BRITE Energy Innovators

Solon to be new home for fuel-cell maker Petra Power

Aerial view of the new Petra Power facility in Solon Ohio

Petra Power, a fuel-cell developer and maker, plans to move to Solon. The company said it is growing out of BRITE Energy Innovations, a Warren incubator that has been its home for five years.

Construction is underway on the new space at the office/warehouse building at 6565 Davis Industrial Parkway. After the site is operating, Petra said it expects to add at least 15 new jobs, which will mean the addition of a $2 million annual payroll for Solon.

Aaron Goodman, a co-founder of the company with Phillip Clift, said in a news release, “Petra Power is very excited to grow our workforce in Northeast Ohio. The company is very invested in the region’s efforts to revitalize manufacturing and bring new industry and excitement back to Northeast Ohio.”

Goodman said its focus is on hiring locally as often as possible “and empowering our neighbors and colleagues to get involved in advanced manufacturing and electrification technologies.”

Angee Shaker, Solon economic development director, said in a phone interview the city is excited to land the company, which had specific location requirements that worked in the city’s favor. She said the company did not request incentives.

However, Petra Power said a major factor driving the decision to stay within the region was working with the property owners of the building — Davis Development Group of Solon — and getting the necessary approvals from the city to create a new manufacturing and office space with appropriate ceiling heights, adequate power infrastructure, warehouse loading, a clean room and wet labs. It said those are key components for any company in the advanced manufacturing and clean energy industries.

Jim Ambrose, president of Tipping Point Real Estate Development and the owner’s representative firm in Youngstown, said in the release that adaptability by Solon and the property owner helped the new location meet the company’s clean energy requirements.

Depending on deliveries, the facility is scheduled to open in the fall, Ambrose said.

Petra Power is half-way through a 24-month contract of undisclosed size through the U.S. Department of Defense to further develop its technology and expand its manufacturing presence to service DOD’s needs.

The company makes what it describes as “novel” solid oxide fuel cells built to reduce its customers’ fuel costs and carbon emissions in a reliable and affordable power system.

Petra Power said its goal is to improve efficiency of fossil fuel usage by leveraging its patented technology as the central power component in power systems for a variety of applications. The system, the company said, also benefits from decreased weight and size compared with other fuel-cell technologies.

Shaker said Petra Power will occupy a little more than 14,000 square feet of space in the multitenant building and has obtained expansion options there.

The company’s co-founders have scientific and engineering backgrounds.

Goodman holds a doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Clift has a master’s degree in materials science, according to the release.

BRITE Energy Innovations is a nonprofit operated with support from the city of Warren as a place-based incubator in the Mahoning Valley to accelerate energy technologies in Northeast Ohio.

Read the original article by Stan Bullard for Crains Cleveland here.

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