B5 Systems

Defense Alliance Helps Small Businesses Tap into Military-Industrial Market

According to a recent article published by Pioneer Press’s TwinCities.com, the St Paul-based Defense Alliance “has a contract with the U.S. Small Business Association to act as a coach for small, innovative businesses in the fields of energy conservation and power supply that want to approach the massive military-industrial complex.”

They provide expertise on how to navigate the jargon as well as the bureaucracy surrounding doing business with the Government. It seems, that in the tactical market, businesses are often started by former military personnel who at least have a basic understanding of how the Government does business even if the subtleties are missed. On the other hand, just as many new companies are started by those with zero ties to the military. In fact, it can be a strength, as they don’t have any preconceived notions on how equipment is “supposed to work or look.”

Additionally, the military continually requires new technologies to stay at the cutting edge and maintain an advantage over any adversary. One of the latest thrusts has been in the area of energy conservation and the use of alternative energy sources. This is exactly the types of capabilities that Defense Alliance works with.

Sometimes these energy conservation technologies cross into the Soldier Technology world. For example, the TwinCities.com article talks about a new tent fabric from Entropy Solutions.

Entropy Solutions, a Plymouth company, is experimenting with a tent material that could cut the use of generators that provide heating and cooling for tents used in war zones.

The Army hates diesel generators because their noise gives away their position and fuel is expensive — and dangerous — to transport into a theater of war, Entropy CEO Eric Lindquist said.

Entropy makes “phase change” materials — materials that absorb and store energy, only to release it later. That may sound like science fiction, but water is the perfect example of a phase change material — it stores thermal energy as it warms up and releases it as it cools.

Entropy’s tent material could store solar heat during the day and release it at night as the air temperature drops, he said. If the climate were right, no generators would be needed.

Hopefully, we will continue to see such technologies integrated into our warfighting capability.

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