Four Winners Announced at 2016 Shale Gas Innovation Contest Finals Event

PITTSBURGH, PA - On May 18th in Pittsburgh during the 5th Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest the following four companies each walked away with a winner's check for $20,000:

  • Aridea Solutions -Developing an on-demand pneumatic actuated valve system operated through a proprietary software interface via the internet (IoT), allowing remote control at hard to access midstream sites
  • Compass Natural Gas - Building compression stations to access significant volumes of natural gas to produce CNG for delivery via truck/trailer to small through large industrial, transport, agricultural, commercial, municipal, and other customers in the region that currently don’t have access to pipeline natural gas
  • Epiphany Water Solutions - Providing a well pad based hybrid powered (solar, NG, or hard-wired) produced water remediation solution housed in 20 ft. shipping containers that uses a proprietary crystallizing chamber where all of the contaminants in the water drop out, leaving pure steam that can be further evaporated for zero discharge
  • HalenHardy, LLC - SPILLTRATION™ product line made from post-consumer and post-industrial materials, engineered to absorb and contain oil-based leaks and spills while allowing clean water to filter through, and for the products to be reused after oil is removed for recycling 

Bill Hall, Ben Franklin SGICC Director noted, “The 12 finalists once again show the diversity of ideas being brought to the table by entrepreneurs and small companies in the region to help advance the shale energy play. Innovations are now more than ever, critically important to the industry as we manage through this downturn. Continuous innovation is needed in every sector of the industry and all along the value chain, and this is exactly the space that the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center (SGICC) works in every day.”

At the event, Joe Frantz, Vice President of Engineering Technology for Range Resources provided a keynote address where he discussed just some of the incredible advancements that have been made recently by companies to improve their performance. He also noted, “What I like about the Innovation Contest process is that I always see several new technologies that might help Range further improve our operations. I take the new ideas back to the office and meet with other staff to see where they might fit in."

Hoon Won, President of Compass Natural Gas commented, “It’s an honor for Compass Natural Gas Partners to be recognized by SGICC and its distinguished panel of judges. Compass has benefited from the association with and support from SGICC. SGICC’s work to catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship in the Marcellus is important to the future of the state and the region.”

Hoon Won

Hoon Won, Founder & President of Compass Natural Gas accepts Winner’s Check. Also pictured are Bill Hall, SGICC Director, and Denise Brinley, PA DCED Special Assistant to the Secretary

Gordon Craig, Chief Technology Officer from Epiphany noted, “Epiphany Water Solutions is honored to be recognized by the Shale Gas Innovation Contest and its well qualified panel of judges as a winner of the 2016 Shale Gas Innovation Contest. The contest is a great way to continue to improve the safety, efficiency, profitability and sustainability of the shale gas industry. The competition is especially valuable to Epiphany as it highlights our technologies in front of key personnel within the industry. It’s not often that you get to speak about your company and technology in front of the decision makers of so many E&P organizations.”


Epiphany accepts Winner’s Check. Pictured from left are Bill Hall, SGICC Director, Gordon Craig, CTO, Epiphany, and Denise Brinley, PA DCED Special Assistant to the Secretary

Donny Beaver, CEO of HalenHardy noted, “SGICC and the Ben Franklin program have been instrumental in helping HalenHardy innovate new products since our inception. They’ve not only provided much needed early stage funding but also continue to offer us world class advice and business connections. Bill Hall and John Siggins are constantly encouraging us. We could not have come this far so quickly without their priceless input."


Donny Beaver, CEO of HalenHardy accepts Winner’s Check. Also pictured are Bill Hall, SGICC Director, and Denise Brinley, PA DCED Special Assistant to the Secretary

This year the contest once again also included a winner from the state of West Virginia thanks to a grant provided to the SGICC from the Benedum Foundation. That winner was Aridea Solutions from Charleston, WV. Their on-demand pneumatic actuated valve system allows valves at remote sites such as pipelines in rugged terrain to be controlled at significantly lower costs than traditional SCADA systems.

Aridea Solutions

Aridea Solutions accepts Winner’s Check. Pictured from left are David Ross, VP Innovation at EQT Production, Christopher May, Account Executive, Aridea Solutions, and Gary Slagel, Government Affairs Specialist, Steptoe & Johnson

This year’s event also included a panel of previous Innovation Contest winners that fielded questions posed by shale energy expert Katie Klaber, President of the Klaber Group. The panel that included KCF Technologies, Optimum Technologies, and PIX Controller addressed topics ranging from the support they’ve received from Ben Franklin and SGICC to the challenges they faced with the slowdown in the industry. 

This year the contest also included a poster session showing off some of the cutting edge research and technologies under development by 4 regional universities (CMU, PITT, PSU, and WVU). Three posters were chosen as winners of $500 prizes and they were:

  • Policy Options for the Detection and Abatement of Methane Emissions from the U.S. Natural Gas System – Submitted by Erin Mayfield, PhD Candidate, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Integrating Membrane Distillation with Waste Heat Sources for Affordable Produced Water Treatment in Pennsylvania - Submitted by Omkar Lokare, Graduate Student, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh
  • High Efficiency, Low Cost Hybrid System for Produced Water Distillation and Evaporation – Submitted by Dave Snyder, Department Head, Penn State Applied Research Lab

Contest Sponsors also praised the event. “Given the cyclical nature of the natural gas industry, a deliberate and focused effort on finding and developing new, innovative technologies has always been a huge differentiator for EQT – and the return on investment is particularly beneficial during a low-price, downturn environment”, noted Karl Coke, Senior Vice President of Innovation at EQT Production. “For this reason, EQT supports events such as the annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest, which provides tremendous learning opportunities and allows us to make connections that might otherwise have been missed.”

Finalist presentations and additional details on the event are posted at