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Grand River Dam Authority tours NXTGEN Filterworks

Pictured from left: NXTGEN chairman Jim Lund, GRDA CEO/Director of Investments Dan Sullivan, GRDA chair-elect Tom Kimball, NXTGEN Executive Vice President Alan Smithies, GRDA Assistant General Manager of Fuel & Generation Projects Charles Barney, GRDA Powerline Maintenance Superintendent Gary Cupp.
By Mark Friedel 
Story originally published in the Claremore Daily ProgressGrand River Dam Authority (GRDA) and Claremore Industrial & Economic Development Authority (CIEDA) administrators were given a tour Tuesday morning of energy industry manufacturer NXTGEN Filterworks, a Claremore-based company that develops innovations for the nano-fiber creation process.The company’s immediate focus centers on supplying filter cartridges to gas turbine inlet customers in the global power generation market.

GRDA CEO/Director of Investments Daniel Sullivan said the authority is interested in utilizing NXTGEN’s manufactured filter media in natural gas turbine generators, which are expected to be built in the next couple of years in Chouteau. The filters help protect the natural gas turbines by cleaning the air, and preventing heavy moisture from entering the generators.

“We’re hopeful that we can connect with NXTGEN to use their developed product in our gas-fired generation facility,” said Sullivan.

GRDA Directors unanimously approved for the utility to purchase the turbine generators for the facility in January. The new unit (Unit 3) will be a “combined cycle” with the capability of efficiently producing 495 megawatts of electricity while also allowing GRDA to meet new regulations put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a GRDA release.

“We’re impressed with what is going on at NXTGEN and realize there is much more to come from the company,” said Sullivan.

The idea for NXTGEN Filterworks began two years ago on the back of a bar napkin at a patio restaurant in Denmark. Two years later, the company has invested $8 million in production processes and currently operates in Claremore with nearly 40 employees.

“(NXTGEN Executive Vice President) Alan Smithies came to me with the idea and proposal. We put some people together to fund the company,” said Jim Lund, NXTGEN chairman. “As of this month, we are going live with our manufacturing operations of the membrane, which has a variety of uses.”

Lund said the product can be used in apparel or outerwear garments, similar to Gore-Tex waterproof material.

“The difference in our product is we manufacture material using a unique sponge-bonded technology at our plant where we also manufacture the filters for the inlet of the gas turbines,” he said.

Smithies said what separates the company’s filtration media from the “other guys” is the electro-spinning technology used to create the mesh of different nano-fibers in the media.

Smithies led GRDA and CIEDA leaders through the plant, showing how the filters work and how they are produced.

“We’d be very interested in the years to come, supplying (GRDA) with the filters for their gas-powered turbines,” Lund said. “We’ve invested heavily on the manufacturing side. Now we’re going to put the employees in place for the operations.”