Research and Consulting Services
Polestar’s Technology Consulting Division provides consulting in the development, evaluation, design, implementation, and management of industrial and military process technologies with a focus on chemical process optimization. Polestar has successfully applied an array of advanced technologies to the solution of difficult problems, often through technical and project collaboration with universities and national laboratories. For nearly three decades, Polestar has created research and development breakthroughs in optical monitoring and sensing technologies that have resulted in an array of innovative products to monitor critical conditions in bioreactors and contaminated environmental sites and to provide fast, non-invasive analysis for medical applications.
Research and Development
Our Technology Consulting staff have extensive experience in developing innovative technologies to improve the manufacturing and operation of military and chemical industry facilities. Our success in this area comes from our in-depth knowledge of the industries we serve and our focus on implementation as we develop new processes and technologies. In support of technology/process research and development we can:
- Provide Program Management support to organize, streamline, and manage every facet of your successful technology research and development program.
- Address the full range of Test Program Planning and technology implementation activities with focus on the specific objectives and goals of your program.
- Provide comprehensive Test Operations Oversight to help you ensure meeting the objectives of the test program with valid results.
- Assist in monitoring day-to-day cost and schedule performance
- Perform focused Bench, Pilot, and Demonstration-Scale Tests to determine the ability of your technology to meet specific performance, environmental, cost, and regulatory compliance criteria.
Project Planning & Implementation
Our Technology Consulting staff members have assisted clients in all areas of project planning and implementation. For nearly three decades, we have translated our clients’ objectives into practical paths forward with real, measurable results.
- We provide a Project Management foundation that allows every aspect of your technology implementation program to be successful, including: Preparing and evaluating contract solicitations/bid packages; Identifying performance metrics and milestones; Developing infrastructure for adequate control and oversight; and Developing quality program requirements to ensure project tasks comply with approved work plans, contract terms, program agreements, and guidance documents.
- We address the full range of Information Transfer activities with close attention to the specific objectives and goals of the program, and a focus on implementation of the technology including: Identifying technology scale-up considerations and data gaps; Incorporating lessons learned from Technology Research & Development programs and knowledge base obtained from industrial experience; Developing, implementing, and reviewing training programs; and Providing knowledge management throughout the life-cycle of the technology implementation.
- We provide Start-up Support to confirm the ability of a facility to meet design criteria including system performance, environmental permit conditions, and safety requirements, including: Designing and developing start-up test plans; Providing proactive problem solving; Coordinating with Stakeholders; Providing engineering design change control to ensure overall objectives remain in check; Verifying performance through process monitoring, sampling and analysis, and data interpretation and management.
- We provide comprehensive Owner’s Oversight to ensure that the objectives of the project are met, progress information is relayed to the client, and the project remains on schedule and budget, including: Verifying performance guarantees; Collaborating with state and federal regulators; Resolving operational issues; Evaluating cost and schedule performance; and Managing data for documentation and validation.
Polestar works with clients to evaluate alternatives for improving management and operational systems for chemicals, general manufacturing, and power industries as well as for military manufacturing and demilitarization facilities. Effective improvement assessments must consider both the technical and management aspects of facility operations. Our experience with industry “best practices”, conventional and emerging technologies, and optimization techniques positions us to select and implement operational improvements based on sound technical expertise and economic understanding.
The technical component of Operations Improvement, Design Enhancement/Optimization of Chemical Processes, focuses on balancing process yield improvements, product quality, environmental impacts, and life-cycle cost. Key tools we use include:
- Technical/Economic Feasibility Assessments to evaluate the available array of Operations Improvement options including process modifications, substitutions, and alternative technologies
- Eco-efficiency Assessments to identify the impacts, liabilities, and improvement opportunities associated with the life cycle of a process or product
- Management Systems Assessments, focusing on quality, environmental, health, safety, change control, and conduct of operations activities, to determine system effectiveness, application of metrics, identification of strengths and weaknesses, recommended course of action, and development and implementation of new/revised management tools
Our Technology Consulting Division staff members work with a variety of technology developers and venture capitalists in a range of industry segments to provide assistance in the critical steps of Technology Commercialization that include:
- Technology Characterization conducted with Polestar staff in conjunction with our customer’s in-house resources, centers on a technology’s: demonstrated attributes; potential weaknesses or key data gaps; and comparative appraisal to both leading, established alternatives as well as other known developmental concepts.
- Market Analyses conducted either independently or in coordination with our customer’s in-house resources, are prepared in a staged fashion, sequencing from broad overviews to successively more focused examinations. Factors examined include:
- Current and future projections of market size
- Implementation time as to when the technology should go commercial
- International and domestic market regions
- Accessibility to technology sourcing, cost sensitivity
- Minimum performance requirements
- Competitive positioning
- Industry trends/alternative approaches and threats to near-term acceptance of the technology
- Implementation Planning comprised of an integrated Polestar/customer team defines the best path forward by combining aspects of business strategic and tactical planning with business and technical risk management. Most Implementation Plans, while highly customized, share the following common elements:
- Assessing the market opportunity to evaluate technology fit
- Defining a workable marketing approach that addresses competitive positioning, alliance strategies, and technology/service bundling
- Defining technology enhancement/development requirements for additional testing to resolve weaknesses
- Evaluating customer resource development in terms of range of skills and depth of staff relative to the requirements for additional development work.
When the size of a material is reduced to the nanoscale, its physical and electronic properties are often altered as a result of quantum confinement. Also important is the large surface volume ratio that imparts high sensitivity and large dynamic Current research in nanotechnology seeks to exploit these Nanoscale effects in order to produce devices and materials with novel properties. Such molecular-scale architectures also allow a tremendous number of devices to be placed in a small area and potentially offer improved performance and significant size reduction for applications such as sensors or electronic memory elements.
Past and current efforts in this area include high sensitivity, high dynamic range calcium sensors for the detection of small changes near coral reefs, nanostructured electrodes for enzyme-based biofuel cells, molecularly imprinted nanosensors for detection of explosives in waste water, carbon nanotube based materials for wound healing and nanoimprinted sensors for enzyme separation and detection.
Chemical and Biological Analysis
One of Polestar’s key focus areas has been the identification and analysis of chemical and biological warfare agents. The Company has supported the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Dahlgren in its program to provide protection from chemical and biological contaminants hidden in a variety of packages. We have also developed a portable soil analyzer to identify contaminants in the soil for the U.S. Department of Energy. Other projects include research on a non-invasive, deep-tissue pH monitor, and a hematocrit monitor for the 21st century soldier.