Florida State University

Bing Energy relocates to partner with FSU on high-tech fuel cells

Florida Gov. Rick Scott today announced that Bing Energy Inc. of Chino, Calif., has selected Tallahassee as the new site of the company's world headquarters. The company, in collaboration with Professor Jim P. Zheng of The Florida State University, is planning to turn revolutionary nanotechnology pioneered at FSU into a better, faster, more economical and commercially viable fuel cell. The move is expected to create at least 244 jobs paying an average wage of $41,655 in Florida.

"I am proud to welcome Bing Energy and thank them for recognizing that Florida is the best state in the nation," Scott said. "As governor, I am continuing to make it the best place to do business. This is only the beginning. Just as Bing Energy was convinced to bring jobs here, I am talking to companies across the nation. I am letting them know that our reduction in the business tax burden, commitment to job creation, and Florida's world-class work force mean we are open for business."

Bing Energy, a manufacturer of state-of-the-art components for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, will begin production in March 2011 and serve the domestic and international energy markets.

"We know that, with the continuing support of Gov. Scott, the Legislature and the people of Florida, our institutions of higher learning will continue to foster innovation, and jobs will continue to cluster around those innovations," said Florida State University President Eric J. Barron. "The breakthrough research by Drs. Wang and Zheng and the company's decision to come to Florida confirm that the investment made in their work by our state and the federal government has realized its commercial potential. Bing Energy represents the future, and Florida State is proud to be a part of it."

Bing is moving its global headquarters to Tallahassee to work in partnership with Zheng, who has pioneered a fuel cell that incorporates a thin membrane composed of carbon nanotubes, reducing the need for expensive platinum components that, until now, have made fuel cells too expensive to be widely marketed. Zheng's technology is based on pioneering research and development of buckypaper conducted at Florida State's High-Performance Materials Institute. The institute's director, Professor Ben Wang, is the assistant vice president for research at Florida State.

Bing Energy's innovation promises to produce a fuel cell that is more efficient, more durable and significantly less expensive – benefits that could transform the transportation and power generation sectors.

Joining Scott and Barron in celebrating Bing Energy's move to Tallahassee were Bing Energy CFO Dean Minardi, Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, and representatives from the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County Inc.

"We all know the world's existing energy-use pattern is unsustainable," Minardi said. "A commercially viable fuel cell will transform the way we drive, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. It will transform the way we deliver energy to neighborhoods, ensuring reliability and eliminating the risk of brownouts."

Bing Energy's move to Florida is tied to a $1.9 million award the company recently received from the Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development. The award is a Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund in support of job creation. The local Tallahassee and Leon County governments are also supporting Bing Energy by each providing a 10 percent match on the QTI Award.

Gov. Scott has stated that creating jobs is his top priority. As governor, he has announced plans to create 700,000 jobs over the next seven years by implementing accountability budgeting, reducing government spending, enacting regulatory reform, focusing on job growth and retention, investing in world class state universities, reducing property taxes and phasing out the business income tax.

Local officials expressed delight that Tallahassee was chosen by Bing Energy as its relocation site.

"Our organization identified tax incentives and work-force training programs that gave Tallahassee the edge over other communities under consideration," said Kim Williams, chairman of the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/ Leon County Inc. "This is a perfect example of why connecting industry, education and government is so important. In this case, these connections helped us to retain our talent, as well as our university technologies and commercialization within our community."

Tallahassee Mayor John Marks spoke of the importance of creating jobs in his community and "retaining one of our greatest assets, our work-force talent. The city of Tallahassee is committed to doing our part to help this promising company establish its roots in our community."

Marks' comments were echoed by John Dailey, chairman of the Leon County Commission.

"The county is committed to working with our public and private sectors, especially our universities, to help businesses locate in our community," Dailey said.