MSU High-Tech Turbine Startup Gets Help From Lansing’s LEAP Accelerator

Black Pine Engineering, a manufacturer of advanced compressor engines, has been accepted into the Proto Accelerator phyiscal product program run by the capital region’s economic development agency, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership.

Black Pine will receive investment and comprehensive business guidance through the Proto program.

Zack Hoyle, CEO of Black Pine, says Proto’s access to and assistance with prototyping will help fine tune engine design and find new market opportunities.

“LEAP’s Proto Accelerator investment allows us to complete our prototype and test it on potential customer sites, gathering the data needed to get to first sales while also identifying other promising applications including low-cost turbines for power generation and electric turbo props for next generation aircraft,” Hoyle said.

Black Pine’s compressor contains several innovations, including MSU-licensed technology, which allows Black Pine to produce a smaller, more efficient and lightweight turbine. The company anticipates it will be used in numerous industries such as oil and gas, along with other industrial and commercial applications, including boiler and kiln feed, central vacuum, pneumatic conveying, wastewater aeration, and more.

Joe Carr, Proto vice president, emphasized the competitive startup landscape in the region and the opportunity Proto Accelerator offers startup companies as they seek to innovate.

“Black Pine Engineering is representative of the talent and innovation that calls Lansing home,” Carr said. “Proto Accelerator continues to assist this next generation of advanced startups as they prepare to enter the market.”

The Proto program involves six months of intense work, designed to help with product refinement, connecting with manufacturers and industry experts, and preparing the company for future growth through investment and sales.

Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP, noted that the agency now has two Proto Accelerators — the original for physical products, and the new Proto InsurTech for insurance technology, with support from the state Department of Insurance and Financial Services and Lansing-area insurers Delta Dental and Farm Bureau.

“These two programs offer key support for high-tech startups as they seek to create new and compelling products and services and are a great avenue for leveraging and extending the innovative research flowing from Michigan State University,” Trezise said.

More about Proto Accelerator at www.lansingproto.com. More about Black Pine Engineering at www.blackpineengineering.com.

This story was published in Technology Century by the Engineering Society of Detroit.