Wallingford business receives $2.5 million from U.S. Department of Energy

By:  Eric Vo
Meriden Record Journal

WALLINGFORD — The U.S. Department of Energy awarded $2.5 million to Proton OnSite to develop a high-efficiency battery.

The hydrogen-iron battery would be capable of generating hydrogen to power fuel cells, while also storing energy on the electric grid. The battery could also be recharged using electricity or through exposure to sunlight.

Creating the product will take three years, according to Kathleen Mullins, marketing specialist at Proton OnSite. The first year will consist of materials development and building an initial bench test system.

The second year will be prototyping parts. The third year will be focused on integration and transition to more commercial level hardware, Mullins said.

Proton OnSite is located at 10 Technology Drive.

The award is a part of the $125 million given out by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Forty-one projects were awarded.

“We are honored to have been chosen by ARPA-E for this prestigious award. Proton is committed to finding dynamic solutions that meet our country’s most challenging energy problems,” Proton OnSite President and CEO Robert Friedland said in a release. “This award allows us to leverage resources that will help broaden our expertise in high-impact energy technologies and will serve as a platform to support Proton as we achieve such goals.”

Tim Ryan, the town’s economic development specialist, said news of Proton OnSite’s federal award is great for the community.

“The number of businesses that we have in town that do unique things, Proton OnSite is one of several businesses in Wallingford that we’re very fortunate to have because of the creative and unique things that they create,” Ryan said. “Their continued success bodes well, not only for Wallingford, but bodes well for the regional economy that we’re very much a part of and the state as a whole.”

Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. echoed Ryan.

“I’m certainly very pleased with their success. They’re expanding beyond technology that has been used in submarines for many years with new refinements and capabilities, making it adaptable and available for civilian business purposes,” Dickinson said. “That may be where some real breakthrough occurs as far as our use of energy and how to better develop energy sources less impact on the environment, which is very positive.”

Proton OnSite’s award was announced earlier this week by U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, as well as Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.

Murphy congratulated the company in a statement and complimented businesses in the state for their innovation and leading the way in “developing new technologies that improve energy efficiency and protect our environment.”

“For 18 years, Proton Onsite has raised the bar by exporting clean energy solutions across the globe, and I’m thrilled that DOE is recognizing their extraordinary contributions,” Murphy said.

Blumenthal said the award is a “testament to the ingenuity and creativity we have come to know and expect from Proton Energy.”

DeLauro said moving past the dependence of fossil fuels, research and development of alternative energies has to be supported.

“The award of this funding is recognition of Proton’s groundbreaking work and further testament to their innovative spirit,” DeLauro said. “I am proud to join my colleagues in congratulating Robert Friedland and his team on their continued success.”

Earlier this year, Proton OnSite was awarded a multi million-dollar contract extension with United Technologies Corp. to supply cell stacks used to produce oxygen for American, British and French submarines.

In 2014, Proton OnSite also received a $125,000 contract from NASA to develop oxygen systems.