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UVM Innovations

UVM Spinoff Company Honored as One of Nation’s Top Start-Ups at Washington, D.C., Ceremony

Ryan McDevitt, co-founder and lead R&D engineer for GreenScale Technologies of South Burlington, Vt., discusses an element of the miniaturized propulsion system for small satellites he developed in partnership with his former doctoral advisor, Darren Hitt, right, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Vermont. Hitt is holding a small “cube sat” of the type the propulsion system is being developed for. (Photo: Sally McCay)

GreenScale Technologies, of South Burlington, a research and development company with ties to UVM focused on the small satellite market, is being honored in Washington, D.C., today by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer as one of the nation’s top 36 university-spawned start-up companies.

The company was selected for its miniaturized propulsion system for small satellites. The technology was created by GreenScale Technology’s co-founder and lead engineer, Ryan McDevitt, who earned a doctorate in mechanical engineering at UVM in 2014, in partnership with his former Ph.D. advisor, Darren Hitt, a professor of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. GreenScale holds an option to license the technology from UVM. 

As part of the Washington, D.C., event, called Demo Day, each company will give a six-minute presentation to an audience of Global 1000/Fortune 500 companies, venture capitalists and angel funders. The companies will then visit with members of their state’s Congressional delegation.

Ongoing advances in micro-scale manufacturing techniques have led to the development of a new generation of miniaturized satellites. Due to the reduction in associated development and launch costs, the small satellite market is rapidly expanding, with an expected annual growth of 23.8 percent between now and 2020.

The miniaturized propulsion system being developed by GreenScale is targeted to this growing small satellite market; NASA has identified propulsion as a key enabling technology for future missions. McDermott and Hitt have a created a low-cost propulsion solution that should be attractive to small satellite makers looking to keep down the overall cost of their products. 

GreenScale Technologies was one of four winners of UVM's 2016 SPARK-VT awards. The company has also recieved three awards from Vermont EPSCoR.