Dan Green :
Firefly Energy Receives New R&D Funding in U.S. Defense Bill
Dan Green :
Firefly Energy, Inc., the Peoria-based spin out of Caterpillar Inc. now developing a ground-breaking carbon foam lead acid battery for commercial and military uses, today announced that it has received an appropriation of $3.25 million in the fiscal year 2007 Defense Bill recently signed by President Bush. The company’s “3D Advanced Battery Technology” was tabbed for $2.5 million in last year’s Defense Bill.
U.S. Congressman Ray LaHood (R-IL), who announced the award, said the appropriation was contained in a bill sending more than $84 million in defense funding to Illinois in this new fiscal year.
“This is great news for the Peoria area and for our troops,” LaHood said. “The funds will enable researchers at Firefly Energy to continue developing prototypes of its 3D Advanced Battery Technology. The batteries eventually will power a variety of military equipment, giving U.S. troops the technological advantage they need to accomplish their missions while minimizing casualties.”
Firefly Energy’s CEO Edward F. Williams said the company is thrilled with the defense bill appropriation for 2007. “Better energy storage solutions are absolutely critical to current and future weapons systems” he said. “We’re gratified that the military has placed its confidence in our company and technology by not only continuing but increasing its commitment to the development of our technology in 2007,” Williams concluded. He also said he believes the company’s progress in developing its graphite foam lead acid battery for both commercial and military applications puts Firefly on a pace to see the initial manufacturing of its batteries by late 2007.
High-performance battery could aid troops
Mil Ovan, senior vice president and a co-founder, said a graphite foam lead acid battery, unlike conventional lead acid batteries, lasts longer, is smaller, weighs significantly less because of the reduction of lead, sheds heat more effectively and can be re-charged faster. “This funding further affirms the dual-use military/commercial potential of our battery technology,” he said. “The military gets a head start in obtaining this new battery, and they will ultimately benefit from economies of scale resulting from the broad commercial appeal for higher performance batteries based on our foam technology,” Ovan concluded.
In late 2005, Firefly Energy received its first of several US patents for its next generation graphite foam lead acid battery technology based on a material sciences innovation discovered by Caterpillar Inc.
About Firefly Energy, Inc.
Firefly Energy (www.fireflyenergy.com) is a Peoria, Illinois-based company which has developed a next generation lead acid battery technology that has the opportunity to address major portions of the $30 billion worldwide battery marketplace. Firefly’s graphite foam-based battery technology can deliver a unique combination of high performance, extremely low weight and low cost, all in a battery which utilizes the best aspects of lead acid chemistry while overcoming the corrosive drawbacks of this same chemistry. This product technology delivers to battery markets a performance associated with advanced battery chemistries (Nickel Metal Hydride and Lithium), but for one-fifth the cost, and can be both manufactured as well as recycled within the existing lead acid battery industry’s vast infrastructure. The company was formed after its technology, technical founder, and initial seed funds were spun out of Caterpillar, Inc. (www.cat.com), a Fortune 90 company, in May 2003, and is headed by co-founders Edward Williams (CEO), Mil Ovan (Senior VP), and Kurtis Kelley (Chief Technology Officer). Investors include Caterpillar (www.cat.com) (NYSE: CAT), BAE Systems (www.baesystems.com) (London Stock Exchange over the counter symbol: BAESY), Chicago-area Venture Capital firm KB Partners (www.kbpartners.com), the State of Illinois’ Illinois Finance Authority, and Husqvarna (www.husqvarna.com). (Other OTC: HSQVY.PK).