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Business Description: Onboard Dynamics, Inc. is developing and commercializing natural gas compressor technology within the vehicle itself so that self-fueling can take place virtually anywhere with access to a natural gas pipeline.
Company Background: The core in-cylinder technology was initially funded through a Department of Energy (DOE) ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy) award of $1M total granted to Dr. Chris Hagen of Oregon State University (OSU). Onboard Dynamics, Inc. was formed in October, 2013 and in 2014executed on an ARPA-E contract for a $3.6M follow-on award for continued engineering work to achieve a commercially viable product.
Rita Hansen, (CEO and co-founder): Serial entrepreneur with engineering background, with strength in engineering & operations management in energy & clean tech.
Chris Hagen, PhD, PE (CTO and co-founder): OSU-Cascades Professor, Energy Systems Engineering, expertise in advanced internal combustion engines and energy conversion methodologies.
Jeff Witwer, PhD, PE (VP and co-founder): Co-founder/VP/BOD of four successful high-tech start-ups; unique blend of energy industry knowledge, high tech entrepreneur, and investor.
Steve Westberg, MBA, CPA (CFO): Business executive specializing in finance & operations for diverse industries; Founders Pad Mentor and Bend Venture Conference Fund Manager.
Products/Services: The barrier to widespread adoption of CNG vehicles is the lack of refueling infrastructure (public and private CNG fueling stations). Onboard Dynamics’ unique technology eliminates the need for a fueling station and enables the driver to refill with CNG from any standard gas line for <$1/gallon gasoline equivalent.
Technologies/Special Know-how: The technology is centered on natural gas compression that is provided by dual purpose cylinders designed for both compression and power. During the refueling process, these unique cylinders are dedicated to compressing natural gas with power supplied by the other engine cylinders running in normal combustion mode. The natural gas is pressurized in interim steps and subsequently stored in the high pressure storage tank located on the vehicle. When the vehicle is on the road, these dual purpose cylinders revert back to normal operation with all cylinders providing engine power. This technology is protected through current provisional and patent pending applications. New IP generated is being managed through the company’s IP strategy and management plan.
Market: Onboard Dynamics’ initial target market is small public and private automotive fleets that operate light-duty trucks. There are currently over 30K fleets with fewer than fifty light-duty trucks in the US. Revenues will be generated early on with an aftermarket bolt-on version of the early product offering. The proprietary in-cylinder technology will be available for licensing directly to the vehicle manufacturers.
Distribution Channels: The initial product offering will be made available to targeted fleets through retrofitters and converters, e.g. Landi Renzo, NatGasCar, Westport, Nat G CNG Solutions, and many more. Direct relationships with the OEM’s will result in licensing of the technology for the mature product offering.
Competition: Competition exists in the form of external compressor stations and home refueling appliances. Onboard Dynamics’ unique solution eliminates that requirement by integrating the compressor function directly into the engine, leveraging the power of an internal combustion engine, and enabling an already existing infrastructure in the US of low pressure natural gas supply.