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Driving Innovation and Growth
Press Release
August 11, 2011

Global Midwest Alliance Announces 2011 Brinks Innovation Competition Finalists 

CHICAGO – Global Midwest Alliance is pleased to announce the finalists in the 3rd Annual Brinks Innovation Competition, a leading Midwest competition for entrepreneurs in clean and green technology. The five finalists are AquaMost Inc., Catacel Corporation, cycleWood Solutions LLC, Ecologic Tech and Lightweight Structures LLC.

Companies submitting entries in the Brinks Innovation Competition, held annually in conjunction with the Midwest Clean Tech Conference, 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, and 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. Each entry was evaluated by a panel of experts representing regional universities, venture capitalists and business executives familiar with clean technology.

The five finalists come from across the Midwest and are a showcase of diverse clean technologies in a variety of industries:

AquaMost, based in Madison, Wis., has developed a unique water purification device based on a patented technology developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists. The AquaMost device rapidly, economically and effectively destroys a variety of pathogens in water, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. The device also destroys harmful chemicals that contaminate drinking water, including hormone mimics, pharmaceuticals and industrial contaminants.

Catacel Corporation, based in Garrettsville, Ohio, engineers and manufactures novel, proprietary catalytic materials that significantly increase process output and improve energy and operating efficiencies by combining and improving heat transfer and catalytic functions. The reactors are smaller, lighter, lower-cost and more energy efficient than alternatives.

cycleWood Solutions, in Fayetteville, Ark., has created a biodegradable and compostable thermoplastic that provides an environmentally and socially responsible alternative to today's single-use grocery bag. The company converts its thermoplastic into an everyday-use plastic bag, called the Xylobag, which is made primarily from lignin, the second most abundant organic material on earth.

Ecologic Tech, based in Columbia, Mo., focuses solely on green technologies, utilizing fly ash and other innovative materials to create new products. The company is currently concentrating on solving problems in the building materials and biomass sectors. About 40 percent of the fly ash generated nationwide is used as a concrete ingredient or for constructing roadbeds, but the remaining 60 percent is unused and disposed of in landfills. Ecologic Tech manufactures bricks out of fly ash removed from the smoke of coal-fired power plants, and the new brick technology will significantly increase fly ash recovery rates.

Lightweight Structures, based in Hartland, Wis., has developed FORTECO, a lightweight composite framing system that combines light-gauge steel, insulation decking and concrete to form a cost-effective, easily installed and eco-friendly building system. FORTECO framing can reduce construction costs by 15% and shorten construction time by 30% while creating a super-insulated building. The technology offers a platform for emerging green building technologies and extra LEED credits.

This year's finalists will present their clean technologies to an international audience of early-stage investors, researchers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and financiers focused on clean technologies, and corporate research and development and business development executives. Presentations are at Midwest Clean Tech on September 14, 2011, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. To learn more about the conference, visit

The Brinks Innovation Competition is presented by the Global Midwest Alliance and jointly sponsored by Brinks, the Midwest Research University Network and the Economic Development Council. 

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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