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Press Release
July 27, 2012

Global Midwest Alliance Announces 2012 Brinks Innovation Competition Finalists 

CHICAGO - Global Midwest Alliance is pleased to announce the five finalists in the 4th Annual Brinks Innovation Competition, a leading Midwest competition for entrepreneurs developing innovations in the clean and green technology industries.  The five finalists are: Arid Technologies, based in Wheaton, Ill.; GreenSand Corporation, based in Lake Linden, Mich.; Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technologies (HEVT), based in Chicago, Ill.; SiNode, a faculty-student team from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill; and SurClean, based in Detroit, Mich.

The Brinks Innovation Competition is held annually at the Midwest Clean Tech Conference, which will be held this year in conjunction with the International Manufacturing Technology Show at McCormick Place in Chicago.  Finalists will present their technology to an international audience of early stage investors, researchers, entrepreneurs, clean tech-focused venture capitalists and financiers, and corporate R&D and business development executives who are attending Midwest Clean Tech 2012.  The judges will announce the winner at the competition on September 12.

Entries in the competition are required to provide solutions to global challenges in such areas as environmental technologies, renewable and alternative energy, infrastructure and community improvements, or green building science.  These solutions must offer competitive returns for investors and customers. Products, services and processes eligible for entry must improve and promote the productive and responsible use of natural resources; reduce or eliminate negative ecological impact; and provide superior performance at lower costs compared to other approaches.

The finalists:

Arid Technologies produces products based on innovative membrane separation technology to recover evaporative losses from gasoline storage tanks and reduce harmful hydrocarbon emissions, save fuel and create a healthier environment for consumers. Arid offers four primary products: PERMEATOR, for gasoline stations; Membrane CRU for retrofit of carbon adsorption systems at bulk loading terminals; ARIDAS 150, a stand-alone monitoring and data acquisition system that measures fueling station vent emissions and pressure profiles; and the Integrated On-Spot railcar loading and fuel-vapor recovery system.

GreenSand Corporation recycles “stamp sand,” a widely available type of mining waste resulting from crushing copper ore, into G-Sand, a proprietary material used as a filler and as surface granules for asphalt shingles. G-Sand is an ideal construction material because it contains copper, which prevents algae and mold growth. Stamp sand is widely available on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, the former copper mining region in which GreenSand is located.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technologies (HEVT) provides the transportation industry with high-performance, efficient and cost-effective components and integrated systems that foster the adoption of electrified transport and yield significant savings in fuel economy.

SiNode is commercializing a new kind of battery made with silicone grapheme composite anodes, developed by Northwestern University research chemist Harold Kung, Ph.D. SiNode's anodes can hold a charge up to 10 times greater than regular batteries and charge 10 times more quickly.

SurClean has developed handheld laser-based products for removing coatings, to replace chemicals, media blasting and abrasives. The system uses a laser beam to disintegrate paint and rust from substrate in a cost-effective, safe, energy-efficient and earth-friendly way. SurClean removes safety concerns, environmental issues and hazards associated with the control and use of chemicals as well as the disposal of contaminated waste product.

The Brinks Innovation Competition is a preeminent venue for entrepreneurs in new clean and green technologies to present venture-ready business ideas to the scientific and research communities and potential investors. Inventors submit their products, services or processes to a qualified panel of experts—competing not only for a cash award, but also for opportunities to explore licensing and funding, network with investors and help their ideas become reality. Submissions are judged by a panel of experts representing regional universities, venture capitalists and clean tech business executives.

The Brinks Innovation Competition is presented by the Global Midwest Alliance and jointly sponsored by Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione and the Midwest Research University Network. 

About Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione is one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the United States and serves the intellectual property needs of clients around the world. Brinks has 150 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in intellectual property litigation and all aspects of patent, trademark and copyright law. The firm also advises on issues relating to intellectual asset management, trade secret, unfair competition, and technology and licensing agreements. Brinks routinely handles assignments for companies in the electrical, chemical, and mechanical engineering sectors; the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and nanotechnology industries; and for companies whose work relates to Internet and computer technology law. The firm’s trademark practice works on behalf of clients who deal in a wide variety of products and services. Founded in 1917, Brinks is based in Chicago and has five additional offices across the country, including its newest office in Washington D.C. Visit

About MRUN
The Midwest Research University Network (MRUN) is an alliance of university business development professionals dedicated to facilitating growth of technology spinout companies through start–up formation. MRUN provides a forum for universities, investors and entrepreneurs to work regionally in pursuit of local venture formation. More information about MRUN is available at

Global Midwest Alliance is the only business-led economic development group for the Midwest region. The Alliance facilitates collaboration among key stakeholders to provide access to global business opportunities to the Midwest and realize economic value from existing world-class assets in the Midwest. The Alliance focuses on programs and platforms that help high growth companies develop and expand markets for businesses based in the Midwest, encourage and assist international business activities in the region, and integrate business, financial and scientific resources for successful commercialization of technology in the Midwest.  For more information, visit

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