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We’ve got what it takes to drive innovation

By Posted on June 3, 2015

Jim Saber, Vice President, Business & Technology Development, NextEnergy

Michigan’s innovation community is buzzing. Last year, Mayor Duggan announced the Detroit Innovation District, which includes NextEnergy, TechTown, DTE, Wayne State University, Quicken Loans and others to promote small business growth and create jobs throughout Detroit. And just last week at the Mackinac Policy Conference, MICHauto announced the Michigan Mobility Initiative, showcasing 28 existing facilities (including NextEnergy) that “play a role in developing, designing, testing and manufacturing smart mobility technology in the state.”

These are exciting times for Michigan and Detroit – and for the NextEnergy team. With the energy (no pun intended) around innovation, the way we see it, NextEnergy is at the heart of it all. And we have the assets, people and knowledge to back it up.


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A hub of entrepreneurial activity in the heart of Detroit

Built in 2002 on 2.8 acres, just one block west of the incoming M1 Rail system, NextEnergy’s campus features a 45,000-square-foot building, eight technology laboratories, a 120-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium, an elegant 4,500-square-foot glass enclosed atrium, large and small training and meeting rooms, all serving as an epicenter of entrepreneurial activity. In fact, over 2600 people come through our doors each year – including executives, tech entrepreneurs, engineers, investors and dignitaries – for networking opportunities, business commercialization training and services, tours, market-driven conferences, and testing and demonstration opportunities.

For many start-ups, the need for a functional physical space is a critical component to their success. NextEnergy offers 18,500 square feet of laboratory space and is currently host to five lab partners who are incubating technology or operating technology-related businesses. Available for lease, each lab ranges from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet and has access to our living laboratory and technical equipment for testing and validating new technologies.

A living laboratory

True to our mission of driving commercialization, our entire campus serves as a “living laboratory” for advanced energy and transportation technology development and demonstrations.

Microgrid: One of the first in the nation, NextEnergy’s microgrid is capable of mimicking any grid scenario in the world for testing and validating advanced energy and transportation technology solutions. Current demonstrations include: a vehicle-to-building (V2B) collaboration with FCA US LLC to explore how a fleet of electric vehicles can become part of the commercial building ecosystem and serve as an additional power source to lower energy costs, and a US DOE sponsored ‘Community Energy Storage’ program with DTE Energy demonstrating functionality and value of repurposed electric vehicle batteries as an asset for buildings and the grid.

NextEnergy’s smart home: NextEnergy’s smart home is part smart home, part distributed generation and part direct current (DC) that operates as a “living lab” within NextEnergy’s testing and validation platforms and allows industry partners to leverage multiple IoT frameworks and a residential microgrid. Current demonstrations include: a vehicle-to-home (V2H) collaboration with FCA US LLC that explores how an electric vehicle could become part of the home ecosystem by providing the owner with more choices about how and when to charge via the intersection of a Home Energy Management System (HEMS), Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) and the electric vehicle, and integrated solar PV and energy storage to provide direct current (DC) to lighting, heating, cooling, and appliances within the platform.

Electric vehicle infrastructure: NextEnergy’s multiple electric vehicle charging stations include public charging options and support research, development, and demonstration of next generation infrastructure, including vehicle-to-grid (V2G), V2H and wireless charging. Our current partners include Bosch, Coritech, Nextek Power Systems, and Qualcomm and ChargePoint.

Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS): NextEnergy is testing and demonstrating building energy management systems to help developers understand how to control and integrate with renewables, energy storage, lighting, computing systems, HVAC and more. The NextEnergy Center doubles as a direct current (DC) microgrid allowing developers to test in both alternating current (AC) and DC environments. Our current partners include: AMF-Nano, Civionics, Coritech Services Inc., E-Merge Alliance members, Nextek Power Systems and Hepta Systems and Wayne State University.

Solid state lighting and daylighting emulation: NextEnergy hosts a campus-wide demonstration of next generation solid-state lighting, including advanced controls and communications systems. Our current partners include: Arborlight, Electro-Matic, Kimberly LED Lighting, Lumerica, Midwest Circuits, Nextek Power Systems, Solartonic and TOGGLED. Alternative Fuels Platform: NextEnergy’s Alternative Fuels Platform provides infrastructure to support the fueling and testing of hydrogen and biofuel vehicles, as well as alternative fuel dispensing technologies and storage systems.

While NextEnergy’s physical assets are playing a critical role in accelerating the commercialization of advanced energy and transportation technologies, it is our talented team of forward-thinking industry experts that are the real brains of the operation ensuring our partners leverage all of the assets available to evaluate, demonstrate and commercialize their technology. So next time you find yourself in Detroit, stop by to “ask us what’s next.” We would be happy to meet you, and hopefully work together to drive Michigan’s advanced energy and transportation innovation ecosystem.

For more information on how you leverage NextEnergy’s assets to move your business forward contact:

Jim Saber
Vice President, Business & Technology Development
313.833.0100 ext. 240 |


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