Massachusetts-based FloDesign Wind Turbine Corp. will expand its operations in Massachusetts with the assistance of $3 million in financing from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).
The company is establishing a new corporate headquarters and product development center in addition to maintaining its aerodynamic research center in Wilbraham. The company also intends to assemble its first wind turbines in Massachusetts.
The financing package from MassCEC includes a five-year $700,000 forgivable loan, contingent on the company maintaining its corporate headquarters and primary R&D facility in Massachusetts, creating or retaining 150 wind jobs in the next three years and maintaining those jobs for an additional two years.
In addition, the package includes a $600,000 convertible grant, which gives MassCEC an equity stake in FloDesign should the company receive additional financing, and $1.7 million from MassCEC's Renewable Energy Trust to defray a portion of the cost of installing the company's first "shrouded" wind turbines at state or local public entities and non-profit organizations.
"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 Governor Deval Patrick.
Founded in 2007, FloDesign Wind has developed a shrouded wind turbine design based on jet engine technology, which is expected to deliver more than three times the amount of energy as traditional wind turbines for the same size rotor.
With rotors half the size of a traditional turbine and lower tower height, FloDesign wind turbines could be installed at locations, like airports, that can be problematic for conventional wind turbines. Massport has already sent a formal expression of interest in deploying FloDesign's wind turbine technology, with assistance from MassCEC's Renewable Energy Trust.
"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.''
In 2008, FloDesign won the MIT Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Prize as well as the Ignite Clean Energy Competition. Since that time, the company has raised over $40 million of venture capital financing in two rounds. In 2009, the company was also awarded an $8.3 million grant 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.
Created by the Green Jobs Act of 2008, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has as its mission to foster the growth of the Massachusetts clean energy industry by providing seed grants to companies, universities, and nonprofit organizations; funding job training and workforce development programs; and, as home of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, supporting the installation of renewable energy projects throughout the state.