HD3 Discovery Day™ Los Alamos 2014 Offers Forum to Vet Ideas for Commercialization Potential

LANL chemical engineer Steve Yarbro during a recent talk at the Bio Lab. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com 
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
High Desert Discovery District (HD3)
In May 2011, LANL chemical engineer Steve Yarbro, PhD applied to the first HD3 Discovery Day, hosted by the High Desert Discovery District. His ‘discovery’ was a chemical process called Super Critical Water Extraction and Refining (SCWER) – that he believed had the potential to upgrade heavy oil to light sweet crude.

Michelle D. Miller at the Bio Lab. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com 

Developed in part by his work conducted during the BP oil spill in the Gulf, Dr. Yarbro believed that this process had commercial promise. Growing up in Lovington, N.M. and no stranger to the oil industry, he was convinced his process was just the silver bullet the oil industry had sought for years … an economical method to convert lower grade energy assets to higher grade assets. Yet, he was not sure of how to commercialize the process. This was where HD3 came into the picture.

Discovery Day offers New Mexico innovators the opportunity to vet and discuss their innovation, their challenges, strategy and market promise in front of a highly-experienced group of business achievers. Each HD3 advisor has extensive experience in matching technology opportunities with needs in the marketplace, product development, investment strategy, marketing and sales, management, valuations and exits.

In addition to their broad business experience, each advisor also brings a wide international network of contacts and resources that are tapped to accelerate the most promising discoveries.   

It was precisely these global business contacts and vast business experience that Steve Yarbro tapped into and is now working with to commercialize a pilot program to test SCWER on an industrial scale. His start-up is now involved in efforts to pilot the process in Alaska, Canada, Oklahoma and other locations. He has a seasoned board of directors who help him guide the ongoing development of his company, dedicated staff to create new business development opportunities, and resources to enable the technology to prove itself in the marketplace. Some 10+people of different backgrounds and expertise are now involved in some way to accelerate his start-up, while he has retained his full-time position at the lab. 

In collaboration with the New Mexico Consortium and Los Alamos Commerce and Development Center, the High Desert Discovery District (HD3) will host the first Discovery Day™ of 2014 in Los Alamos Feb. 5-6. Jaynes Corporation will sponsor the Los Alamos event. 

All innovators, entrepreneurs, and technologists throughout New Mexico are encouraged to apply to present their “discovery” to a panel comprised of seasoned and veteran entrepreneurs, business trailblazers, management professionals, investors, and others involved with the HD3 Entrepreneurs Forum™.  Previous applicants are welcome to re-apply if substantial adjustment or progress in the discovery/start-up has occurred such that re-consideration can be made. 

Each presentation and discussion time is limited to 30 minutes, and all panel presentations are conducted in a private setting to allow for the maximum of sensitive and proprietary business and technological information to be shared, and a fluidity of discussion, strategy and suggestions to occur.  All Discovery Day discussions remain confidential.

HD3 hosts this signature program multiple times per year. 10-15 applicants are typically selected to present. The evening prior to Discovery Day, a social gathering for the selected presenters and the HD3 advisors.  

Criteria for Selection

HD3 operates from a belief that discoveries are more likely to be positively shaped and generate wealth if innovators have the opportunity to share, discuss and strategize about their challenges, opportunities and ideas …. with those who can provide experienced, unbiased, unvarnished and market-facing advice. The criteria to select presenters at Discovery Day are:

  • If relevant, a clean and protected intellectual property path.
  • An understanding of the market need/problem that the discovery seeks to serve or solve.
  • An opportunity that is scalable, with the potential to become a high impact product or high growth enterprise.
  • An idea of what the innovator needs to see his/her discovery succeed in the marketplace. 
  • An idea of the initial capital required to commercialize the discovery, and what that capital would be used for.

To apply:  

Please submit a two page brief that addresses the 5 criteria listed above. Submit to Michelleh@hddd.org. The application deadline is JAN. 12, 2014. If you know of a strong candidate who would benefit by participating in the HD3 Discovery Day, please forward this note to them. For more information about HD3, see www.hddd.org.