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TAE Technologies Sets Up Energy Spinoff

For Ev's, power storage and delivery

Foothill Ranch’s TAE Technologies is looking to commercialize some of the scientific advancements it has made in its 25-year efforts to produce nearly unlimited fusion power, via a new spinoff that aims to enable faster battery-charging for electric vehicles and provide better storage for wind and solar energy.

The formation of the new subsidiary, announced on Jan. 23, is called TAE Power Solutions. It is locally based and already counts more than 250 employees, officials said.

That’s roughly half of what the parent company employs.

The spun-off company is in the process of closing Series A funding. More financing details will be made public soon, officials say.

Parent company TAE Technologies, which is in the process of expanding into a new facility in Irvine,­ is one of Orange County’s better-funded tech firms.

Last year, the company said it had exceeded its fusion reactor performance goals and had closed a $250 million financing round from investors Google, Chevron, and Sumitomo Corp., among others, bringing its total raised to date to $1.2 billion in private capital. Officials told the Business Journal earlier this year that it expects additional large funding deals going forward.

It is one of several businesses and government-backed groups racing to provide virtually unlimited energy by recreating on Earth the same process that fuels the sun. It’s been dubbed the “holy grail” of energy production.

Near the start of the year the U.S. government announced its first-ever success in creating new energy, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Commercialization of that fusion energy work is still many years, if not decades, away, most industry watchers believe. Generating revenue from TAE Power’s work is expected much sooner.

3-Year Incubation

TAE Power is an outgrowth of the parent’s years-long research and development.

“We’ve been incubated within TAE Technologies now for close to three years,” TAE Power CEO Kedar Munipella told the Business Journal.

Munipella joined TAE Power about six months ago from Applied Materials, a Fortune 200 company where he spent 16 years.

He currently lives in Silicon Valley, but says he will be moving to Orange County to run the operation.

TAE Power Solutions has its headquarters at the parent company’s site in Foothill Ranch, and will be moving to the company’s new site at 9740 Irvine Blvd.

Faster Charging, Storage

TAE Power uses the same energy storage and delivery technology developed for the parent company’s giant fusion project, which needed more electricity at key times than the local grid could provide.

TAE Technologies’ fusion system is said to use as much as 750 megawatts of electricity for just a half-second’s worth of work, well above the 2 megawatts available from the local power grid.

The TAE Power Solutions offshoot has two main goals.

One is electrification of vehicles, including charging infrastructure as EVs pick up popularity among the driving public.

TAE Power “is creating advanced technologies that are designed to deliver faster charging, stronger performance, farther range, and longer battery life for e-mobility and stationary applications,” the company says.

The company’s other goal is to provide storage devices for energy generated by such “intermittent” sources as wind and solar, which need to be stored somewhere before they can be used.

TAE Power is working on the storage in batteries and “super-capacitors,” which can be both large-industrial industrial or even inside the home.

The new business “is the perfect alignment of talent, technology, and market resources to serve our growing power needs and realize TAE’s goal of creating a complete, clean energy ecosystem,” said Michl Binderbauer, CEO of TAE Technologies and a prior Business Journal Innovator of the Year Award winner.

UK Buys

TAE Power will sell or license its technology to other businesses making the energy storage units.

It has already made two strategic acquisitions in the U.K. to bolster its entry into new markets and expand its global presence.

One of them is Sprint Power, a transport electrification specialists focusing on electrical systems integration and high voltage driveline.

The other is Eltrium, a design and manufacturing company specializing in the production of energy storage systems, power distribution, and electronic assemblies.

Financial terms of the two buys were undisclosed.

TAE Cancer Spinoff Links With OC Stem Cell Company

TAE Power Solutions is the second spinoff for parent company TAE Technologies.

In 2017, the fusion energy firm from Foothill Ranch set up a subsidiary, TAE Life Sciences, which is developing a new treatment for difficult-to-treat malignant cancers.

The method involves the creation of an “innovative biologically targeted radiation therapy” using the same base of technology used by the parent company.

It aims to build a neutron delivery system for an emerging type of radiation therapy called Boron Neutron Capture Therapy, or BNCT.

BNCT is a radiation therapy technique that offers noninvasive treatment options for cancers of the head and neck, brain tumors and other aggressive and recurrent cancers.

TAE Life announced a $30 million Series B funding round in 2020, bringing reported total funds raised to $70 million.

The company says on its website that the BNCT technique has shown “compelling responses” in treating patients with head and neck, brain, melanoma and other recurrent and invasive cancers. Its work is still in development and its products and drugs have not been approved for sale.

TAE Life counts its headquarters in Foothill Ranch, with its drug development division in Santa Monica.

Last month, it linked up with another Orange County next-gen healthcare company, Irvine’s Aivita Biomedical, which has expertise in stem cell applications. The partnership is intended to address “an unmet need in glioblastoma treatment,” the companies said, referring to malignant cancers that affect the brain and spine.

“Advancements in biomarker capture and identification remain an elusive but critical step in improving cancer care,” said Hans Keirstead, Aivita CEO, in a statement.

“I believe this merging of our two leading-edge technologies will lead to meaningful progress in that effort.”

—Mark Mueller

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