INNOVATION

Third Frontier grants awarded

Kent State University and a small Akron health care company are among the institutions and businesses in the state sharing in $10 million in grants from Ohioís Third Frontier Commission.

The grants are aimed at helping innovators create new products, advance technology and build new startup businesses, the state said Wednesday.

Kent State University and Cleveland State University were jointly awarded $400,000 from the Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-up Fund to form what is called the TeCK Fund.

Akron-based OncoSolutions LLC was awarded $150,000 from the same fund to scale up a robotic system to better evaluate the effectiveness of possible anti-cancer drugs.

The money is to be used to demonstrate that a technology is commercially viable, with the ultimate goal to license the technologies to companies, the state said.

ELECTRICITY

Troubles for Westinghouse

Westinghouse Electric Co., the U.S. nuclear unit of Japanís Toshiba Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, calling into question the future of a number of billion-dollar nuclear projects under construction, including two in the U.S.

Westinghouse said in a statement that it filed the Chapter 11 petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. The move had been largely expected.

The troubles at a company long associated with nuclear power add to the industryís problems. Nuclear power is cleaner than generating electricity with coal or natural gas, but building a nuclear reactor is much more complex and prohibitively costly. After the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, public sentiment turned against nuclear power in countries such as Japan and Germany.

Utility files suit over cleanup

The largest U.S. electric company sued 30 international and domestic insurance companies Wednesday, saying they should cover part of the utilityís multibillion-dollar cleanup costs in the Carolinas for toxic byproducts left from decades of burning coal to generate power.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy Corp. said it filed a lawsuit in state court alleging breach of contract by insurers that have refused to pay claims that could total hundreds of millions of dollars.

Duke Energy said the companies were paid to provide general liability coverage to its operating subsidiaries in North Carolina and South Carolina, and their predecessor companies.

REAL ESTATE

More new homes being built

More people signed contracts to buy U.S. homes last month as warm weather and rising confidence appeared to encourage consumers to look for houses.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its pending home sales index climbed 5.5 percent in February to 112.3, its highest point since April and its second-highest point since 2006.

The NARís index of pending home sales rose 11.4 percent in the Midwest, 4.3 percent in the South, 3.4 percent in the Northeast and 3.1 percent in the West.

AUTOS

Ford recalls 570,000 vehicles

Ford is recalling more than 570,000 vehicles in North America and Europe to fix separate problems that can cause engine fires and doors to fly open unexpectedly.

The recalls will hit Fordís bottom line in the first quarter. Ford said in a Wednesday filing with securities regulators that the recalls will cut pretax earnings by $295 million.

The engine fire recall covers over 360,000 vehicles in North America and Europe. In North America it includes Escape SUVs from the 2014 model year, plus the 2014 and 2015 compact Fiesta ST, the 2013 and 2014 Fusion midsize car and the 2013 through 2015 Transit Connect small van. All the vehicles have 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engines.

A lack of coolant circulation could cause the engine to overheat, causing a crack in the cylinder head, according to Ford.

The company also is adding 211,000 vehicles to a 2015 recall to replace faulty door latches.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.