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Port authority gets update on Warren energy business incubator


The Western Reserve Port Authority’s economic development division got an update Wednesday on the progress of the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center on West Market Street downtown, including TBEIC’s new shared-resource lab.

Thanks to about $500,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission and state of Ohio, TBEIC will start receiving equipment for the lab in about four weeks, said Rick Stockburger, TBEIC vice president and chief operating officer.

The lab will provide TBEIC with a regional testing and certification facility that officials hope will attract entrepreneurs and businesses to Warren and the surrounding area.

“This is something that is a real game changer in Northeast Ohio. We made about $250,000 worth of purchasing on the equipment,” Stockburger said.

“What this does is provide an opportunity for energy companies and fuel-cell companies to come in and test their batteries,” he said.

It will allows companies to test items “without actually plugging it in to a light socket and seeing if it explodes,” Stockburger said. Instead, a simulator will tell someone whether an item will explode without having it actually blow up.

A battery tester can help battery companies that are working on making batteries last longer, especially car batteries, he said.

TBEIC also has partnered with four area universities, including Youngstown State and Kent State, to give professors the opportunity to conduct research at TBEIC at a lower cost than at their own universities.

Stockburger talked about the Founder’s Exchange meeting offered the fourth Monday of the month in Warren that brings together entrepreneurs who have a lot of experience with entrepreneurs who have very little.

“Not only is the experienced entrepreneur able to teach the person who is kind of just starting out, but the experienced entrepreneur almost always learns something,” Stockburger said.

If a technology company he’s talking with makes the move to the TBEIC, the facility will be full, Stockburger said.

The port authority provides $25,000 per year to TBEIC to support the center’s work and has an office there.

(Published January 11, 2018, Ed Runyon, The Vindicator)