ReVolt bases global operations in Portland

James McDougall, ReVolt CEO, said the zinc-air battery company will grow to 50 employees by the end of next year.

James McDougall, ReVolt CEO, said the zinc-air battery company will grow to 50 employees by the end of next year.

When ReVolt Technology AS arrived in Portland a year ago this month, the battery technology company declared the city home to its U.S. headquarters.

Its global headquarters was in Switzerland.

That’s changed.

“(Portland) has been our de facto world headquarters from late last year,” ReVolt CEO James McDougall said via email.

The 20,940-square-foot facility, at 11855 N.E. Glen Widing Dr. is split almost equally between office space and area for labs, pilot production and warehousing space.

ReVolt employs 18, a figure McDougall expects to grow to 23 by the end of the year and to 50 sometime in 2012.

ReVolt was built out of a technology developed out of Trondheim, Norway-based SINTEF, Scandinavia’s largest independent research organization.

The company is developing a zinc-air battery technology it believes can deliver twice the energy of conventional rechargeable battery technologies, such as lithium-ion.

Using an abundant resource such as zinc — which is already used to power products such as computers and cellphones — lowers manufacturing costs and cuts pollution, since it can degrade into environmentally friendly substances.

ReVolt is technically incorporated in Norway, where it’s owned by its venture capital backers, but its global headquarters had been based in Switzerland.

McDougall, a Portland resident, said ReVolt decided late last year to relocate its primary locations to countries with a healthy investment climate for renewable energy technology.

The company also opened operations in Germany and China.

It initially chose Portland for the city’s skilled workforce, an attractive living environment, an airport that allowed for international travel, the ability to recruit talent here and a “progressive ecosystem that is willing to invest in and scale renewable energy generation and storage solutions.”

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@ErikSiemers | 503.219.3418 | esiemers@bizjournals.com

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