NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco commissioners on Tuesday awarded $254,500 to an Odessa firm developing a product that could make heating and air-conditioning systems run cleaner and more efficiently.
Dais Analytic Corp. will use most of that money ($171,500) as its match for a $681,322 federal grant it received recently to speed up the commercialization of its heating, cooling and refrigeration products known as "NanoAir."
The rest ($83,000) will go toward the development of a specialized compressor unit that is critical to that product hitting the market.
Unlike most companies that receive county financial incentives, Dais is not getting paid based on such factors as impact fees or the number of new hires.
But Dais does pledge 2 percent royalties to the county on future sales of the compressor, a commitment that would expire in five years or earlier if the payment to Pasco hits $1 million.
County Attorney Jeff Steinsnyder said commissioners have the authority to consider Dais a special case, just as they did with T. Rowe Price, which received a combination of state and local incentives to locate a future facility in Land O'Lakes.
"It's not every local Pasco business that gets $700,000 from the federal government," he said.
The company, which now has 22 workers, says it plans to create five new jobs (average salary of $36,000) within a year of getting the money. Dais estimates it would create 32 higher-paying jobs within three years of the project being successful, though the county funding is not contingent on that projection.
Dais was one of only six firms to split a $9.6 million award from the U.S. Energy Department for projects focused on improving energy efficiency in buildings.
County officials say Dais is a company with huge potential. Last year, the firm announced a deal to sell its air filtration system to China, a deal it said would bring 1,000 jobs to Pasco over the next five years.
That deal also calls for developing a prototype wastewater treatment plant in northern China that would use Dais' products to clean polluted water.
Commissioners approved the unusual agreement Tuesday as part of their consent agenda, routine items approved in one vote and with little discussion.
Dais president Tim Tangredi attended the meeting with former Commissioner Michael Cox, who helped broker the deal before losing his seat in the November election.
Tangredi said in a statement after the meeting that his company was thankful for the county support.
"With the momentum of the company's many accomplishments in 2010, aided by this economic incentive grant, we are even more bullish about our strong pace of growth in 2011 and beyond," he said.
Commission chairwoman Ann Hildebrand said after the meeting that Dais has the potential to put Pasco on the map.
"These things tie in with us trying to procure good, clean industry," she said. "I think we have to make sure our sign is out there that we're open for business."
The agreement approved Tuesday says that Pasco would pay Dais in installments. The company would owe Pasco $509,000 if it were sold and ceased operations in the county.
Born from an idea for developing fuel cells at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., Dais Analytic opened in Pasco County in 1998, lured by $1.2 million in tax breaks and assistance. The company specializes in nanotechnology: crafting materials that work with matter on the atomic and molecular level.
Dais Analytic has developed proprietary technology that allows water molecules to pass through a specially formulated membrane. Its applications are extensive in water purification, dehumidification, desalination and similar processes.
Jodie Tillman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.