Device to analyze fuel may jumpstart start-up
Posted: Feb. 3, 2008
A small Milwaukee start-up that's attracted strong interest from local angel
investing groups is launching its first product, a biodiesel analyzer, at a
national industry conference.
A year after spinning its proprietary technology out of Marquette
University's engineering school, Paradigm Sensors LLC has five full-time and two
contracted employees, and is bringing to market a hand-held sensor that judges
the quality of biodiesel fuel.
The $5,000 device is about the size of a cordless phone. It tests for total
glycerin, methanol, acid number and the percentage of biodiesel fuel in a blend,
said Robert Young, Paradigm's president and chief executive officer.
The sensor emits electric frequencies to measure the electrochemical
responses of liquids using a technology called impedance spectroscopy. The
device was to make its debut Sunday at the National Biodiesel Board Expo in
"It really is a potential paradigm-shift technology," said Herb Zien, senior
vice president of Trigen Cos. in Boston, chairman of Paradigm's board and an
investor in the company. "This device can perform onsite, in real time, as
compared to having measurements on these oils that go to the lab and take some
time to get results back."
The only other way to get the information that Paradigm's device delivers in
minutes is to send fuel to a lab, which is expensive and can take several days,
said investor George Mosher.
Mosher, Zien and one other member of Wauwatosa-based Silicon Pastures
recently invested a total of $150,000 in Paradigm Sensors. That investment
brought to $540,000 the amount of money Paradigm has raised, Young said.