A Peoria business is becoming a major player in the 30–billion–dollar battery marketplace.
Firefly Energy today officially opened its new 40–thousand square foot world headquarters.
News 25's Eric Shangraw shows you why Firefly's glow is garnering attention around the globe.
Firefly Energy was started five years ago with three people. –A spin off from Caterpillar.
Now with 45 employees and 20 new hires coming this year, Firefly moves from laboratory space at Illinois Central College into its' own world headquarters.
The company is developing next generation battery technology.
In a short lifetime, its' received seven million dollars in federal funding to meet the needs of the US Army, which burns through batteries in extreme heat in places like Iraq.
"This is a revolutionary new battery developed in Peoria, Illinois, which will be partly manufactured in Peoria," said Congressman Ray LaHood, a Peoria Republican.
"It is going to make our military more versatile and more able to protect our soldiers in combat," said Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat.
Inside Firefly's new home, employees are manufacturing and testing the first generation of new batteries.
Firefly officials say their patented microcell foam–base technology combines a lightweight low cost product with high performance.
A traditional acid–lead battery generates heat. Buy using Firefly's patented carbon foam in a batter, the heat is dissipated and actually allows the battery to generate more current.
A Firefly battery is being developed for the trucking industry. Drivers can turn off their motors during mandatory down time and use the Firefly to keep truck-cab air–conditioning units running for up to ten hours.
The only unanswered question is where the Firefly will be assembled when the manufacturing phase kicks into high gear.
"The final assembly of the batteries will happen inside the US at a battery manufacturer. There are several companies that we are working with. In the next four weeks we will have a public announcement, " said Firefly CEO Ed Williams.
Local officials hope eventually, Firefly will open a manufacturing facility in Peoria. But this week, it is a new world headquarters exemplifying the growing success of this glowing business.