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April 23, 2014

Local manufacturer Ioxus to expand to second production site

By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Ioxus, a manufacturer in Oneonta, will expand to a second production site locally and hire 30 workers, said officials Tuesday.

Ioxus Inc., which produces ultracapacitors at a plant off of Browne Street in the town of Oneonta, has been converting a 22,000 square-foot building in Pony Farm Industrial Park in Oneonta, officials said.

The manufacturer last week announced that its ultracapacitors would be used in a project to help the Long Island Rail Road cut energy consumption. And earlier this month, Ioxus reported completion of a equity initiative.

The Pony Farm site, at 152 Corporate Drive, is off of Interstate 88, exit 13, and is a mile from the existing plant, which was the former National Soccer Hall of Fame.

A date for the plant opening and details about types of jobs and hiring weren’t available Tuesday, said an Ioxus spokesman, who reported the manufacturer has about 100 employees.

Ioxus produces ultracapacitor technology for use in transportation, industrial and energy applications. In recent years, Ioxus has reported securing millions of dollars in investments to develop its products, expand sales and hire employees.

Oneonta town Supervisor Robert Wood said Ioxus has been busy at its current plant and the expansion was welcome news.

“We’re pleased to see them continue to grow,” Wood said.

NEW USE FOR A VACANT BUILDING

Tasi Karabinis, vice president of Karabinis Development that owns the building at 152 Corporate Drive in Oneonta, said he “couldn’t be happier” to have Ioxus as an occupant. Ioxus is a good company with good jobs and good people, he said.

Previously, the building had been used by Covidien, a health care corporation, for storage, Karabinis said, and it had been vacant for about a year.

The building, which is in a commercial/industrial zone, is two-thirds in the city and one-third in the town, according to the Oneonta Code Enforcement Office, which approved a building permit for improvements including partition walls.

Ioxus, founded in 2006, reported that it spent more than $1 million to convert the former Soccer Hall of Fame building. When it opened there in 2011, Ioxus has about 60 employees, up from 29 at the end of 2010.

Previously, Ioxus was on Winney Hill Road, also in the town of Oneonta.

IOXUS PRODUCT AND THE LIRR PROJECT 

NYSERDA recently awarded a contract for the LIRR project to Electrical Power worX Corp. of Hornell to develop an ultracapacitor energy storage system for use in subway and commuter rail systems.

EPX selected Ioxus to supply ultracapacitors to the LIRR after consultation with NYSERDA, the Ioxus release said. NYSERDA made its decision following demonstrations that detailed how Ioxus ultracapacitors would help the LIRR reduce energy consumption by up to 30 percent and improve railway operations.

The EPX product can be used for voltage support to eliminate the need for costly substation upgrades or to capture the braking energy from trains, NYSERDA officials said Tuesday.

Ultracapacitors charge and discharge quickly, making them ideal for voltage support needs and recovering energy that would otherwise be lost in light rail transportation, an Ioxus media release said.

“The demand for ultracapacitors from commuter rail, metro and light rail transportation is growing, and we are delighted to be working with the LIRR, which is the busiest commuter railroad in North America,” said Mark McGough, chief executive officer of Ioxus, in a media release. “NYSERDA and LIRR decision to select Ioxus ultracapacitors demonstrates our superior technology in the energy storage space.”

NYSERDA previously backed the Ioxus product when it was under development by Custom Electronics, which later spun off Ioxus. Since Ioxus has been a separate company, NYSERDA has supported it directly in the development of several projects.

BUSINESS EMERGING IN CHINA 

Earlier this month, Ioxus reported the completion of its Series C funding, announced in July, with receipt of $21 million from investors.

International Finance Corp., a member of the World Bank Group, and the Westly Group, a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, Calif., led the financing.

Ioxus will use the funds to expand customer service, sales and manufacturing in Asia, with a focus on China, a media release said.

China is the No. 1 market worldwide for “new energy” buses, passenger rail, automobile sales and renewable wind power generation, the April 3 release said, and Ioxus projects expanding business in China with assistance of IFC.

“I believe we have without question the strongest set of financial backers of any company in our industry, with the likes of GE, Alstom and now IFC with its presence in China” said McGough said in the release.

Among IFC’s priorities are addressing climate change and promoting the production and use of environmental technologies in emerging markets, IFC executive Nikunj Jinsi said in the release, and Ioxus ultracapacitor technology and business model are a “strong fit” with those goals.

McGough said use of the Ioxus “iMOD” product can cut emissions 72 percent on every diesel bus in China.