Brownsville Tech Startup, Permittivity, Wins Global Prize Challenge

Permittivity utilizing NASA technology to support America's water infrastructure
BROWNSVILLE, Texas - Sept. 23, 2021 - PRLog -- Permittivity, a local tech startup, placed among the top 5 teams in the Bureau of Reclamation's "Imperfect Detection: Detect Me If You Can'' prize challenge, winning $60,000 to develop non-destructive evaluation systems for industrial-containment solutions.

Permittivity's innovation will be key in mitigating the negative environmental impact of chemical leaks. Permittivity is one of several tech startups currently housed at Expanding Frontiers (ExF) seeking to commercialize NASA technologies in new markets.

"Taking technologies from the space program and bringing them back to Earth has allowed Permittivity to develop a creative and innovative solution. The mentorship provided by ExF has been a key component to our team's success," said Dr. Louis Dartez, Co-Founder of Permittivity.

The Bureau of Reclamation, the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States launched the Imperfect Detection Challenge to find a non-destructive evaluation method to assess the structural integrity of existing fiber reinforced polymer composite structures as part of its effort to maintain America's water infrastructure. Permittivity competed against 21 teams, over 240 innovators all over the world, for a share of $300,000. The challenge has three phases, participants are competing for the opportunity to build a prototype and gain access to subject matter experts and commercial partners.

"Permittivity is the first of many local tech startups supported by Expanding Frontiers," stated Dr. Fredrick Jenet, the executive director of Expanding Frontiers. "Permittivity's success is an important milestone as we move forward with our mission of developing a space-tech hub in the City of Brownsville."

"Congratulations to Permittivity for another great success! The work that Dr. Jenet and his team at ExF is doing provides a successful model for technology transfer in the South Texas region that has the potential to impact so many lives regionally and nationally," said Kris Romig, Commercialization Services Lead at NASA Johnson.

Permittivity, was launched in 2019 by a team including three Brownsville natives and UTRGV alumni: Keeisi Caballero, Louis Dartez, Ph.D., and Brent Cole. Since then, Permittivity has participated and excelled in several business competitions in the past year including the Imperfect Detection challenge's prize, Permittivity has acquired almost $85,000 of seed funding. Permittivity is a client company of Brownsville's Expanding Frontiers, a NewSpace startup accelerator, where they have access to office space, laboratory space, and mentoring from a staff of experienced entrepreneurs and corporate executives.

"We are ecstatic to see our inaugural StartUp Texas Pitch summit winner, Permittivity, continue to succeed on a national scale in Brownsville with assistance from ExF," said Josh Mejia, Executive Director for BCIC. "ExF's technology driven companies will provide our community with greater, higher paying job opportunities in the future, and we are proud to support them in that endeavor."

Fredrick Jenet
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