DBusiness Daily Update: NOVI Energy, Osaka Gas USA Corp. Form Solar Power Joint Venture, Beaumont’s Blood Clot Team Seeing More Patients, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
NOVI Energy and Osaka Gas USA Corp. formed Apricus Energy to develop one clean, renewable energy in markets throughout the United States. // Stock photo
NOVI Energy and Osaka Gas USA Corp. formed Apricus Energy to develop one clean, renewable energy in markets throughout the United States. // Stock photo

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

NOVI Energy, Osaka Gas USA Corp. Form Solar Power Joint Venture

NOVI Energy and Osaka Gas USA Corp. have formed a joint venture — Apricus Energy — that will develop one gigawatt of clean, renewable energy in markets throughout the United States, enough to power 150,000 homes.

“We are incredibly proud to partner with OGUSA to accelerate the development of solar and energy storage projects across the country while creating good-paying jobs,” says Anand Gangadharan, president of NOVI Energy. “This partnership will enhance our ability to deliver clean, affordable, and cutting-edge energy solutions while investing in local communities. We are committed to the environment, the communities we serve, and the future of clean energy.  We can’t wait to get started.”

OGUSA, a subsidiary of Osaka Gas Co. Ltd., works to contribute toward the advancement of a low carbon/carbon neutral society by investing in renewables, as well as clean natural gas-fired power plants. This joint venture marks OGUSA’s first utility-scale solar investment in the U.S.

“OGUSA is pleased to partner with NOVI, an experienced energy solutions provider and developer focused on clean energy development with community collaboration,” says Tetsushi Ikuta, president of OGUSA. “The partnership with NOVI launches our investment in utility-scale solar and storage, in line with the reduction of CO2 emissions targeted by the Daigas Group.”

Beaumont Health’s Blood Clot Team Seeing More Patients

A specialized Beaumont Health team has cut mortality in half for patients with potentially life-threatening blood clots — especially important during the COVID pandemic.

Nearly 8 percent of patients with pulmonary embolism, or PE, died prior to the initial creation of Beaumont Health’s Pulmonary Embolism Response Team, or PERT, in 2015. Now, the coordinated response of PERT’s specialized interventional cardiologists, radiologists, emergency medicine physicians, and PERT medical staff dropped the mortality rate to 4 percent — and as low as 2.3 percent before a surge of critically ill patients — with a record number of patients expected this year.

Since the program began, more than 2,000 patients diagnosed with pulmonary embolism have been evaluated by the PERT team and survived the potentially fatal condition, said cardiologist Dr. Terry Bowers, founder and lead of the team at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

“Many of our most recent patients have COVID, with blood clots a distinct side-effect in some patients,” says Bowers, who also is a director of vascular medicine at Beaumont. “We are grateful to have this highly skilled team in place to treat patients who come to us from across Michigan. Rapid response is crucial for these patients’ survival, and we’ve become highly skilled in our reaction with a multidisciplinary team.”

Pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot in the body breaks free, moving through the heart and into the lungs, where it becomes lodged in the pulmonary arteries. That increases resistance of the outflow of blood from the right side of the heart, which can rapidly and unpredictably lead to potentially deadly heart failure.

Aside from a known side-effect of COVID-19, risk factors for pulmonary embolism include obesity, immobilization due to surgery, cancer, and smoking. Symptoms include shortness of breath; chest pain; a cough, sometimes with blood; back pain; dizziness, or passing out.

The symptoms often mimic a heart attack. Prior to the PERT team implementation in 2015, diagnosing pulmonary embolism in patients in the emergency center was left to a single practitioner in charge of tending to the patient, with various avenues of treatment and no distinct protocol to follow.

“Our program is one of few hospitals nationally that risk-stratifies every PE that comes in the door,” says Bowers. “And we have 2,500 PE patients per year that come through the doors at Beaumont Health. That’s many lives saved.”

Other hospitals across the region soon heard about the PERT team’s success. They began transferring their sickest potential PE patients by ambulance and helicopter to the specialized Beaumont program in the hopes of saving their lives. The number of incoming transferred PE patients jumped from 27 patents in 2017 to 100 transfers in 2019 and 81 in 2020. With the influx of the region’s most critically ill patients came an increase in the mortality rate, just below 4 percent in 2020 — still lower than when the program began.

Now with the increase of COVID-related clotting disorders and PE, the Beaumont PERT team is on track to treat more than 750 patients with intermediary or high-risk pulmonary embolism in 2021.

Two MSU Labs Get Funding for Continued COVID-19 Wastewater Monitoring

Two Michigan State University labs in East Lansing will receive nearly $6 million for projects to conduct COVID-19 wastewater surveillance and testing.

The funding is part of a $49-million grant supporting 19 local projects from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to continue wastewater surveillance in areas statewide. Wastewater is tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19 disease that is shed in feces into Michigan public sewer systems.

Joan Rose’s Water Quality and Environmental Microbiology Laboratory and Irene Xagoraraki’s Environmental Virology Laboratory each received funding. Rose’s lab will serve as the lead laboratory, responsible for standardizing lab testing and providing technical assistance. Her lab will receive $3.2 million and Xagoraraki’s lab will receive $2.7 million.

Funding for the project will continue through July 31, 2023. As COVID-19 cases decrease across the state, wastewater monitoring can provide useful information regarding disease detection and spread on a larger community level. This can be especially important as clinical testing rates decrease.

“We are going use wastewater surveillance as a way to examine the disease spread and improve communications, access to testing and vaccinations, and return the campus to a vibrant, interactive place to learn,” says Rose, chair of water research leader of the Global Water Pathogens Project. “This will be particularly important in the fall when we come back to campus due to the seasonal nature of the virus.”

Xagoraraki, professor of environmental engineering, and her research team began a wastewater-based epidemiology project in 2017, in collaboration with the city of Detroit. The new project focuses on the use of wastewater surveillance to provide early warnings of COVID-19 cases in the Detroit metropolitan area using wastewater treatment plant and community sewer-shed surveillance, she says.

“Outcomes of this project will provide important information on prediction and control of upcoming peaks for SARs-CoV-2 and variants in the area,” Xagoraraki says.

The new funding expands the current monitoring system to cover a larger geographic portion of Michigan. Over the course of the project, it is estimated that more than 87,000 wastewater samples will be collected and analyzed.

Summer Virtual Homebuyer Education Classes Provide Valuable Knowledge for Low-to-Moderate Income Prospective Michigan Homeowners

JVS Human Services Class Helps with State Down Payment Assistance

JVS Human Services in Southfield is running regular Virtual Homebuyer Education Classes that are approved for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Down Payment Assistance Program, which offers lower income families the opportunity to receive a $7,500 loan toward the purchase of a home.

The classes offer Michigan families the opportunity to learn about the entire homebuying process during the current “hot” real estate market, where houses in many areas of the state are being purchased quickly, often at or above the asking price. The four-hour Zoom class costs $50 and is taught by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certified homebuyer education counselors. Topics include credit education, mortgage terminology, how to qualify for a mortgage, how to avoid foreclosure, and proper home maintenance.

Class dates are:

July 26, 1-5 p.m.

Aug. 2, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Aug. 16, 1-5 p.m.

Sept. 13, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Sept. 27, 1-5 p.m.

To register for a class, visit here. For more information, contact financialhelp@jvshumanservices.org or call 248-223-4422.