Shale Gas Innovation Contest IDs 12 New Technologies

Last October, the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center (SGICC) announced its Shale Gas Innovation Competition. The results are now in and two organizations in State College, PA are the winners, receiving $25,000 each.

Polymics LTD won for their design of a lightweight, reusable and leak-proof mat system that is used at drill sites to contain mud and fluids while the drill pad is under construction. The second winner was the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute at Penn State University for their development of a “patch box” system that converts diesel truck fleets to use natural gas.

Ten additional finalists were also named. In all, 12 new innovative technologies were identified that will help propel the shale drilling industry forward, making drilling safer and more efficient. From the SGICC press release:

The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center ( is pleased to announce the winners of its Shale Gas Innovation Competition. The contest, which was announced in October 2011, offered a total of $50,000 in cash prizes for the two best shale gas-oriented innovations in two categories – new products/services and new technologies. Each winner was awarded $25,000 by C. Alan Walker, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) at an event held in Harrisburg, PA, on May 22, 2012.

  • Located in State College, Polymics LTD (// holds multiple patents on ultra-high performance polymers used by the oil and gas industry. For this competition, the company developed a lightweight, reusable, leak-proof mat system that effectively contains mud and fluids during pad construction. Presenting and accepting the award for the company was President/CEO Dr. Tim Hsu. Partners, on the effort to date, have been Minuteman Environmental Services headquartered in Milton, PA, and Chesapeake Energy.
  • The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute at Penn State University ( brings together top faculty, world-class facilities and students to address critical transportation-related problems. The Institute developed a “patch box” system for retrofitting diesel truck fleets utilizing natural gas. Presenting and accepting the award for the Institute was Joel Anstrom, Director of the Hybrid & Hydrogen Vehicle Research Lab. Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc., headquartered in State College, PA, partnered with the Institute on its efforts.

Bill Hall, Executive Director of the Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center, commented, “Today, we heard first-class presentations from all of the finalists. Awarding the prizes to just two applicants was a difficult job for the judges. We encourage anyone who has a business interest surrounding any of these projects to call us so we can put them in touch with the proper contacts.”

The finalists included:

  • Aither Chemicals, LLC – Developed a process to convert ethane to petrochemicals
  • EMS Energy Institute – Identified process for converting natural gas to Dimethyl Ether(DME) as a transportation fuel
  • Greenways, Inc. – Developed a flowback water filter press treatment system for shale wastewater
  • HydroConfidence, Inc. – Developed hydrocarbon and cement integrity detection for groundwater and the freshwater casing
  • J&J Truck Bodies & Trailers – Developed a patent-pending dust control technology for existing sand equipment
  • MicroEnergies, LLC – Utilizes Microchannel Fischer Tropsh natural gas to liquid fuel well head application
  • OsComp Ltd – Developed a rotary compressor that allows natural gas & NGL to be piped together from the well head
  • ProChem Tech International, Inc. – Developed sequential precipitation and fractional crystallization treatment of shale wastewater
  • Seraph Energy, LLC – Developed an engine conversion system from diesel to all natural gas
  • S4 Worldwide, LLC – Offers mobile real-time site monitoring and security

Copies of all presentations can be found at //

The competition was co-sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition (, Little Pine Resources (, Chesapeake Energy (//, First National Bank (//, and Schlumberger ( The judges, all of whom are senior gas industry experts, included representatives from the sponsoring companies as well as CONSOL Energy Inc and Range Resources.

About the SGICC

The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center (, an initiative of Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP (, is designed to harness innovation and new technologies as a means to maximize the economic return to Pennsylvania’s citizens from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. The Center’s goal is to increase sustainable employment and wealth creation in Pennsylvania that has the potential to outlast the initial exploration, production and transportation of natural gas from the formations. The Center will also identify, support and commercialize technologies and early-stage businesses that enhance responsible stewardship of the environment while properly utilizing this transformative energy asset.*

*Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center (May 24, 2012) – Shale Gas Innovation Contest Identifies 12 New Technologies