SBIR funding gives Y-Carbon another boost to develop nanotech
Ben Franklin Technology Partner
March 25, 2010

Jim Horan has only been on the job for three-plus months as CEO of Montgomery County-based Y-Carbon, but the swirl of nanotechnology and clean energy activity that has captured the attention of the state and nation has made him one of the Delaware Valley’s busiest businessmen.

The latest for Y-Carbon, which is developing nanotech for breakthrough performance in fields of energy, is a Department of Energy Small Business Innovation Research phase 1 grant for $149,938. The federal stimulus funding has allowed the company, which is a portfolio company of both the Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center and The Nanotechnology Institute of Ben Franklin Technology Partners, to increase its staff by three to nine and expand the business from research to manufacturing.

“This is a really special award,” says Horan. “As an early stage clean-tech company, this was competitive and the funding is really additional validation.”

Y-Carbon is fast becoming a model of technology commercialization, having brought a lab-scale nanotech manufacturing process initially developed at Drexel University to commercial production since its founding in 2008. The company will hold a groundbreaking event in early April at its new manufacturing facility at the Bridge Business Center in nearby Bristol. There, Y-Carbon will bring its performance enhancement of carbon material, to be used in applications like supercapacitors and natural and carbon dioxide gas storage, to life.

“One of the things the team and I have focused on is, with all these opportunities, let’s address what’s in front of us, which is taking this technology from the milligram level to the kilogram level,” says Horan, “and the key component in growing is showing that we’re no longer an R&D company, that we’re ready to start bringing out product to the marketplace.”

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