After losing a CEO and then more money than expected in FY07, there's finally a bit of potential good news from Altairnano. The battery company that should be powering the Phoenix SUVs by now has announced (release after the break) an expansion to Altairnano's facility in Anderson, Indiana from 30,000 square feet to 70,000. The reason is "a growing base of potential long-term clients including Phoenix Motorcars and the AES Corporation, among others." Potential? We're ready for some detailed vehicle testing reports, already. While we wait for those, anyone want to speculate about which companies Altairnano's Director of Operations, Dave Lynch, was talking about when he said, "We do have several other automotive companies that we're working with on some ideas for both hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all electric vehicles"?
Press Release:

Anderson, Ind. – Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. has announced that it has expanded its lease at the Flagship Business Accelerator to include the facility's full 70,000 square feet of space. The expansion comes as a result of a growing base of potential long-term clients including Phoenix Motorcars and the AES Corporation, among others.

The company's Anderson location is an extension of Altair's headquarters in Reno, Nevada and opens up new potential for the company by turning ceramic nanomaterial into state-of-the-art lithium battery systems.

Altair became one of the Flagship Enterprise Center's first clients when it moved Anderson operations there in October 2005. The company originally occupied two laboratories and one office area within the center, but quickly increased its residency by more than doubling that space. Director of Operations, Dave Lynch, says that the company's growth eventually led to needs that could not be met by the business incubator. "After having five of the eight lab areas, we just couldn't do the work that we had to do. We were very crowded, so having the accelerator built was very helpful to us as we were able to quickly expand." Altair's original lease was for only 30,000 square feet of the Flagship Business Accelerator, but the additional 40,000, says Lynch, will allow Altair to expand and meet the needs of companies showing increasing interest in their technology.

Altair's most notable partnership is with Phoenix Motorcars based out of Ontario, California, an early leader in the mass production of all-electric vehicles. Within the automotive realm, says Lynch, Altair is finding many possibilities beyond just Phoenix. "We do have several other automotive companies that we're working with on some ideas for both hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all electric vehicles," says Lynch. "That continues to look well, but it takes a long time to develop a vehicle for this type of application. So that is more long-term growth."

In the near future, Altair is looking beyond the automotive industry to find other applications for its innovative products. The company is currently partnering with AES, the parent company of Indianapolis Light and Power, and has built a two megawatt system that is currently being tested at a power station on the south side of Indianapolis. If successful, Lynch says that substantial orders could arise in the near future, growth that would make their recent increase in space a necessity. "It's a large system," notes Lynch, "so it takes space to build it and to construct the infrastructure to put the system together."

In addition to increasing space, Altair is also consistently multiplying its workforce. The Anderson location started with only eight employees in 2005, and has since increased that number to around forty, with more plans to hire in the immediate future.

Altairnano is an innovator and supplier of advanced ceramic nanomaterials. With a skilled team of scientists who, coupled in collaborative ventures with industry partners and leading academic centers, have developed a unique portfolio of intellectual property and novel products. These researchers are complemented by a seasoned management team with substantial experience in commercializing innovative, disruptive technologies.

Altairnano focuses on nanotechnology applications to enable new high-growth markets. In alternative energy Altairnano is pioneering new battery materials and systems. The company is applying nanotechnology to the development of drug candidates for humans and companion animals, coating materials for implants, and materials for dental applications. Its high performance nanomaterials have applications in paints, coatings, and the treatment of water and air. The Altairnano Hydrochloride Pigment Process, the first new patented pigment process in 50 years, is an environmentally friendly method for manufacturing white pigment used in paints, paper, and plastic. For additional information, visit www.altairnano.com.

Created through a partnership between Anderson University and the City of Anderson, the Flagship Enterprise Center serves as a small business incubator and growth stage business accelerator. Through its client-specific Client Support Program, the FEC helps emerging companies to become independently viable. Located at I-69 and (exit 22) in Anderson, the FEC provides ongoing contact with management consultants, university researchers, student mentoring opportunities and access to capital. For more information, contact DeWayne Landwehr at (765) 622-0800 or visit the FEC Web site at www.flagshipenterprise.org.

[Source: Flagship Enterprise Center via Inside Indiana Business]

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