Tallahassee, Fla. — July 10, 2013 – Tallahassee-based Bing Energy has unveiled its first product — a hydrogen fuel cell designed to serve as a backup generator for cell-phone towers.
The fuel cells run with the company’s membrane electrode assemblies, which use carbon-nanotube technology from Florida State University known as buckypaper, a thin, conductive material far lighter and stronger than steel.
The company held a news conference Tuesday at its Innovation Park location to show off its new product and thank state officials for its help in launching it. Earlier this year, Bing secured $300,000 from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research to develop its manufacturing technology. The system is being built by one of Bing’s partners, PowerCell, based in Goteborg, Sweden.
“Thank you Florida for helping Bing grow,” said Dean Minardi, chief financial officer of the company.
Bing, which has a research lab in Rugao, China, has about a dozen employees in Tallahassee but plans to expand its workforce significantly over the next five years, Minardi said. The company is on track to add about 200 workers by 2017, including mechanical and electrical engineers along with a back office of support staff, he said.
Gov. Rick Scott took part in the event, ceremonially signing a bill (HB 705) into law that will allow the institute to create a new seed fund to foster high-tech start-ups. The bill’s co-sponsor, state Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, also participated, along with CEOs from several Florida companies that have received financial help from the institute.
“The fund will further help companies like Bing Energy and the other companies represented here today to expand their business plans and ultimately create more jobs and opportunities for Florida families,” Scott said.
Minardi said Bing, which relocated from Chino, Calif., to Tallahassee in 2011, will be seeking more financial help through the seed fund as it continues to expand its product line. The company is working with major automobile manufacturers to help them develop fuel-cell vehicles, Minardi said.
“It’s a big deal,” he said of the technology, which uses hydrogen as a fuel source and leaves only pure water as its waste byproduct. “We’re going to be the epicenter of the third industrial revolution.”
The institute, created by lawmakers in 2007, is designed to foster the creation and growth of companies using research from the state’s public universities. In 2010, lawmakers approved $10 million for the institute to give loans from $50,000 to $300,000 to qualified start-ups. Since early 2011, it has awarded nearly $2.8 million to 13 companies, according to a state House analysis.
Source: Tallahassee Democrat Article by Jeff Burlew. “Bing Powers Up Debut Energy Product.” July 10, 2013.