more about CAPS, visit http://www.caps.fsu.edu/. To learn more about STTR and SBIR grants, visit https://www.sbir.gov/. To learn more about e2P, visit http://www.e2pco.com/.