Niowave Dedicates $10 Million Expansion Facility July 3
1012 N. Walnut St.
Lansing, MI, 48906
Press release date: July 3, 2012
Senators Levin & Stabenow joined by Rear Admiral Klunder at Ceremony
LANSING, Michigan-Niowave, Inc. dedicated its $10 million expansion facility on July 3, 2012. On hand to speak at the dedication were Senator Carl Levin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, the chief of naval research at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and MSU Provost Kim Wilcox. The facility will be a research and development site for commercial superconducting particle accelerators. Niowave is developing a superconducting electron accelerator for the US Navy free electron laser (FEL) program, and is adapting this technology for use in producing medical radioisotopes.
Niowave founder and President, Dr. Terry Grimm began the ceremony with a brief overview of the future of superconducting technology. "Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, and Bill Gates did not invent the computer-but both were visionaries that changed the world with their respective technologies. Niowave is advancing the superconducting accelerator technologies developed at the national labs for commercial purposes, much like Space-X has made NASA technology commercially viable."
Senator Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, described how Niowave is an example of how high-tech manufacturing continues to transform our economy. "Niowave is part of the new chapter in Michigan's history. The state that put the world on wheels is now pioneering astounding new technologies, from advanced vehicle batteries to life-saving medical technologies to unlocking the mysteries of the atom," Levin said. "At the same time, Michigan companies such as Niowave are helping defend our nation and to push the frontiers of human knowledge."
An FEL is created by converting the kinetic energy of a high-energy electron beam into high-energy laser light. The Navy is developing the FEL to complement existing anti-missile ship self-defense systems. Rear Admiral Klunder, remarked, "The FEL can be a game-changer for our future U.S. Navy. It enables speed of light engagement at extended ranges, it has a nearly unlimited magazine, and is much safer for the ship's crew to operate." The FEL program is managed by ONR, and Niowave is contributing critical technology to the development of a FEL prototype that the Navy will test and evaluate for use aboard a ship at sea.
The same technology that creates a high-power electron beam for the Navy's free electron laser can be used to produce medical radioisotopes. Medical radioisotopes are used for imaging and therapies across the world. Over 90% of the medical radioisotopes used in North America last year were produced in Canada as a by-product of nuclear reactors. Niowave is developing a medical radioisotope production machine based on a superconducting accelerator that does not require a nuclear reactor. Niowave is collaborating with some of the world's experts in radioisotopes from the NSCL / F-RIB at Michigan State University. Michigan State University Provost Kim Wilcox stated, "Medical radioisotopes are a direct commercial application of the F-RIB technology. The commercial economic impact from medical radioisotopes is complementary and an economic multiplier from the F-RIB project."
Senator Stabenow, a long-time supporter of accelerator technology, said "medical radioisotopes generate $1 billion annually, and the industry is growing. Niowave is creating jobs here in Michigan with this new technology. Combining the commercial successes at Niowave with the research at MSU/F-RIB, Michigan has established itself as the center for this cutting-edge technology around the world."
Closing out the ceremony, Niowave Chief Operating Officer unveiled a dedication plaque similar to the dedication plaque from the original Walnut Street School. "Plaques are markers of significant events. This expansion is a significant event for the superconducting accelerator industry. It is a demonstration that this technology is no longer a cool science experiment-it is a viable business opportunity with an unbounded future."
Niowave is located in Michigan to benefit from the highly-skilled workforce. The advanced manufacturing expertise from the auto industry combined with the scientific capability of this region has allowed Niowave to quickly grow into a world-wide leader in superconducting accelerator technology. Named the 2010 Small Business of the Year for the Department of Energy, Niowave is the only company in the world operating a superconducting accelerator in its own facility. Formed in 2006 to commercialize superconducting accelerators, Niowave is currently expanding to meet the growing commercial needs of this technology and is positioned to dominate the commercial superconducting accelerator industry in the 21st century.