Combined Energies is a Rochester-based startup that is developing a Universal DC-to-DC converter platform, a device that links the power output of an energy storage, renewable, fuel cell or other power source to an end use. By utilizing silicon carbide switching devices that can operate at high speed and high temperatures, the company’s patented design eliminates the need for active cooling, increases efficiency, lowers costs, all in a smaller footprint.
Combined Energies’ Co-founder Rhonda Staudt and her team needed money to improve their prototype and give it a more “production-ready design.” Design-for-manufacturing analysis and feedback from the company’s contract manufacturer had revealed some specific issues that needed to be addressed.
Combined Energies applied for FuzeHub’s 2019 Commercialization Competition and won a $50,000 prize. It used the money to hire a firm to redesign its product, including splitting one large board into two smaller components.
The design change put Combined Energies closer to where it needs to be for full-scale manufacturing and commercialization. Dividing the board into two pieces will not only make it easier to produce, it will enable the company to target more markets by allowing it to change the output side of the converter to meet different needs while leaving the input side as is. Although Combined Energies itself did not hire additional people as a result of the grant, it supported jobs at two Rochester area firms —design engineer Vanteon Wireless Solutions and contract manufacturer Surmotech.