FloDesign Aims to Expand Wind Turbine Business
Backed with a $3 million assistance from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Wilbraham-based FloDesign Wind Turbine Corp. will expand its operations in the state. The company is recognized as the developer of a U.S. Department of Energy-recognized “transformative” wind energy technology. It will maintain its aerodynamic research center in Wilbraham along with establishing a new corporate headquarters and product development center in the historic Waltham Watch Factory. The company also intends to assemble its first wind turbines in Massachusetts. If everything goes according to the plan, the company will establish a new benchmark for other wind energy technology companies to look up to and aspire to.
FloDesign has raised $40 million of venture capital financing in two rounds after winning the MIT Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Prize as well as the Ignite Clean Energy Competition in 2008. The company was awarded an $8.3 million grant in 2009 also, as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s highly competitive Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) program, which supports the development of “transformational” energy technologies.
The company was founded in 2007, after leveraging its knowledge of turbine design based on the jet engine technology. Its shrouded wind turbine design is expected to deliver more than three times the amount of energy as traditional wind turbines for the same size rotor. The rotors of its turbines are very small in size and they can be easily installed and utilized at places where there is high consumption of power but there is no space for conventional wind turbine towers; airports, for instance. It’s significantly smaller compared to other wind turbines and also costs a lot less to install and operate. With the help from MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust the Massachusetts Port Authority has already shown a keep interest in deploying FloDesign’s wind turbine technology.
“Massport embraces technology that helps the environment and we are very excited about the prospect of bringing this cutting edge wind energy technology to test it in an airport environment,” said Thomas J. Kinton Jr. CEO and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Port Authority. “We look forward to working with FloDesign to understand the technology fully and push for the necessary regulatory approval from the FAA so that we can install one or more turbines at a Massport airport in a pilot program.”
“FloDesign has been recognized for its ‘transformative’ technology by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and I am pleased to see this innovative Massachusetts company choosing to stay and grow right here, creating jobs and helping Massachusetts show the nation and the world the way toward a clean energy economy,” said Deval Governor Patrick.
As a part of the deal of the financial package the company has promised to generate around 120 new jobs in Wilbraham in the next 3 years. Although most of the investor of the company are based in California, the local government has tried hard to keep the expansion of the company within Massachusetts.