Friday, October 8, 2010

States of Texas Declares EEStor Titan of Industry: Only Kidding

The Texas Workforce Commission has released a new book this month called "Working Texas Style" which includes a quote from EEStor's Tom Weir in Chapter 14 on "Hot Technologies in Today's Texas."   Weir claims 2010 will be a big year for EEStor (gulp) and that they plan to be a Texas based company.  (no, not Brazil)  Intriguingly,  Weir claims they will begin hiring less advanced engineers than they have today...

I'm going to quote the book at length:

Batteries and Energy Storage
Storing electric energy is the Holy Grail for both the utility industry and the auto industry. Texas is home to several battery company headquarters but has not been as successful at luring the companies’ production factories. For example, ActaCell Inc., a specialized lithium-ion battery maker, has its headquarters in Austin but its major employment operations in Asia.
In 2008, several companies that make or research battery technology formed a consortium called the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries (NaatBatt). Lured by incentives, the consortium chose to locate its research, development and production operations in Kentucky rather than Texas. This loss highlights the limited success of Texas in the battery field. Yet Texas isn’t out of the game.
EEStor Inc., based in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, claims to have made an Electrical Energy Storage Unit, or EESU, that can be charged at a much faster rate than current technology allows and can power an average-sized automobile for roughly 300 to 500 miles on a single charge — the equivalent of the drive from Dallas to Houston and back. By comparison, the new Chevrolet Volt electric car can go 40 miles per charge. If EEStor’s advanced capacitor technology works and if it becomes commercially accepted, then EEStor may become the definition of disruptive technology — or unexpected innovations — and Texas will be a big beneficiary. “This is game- changing technology,” said Tom Weir, vice president of EEStor. “We believe 2010 will be a big year for us, and we plan to stay in Texas and grow in Texas.”
Weir stresses that EEStor is making electrical energy storage units that are more like capacitors than traditional batteries. A battery is simply a container of chemicals that interact to store electricity, whereas a capacitor involves layers of metal that store an electrical charge. This different approach to discharging portable energy could make the small Cedar Park company a poster child for disruptive technology.
EEStor has raised more than $8 million in venture capital funding since 2003. The firm currently employs 11 people in 8,000 square feet of space in an industrial park. If the company’s product catches on, however, that payroll number could grow quickly. Until now, the company has primarily hired employees with Master’s and Doctoral degrees in electronics and engineering. Going forward, Weir said the company will primarily need workers with “normal” engineering degrees and extensive product development experience.

The Texas Workforce Commission is what