Gov. Rick Scott and Florida State president Eric Barron announced on Feb. 10 that Bing Energy would relocate its headquarters to Tallahassee in collaboration with the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.
“Tallahassee should be a significant big business center with the FAMU-FSU COE and Bing Energy,” Scott said at the press conference.
Technology invented by a group of researchers at FSU sparked the interest of the company, currently headquartered in Chino, Calif.
Jim P. Zheng, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the FAMU-FSU COE and a researcher at FSU’s Center for Advanced Power Systems, headlined the research.
Bing and the FAMU-FSU COE are collaborating on the ideas that Zheng and his colleagues had of creating cheaper, viable and sustainable fuel cells, which would impact travel and power by using what is known as “buckypaper,” a pure sheet form of carbon nanotubes, used in creating cheaper but greater fuel efficiency for forms of transportation and energy.
Dr. Zheng said the FAMU-FSU COE benefited from the collaboration with Bing energy.
“Working together with the Department of Energy project and their expertise helped to win the proposal to work with Bing Energy and to have them build their headquarters in Tallahassee,” Zheng told The Famuan
The inclusion of Bing Energy not only helps FAMU-FSU COE, but also the company itself. Bing Energy gained $1.9 million from the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development.
The money is reportedly a Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund that is used to help businesses create jobs.
Bing Energy is also in a 2-year subcontract with the University of Central Florida to help with developing polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, or PEMF’s, using the buckypaper technology provided by the research of Dr. Zheng and his colleagues at FAMU-FSU COE.
This subcontract comes from a grant acquired by UCF from the department of energy to help with the Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Technology Program-Multi-Year Research Development and Demonstrative Plan.
Dean Minardi, chief financial officer of Bing Energy, emphasized how happy the company is about relocating to Florida at the press conference.
“We are impressed by the value Florida is placing on its high tech manufacturers to foster pro-employer, pro-job creation,” said Minardi.
It is projected that at least 244 jobs would be created totaling an average wage of $41,655 in the state of Florida. Bing Energy plans to start off with 12 available jobs and plan to increase to more than 244 jobs in seven years.
Bing Energy has asked for the help of Workforce Plus, an agency used to help unemployed workers in Leon, Gadsden and Wakulla counties find jobs, to help with the hiring of qualified workers.
“Once this technology has been implemented it will then be used to lower the cost of energy and the reliance on fossil fuels not just for the state but for the nation as well,” said Zheng.
It is not clear when the collaboration between Bing Energy and the FAMU-FSU COE will yield working prototypes that are safe to distribute throughout the nation.
The headquarters are expected to begin production in March.
Zheng also noted that Bing Energy will be using a laboratory in the Collins Building, which is located in Innovation Park, and its administrative and management staff will be housed in the Morgan Building.