A homegrown technology that scrubs sulfur dioxide from coal-fired power plants has been nominated for an award that honors innovation and innovators.
“NSG is honored to be considered for an Edison Award,” David Neumann, CEO of Neumann Systems Group, Inc., said in an email Wednesday.
“It is hard to comprehend being mentioned in the same breath as Thomas Edison and great technologies like the iPAD and Ford Focus Electric,” he added.
Neumann said the nomination would not have been possible “without the extraordinary dedication” of his team and “the work that has been and is being done under our public-private partnership with Colorado Springs Utilities.”
The city-owned utility had been looking at buying conventional emissions control technology for its power plants when it met Neumann. After several successful tests of Neumann’s technology at the Martin Drake Power Plant downtown, Utilities decided to invest in the NeuStream scrubbers rather than purchase existing technology.
Bruce McCormick, Utilities’ chief energy services officer, said in a recent interview that Utilities “certainly” took risk into consideration.
“But when you’re convinced that the cost is much lower and the performance is much better, those are the things that tell you, ‘Hey, it’s time to take that risk,’ he said.
The utility also factored in “the benefits to our local community around economic development,” McCormick said, referring to hopes that the technology would prosper.
The technology has faced increased scrutiny over the past year – and future funding from ratepayers is still in question – as city officials debate the future of the Drake power plant. Most recently, questions have surfaced about why Utilities awarded Neumann a sole-source contract.
In announcing the Edison Award nomination, Neumann said his technology has the “potential for revolutionary impact in a wide-range of product areas important to the industrial and economic well-being of the United States and the rest of the world.”
Neumann said the nomination came about from a recommendation from an “unnamed member” of the Edison Awards Steering Committee. Finalists will be announced in February.