Opennovation News
Engineering Consulting with Open Source Tools
June, 2009

Opennovation is an engineering consulting firm founded by Adam Powell with a focus on using and helping others to use open source software for design and analysis in engineering disciplines such as mechanics, fluid flow, heat transfer, and chemical reactor design.  Opennovation News is a means of bringing you updates on the company and the broader world of open source software for engineering.


North Shore Technology Council Sustainability Business Breakfast June 24

On Wednesday June 24, the North Shore Technology Council will hold a Business Breakfast meeting entitled "Businesses Going Green - Practical Tips for Minimizing Energy Consumption and Saving Money".  The program will feature three speakers who will describe how businesses can save energy and lower costs significantly according to their expertise:

  • Russ McIntosh, PE, CEM, is Senior Energy Engineer at Sebesta Blomberg & Associates, Inc. He will discuss new technologies for improving building HVAC and electrical efficiency, which comprise about 40% of U.S. energy consumption.
  • Charlie Orosz is the Director of Training and Operations at New Horizons Computer Learning Center.  He will discuss IT aspects of sustainability-related cost reductions, from computer power management and effective telecommuting to competitive energy sourcing and demand response.
  • Daniel Leary is President and COO and a director of Nexamp.  He will talk about on-site renewable energy options for businesses, and long-term trends in technology and pricing.

Though not directly on-topic for an open source engineering newsletter, engineers and open source enthusiasts who live in the Boston area may find it interesting.  Networking and breakfast well begin at 7:00 AM, with the program running from 8:00-9:00 AM, at the Peabody Marriott.  The cost is $25 for NSTC members, $45 for non-members (one-year individual membership costs $75-125 depending on membership type).

Opennovation Principal Adam Powell is vice-chair of the NSTC Sustainability Committee, and producer of this program.

Opennovation News hiatus

For those who have wondered where Opennovation News has been since last November, Principal Adam Powell (a.k.a. the press, media, software development, packaging and consulting staff) has been spending considerable time starting up a company in the energy efficiency and renewable energy space, leaving no time for this publication.  In July, the new company will become his primary affiliation, so this will be the last issue of Opennovation News for some time.

Powell is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Metal Oxygen Separation Technologies (MOxST).  The company will scale up and commercialize the Solid Oxide Membrane (SOM) process developed by Uday Pal at Boston University for efficient electrolytic separation of metal oxides into metals and oxygen gas.  The first target product is magnesium, for which a Department of Energy cost modeling study showed that the SOM process has the lowest production cost.  Magnesium is the lowest-density engineering metal, and has tremendous potential to help lower the weight of automobiles without sacrificing performance or recyclability (see e.g. Magnesium Vision 2020).  Steve Derezinski is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of MOxST.

Because of this change, Opennovation is not taking on new clients at this time, though Powell will continue to work with existing clients as before.

Powell will also continue to participate in open source engineering software activity.  The new company will use open source tools for its initial modeling work, and Powell plans to continue packaging such tools for Debian GNU/Linux in his spare time.  The package repositories for Ubuntu and Debian will remain updated as time permits (and have seen many updates recently).  Contributions are still welcome for the software table at

I will definitely miss working full-time with wonderful people across the 'Net on open source engineering software.  Open source has been a passion of mine for a long time, and that won't go away any time soon.  But I find the opportunity to work on the nation's – and planet's – energy/carbon balance even more compelling, and hope to make a significant impact in that area moving forward.