Making U.S. Gasoline Usage Obsolete
Rick Luebbe, CEO, EnerG2

In February of this year – in Albany, Oregon – EnerG2 launched the first manufacturing plant in the world dedicated to the commercial-scale production of engineered carbon materials destined for use in next-generation energy storage applications. It is these applications, operating at significantly higher performance levels because of the materials produced in our Albany plant, that will help accelerate the electrification of transportation technologies, enable more efficient generation and distribution of grid power, and reduce the overall impact on our environment of our society’s ever-increasing need for energy.

Our progress since founding the company in 2003 has been significant and lasting. In addition to the construction of the plant, we have built a world-class research and development team in Seattle that has commercialized three product lines and is developing a variety others – all of which are designed to improve dramatically the efficiency and affordability of energy storage devices in use around the world. Over 60 significant companies across the globe are working with our materials for energy storage improvements and new application development. Entire new business models in energy storage are being explored – with our carbons as the enabling innovation.

EnerG2’s Albany operations will leverage our proprietary Carbon Technology Platform (CTP) to produce engineered high-purity carbon materials for a wide and growing range of energy storage applications. The CTP rapidly advances the speed with which materials technologies are developed and manufactured for these applications. The CTP is both technology- and market-neutral, creating an unprecedented and valuable flexibility across a portfolio of energy storage applications.

But, in the end, the Albany project means much more than the deployment of a new technology.

It means improving the performance of ultracapacitors and lead-acid batteries, as well as the development of products that will improve Li-ion batteries. In the future, we will help enable Li-sulfur batteries and assist in the commercialization of Li-air batteries – a technology based on one of the highest-energy chemical reactions known to science.

It means that EnerG2 will play an important role in boosting the performance of a wide variety of energy storage devices – in everything from hybrid and electric vehicles, to industrial cranes and forklifts, to a cleaner and more efficient global energy grid. The role we will play in our industry will be essential. Like semiconductors, which represent only one component of the computer, our carbon is but one component of a complete energy storage device. Yet also like semiconductors, which drove so much of the high-tech revolution, the continued application of our carbon technology platform will help enable an energy storage revolution.

And, because of all of the above, the plant in Albany means green manufacturing jobs..

What we’ve started in Albany is only the beginning. We intend to quadruple the capacity at this facility over the coming years.

The work we do at the Albany plant will help our customers increase performance and value as we move forward in the 21st century. Why? Because the facility’s adaptive capacity allows for the speedy development and deployment of a full body of energy storage solutions, whether it’s today or tomorrow, whether it’s in ultracapacitors or natural gas storage, whether it’s for cars or for the grid.

We’re obviously very proud of this pioneering facility. But we also owe debts of gratitude to others who helped make the building possible. We commend and deeply appreciate the United States Department of Energy, which awarded EnerG2 a $21.3 million grant to partially fund the facility. We’re grateful to the Albany community and a host of highly skilled craftspeople who transformed the factory from vision to design to high-tech reality.

We salute our investors and backers, including: the Washington State Energy Program; the University of Washington; the Washington Technology Center; WRF Capital; the Sustainability Investment Fund; Northwest Energy Angels; the Frontier Angel Fund; Oregon Freeze Dry; OVP Venture Partners; Yaletown Venture Partners; and Firelake Capital Management.

When historians look back at the early 21st century energy revolution, the commentary will be about efficient and cost-effective energy storage breakthroughs that minimized a global reliance on gasoline. In short, energy storage will be the key to how we change the way we generate, use and recover energy. Indeed, the single most important determinant of widespread adoption of the electric car – and the eventual demise of gasoline – is energy storage.