Firefly Energy, a spinoff of Caterpillar Inc. and the first resident of the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new world headquarters on Galena Road in Peoria on Tuesday, August 12th. The location’s 40,000 square feet will allow Firefly to manufacture the cutting-edge technology products they have spent the last five years developing. Its lead-acid batteries improve performance and reduce waste, contributing to the region’s lead in the sustainability movement.
The company’s first commercial products for trucking and military applications are targeted to ship early next year. When the State of California placed new restrictions on diesel-engine idling, the trucking industry needed a new power source for its sleeper cabs, which become “hotels” for truck drivers. Firefly’s new battery, Oasis, uses revolutionary Microcell foam technology to supply power to the cab while the engine is off, reducing fuel costs and lessening environmental impact.
Firefly has also landed battery contracts with the U.S. Army for its “Silent Watch” program. Using Firefly’s batteries, electronic reconnaissance can be conducted from military vehicles with engines off, avoiding detection by the enemy while saving fuel. Firefly CEO Edward Williams said the carbon-graphite foam battery prototype is scheduled to be complete early next year, with production set to begin in the fourth quarter of 2009.
As the country begins to transition away from fossil fuels and toward energy independence, battery technologies will play a large role in the future, and Firefly Energy is at the forefront of that movement. The company’s new facility will provide the company with the space they need, not only to continue their cutting-edge research, but to manufacture the products they will put on the market as soon as the first quarter of 2009. iBi