EnerG2 gets started on Albany energy storage materials plant

EnerG2 broke ground on Tuesday on its stimulus-funded energy storage materials production facility in Albany, promising 35 new jobs when the plant opens in October 2011.

Seattle-based EnerG2 received $21 million in stimulus funding last year as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's support of the electric vehicle industry.

EnerG2, a seven-year-old venture-backed company, will manufacture synthetic high-performance carbon electrode material, an important ingredient in ultracapacitor energy-storage devices that are used in electric and hybrid vehicles.

Rick Leuebbe, CEO of EnerG2, said the company is lining up customers and has interest from makers of ultracapacitors and makers of batteries.

"The DOE's involvement will rapidly accelerate our business model," Luebbe said.

EnerG2 is also partnering with Albany-based Oregon Freeze Dry, which will help design the plant.

In addition to production jobs, EnerG2 estimates 50 temporary construction jobs will be created during the build-out of the plant.

EnerG2 has raised $14.5 million in venture capital, most recently in a Series A round led by OVP Venture Partners and Firelake Capital Management. EnerG2 also counts the University of Washington, the Washington Technology Center, WRF Capital, the Sustainability Investment Fund, Northwest Energy Angles, the Frontier Angel Fund and Yaletown Venture Partners among its supporters.

Ultracapacitors store and release more energy faster than conventional batteries. The size and make-up of the electrodes’ surface area helps ultracapacitors store and supply large bursts of energy. EnerG2 makes the claim that the Albany facility will be the first in the world dedicated to making the kind of carbon material that will make ultracapacitors even more efficient.

"Our long-term vision is to displace petroleum as the basis for our economy," Leuebbe said.

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