The South Korean company that bought fuel cell operations from the bankrupt ClearEdge Power said it plans to make South Windsor its headquarters and hire more than a hundred workers by the end of next year.
Doosan Corporation, the Asian industrial giant that owns the Bobcat Company, picked up the Connecticut fuel cell operations for $32 million in a bankruptcy sale that closed July 18. The new firm, Doosan Fuel Cell America, will be run alongside its parent company's South Korea fuel cell firm, Fuel Cell Power, which specializes in smaller-sized equipment.
In an interview Wednesday, Doosan Fuel Cell America's head of market strategy Kent McCord said the company's goal is to have 150 employees by the end of 2015, and have the number one spot in the global fuel cell market in a decade.
"We need to shore up our current business with our current product in the next several years," said McCord, who started working for UTC Power in 2001. United Technologies Corp. sold the business to ClearEdge in 2012.
"Over the 10-year horizon it will be new product with different applications, higher efficiencies, and global markets. Right now, we are really in the U.S. and Korea market. It's quite a broad view of opportunities."
In South Korea, the government has pressed fuel cells as an important piece of their energy system. FuelCell Energy, headquartered in Danbury with manufacturing operations in Torrington, recently completed the world's largest fuel cell part there and has a longtime equity partnership with South Korean steel giant POSCO.
Doosan said it plans to focus on the $1.7 billion stationary fuel cell market that powers residential and commercial buildings, a segment it says is growing more than 30 percent each year.
While it purchased the Connecticut operations, Doosan passed on ClearEdge's facilities in California, which include a headquarters and research and development center, McCord said. The company also will not continue work on ClearEdge's five-kilowatt fuel cell. Instead, it will focus on the 400 kilowatt product that ClearEdge and UTC Power developed.
McCord, for whom this is the third company running the fuel cell operations, sees hope in the South Korean firm. With $21 billion in sales, the parent company is a third of the size of United Technologies. But unlike the Hartford-based industrial conglomerate that shed its power generation businesses in recent years, Doosan carries a deep focus on energy.
"A big part of their business is power generation: nuclear, steam, turbines, large boilers for power plants. This business is more of a commercial building power business. It's a smaller scale, but we can really leverage Doosan's core competency," McCord said.
Hiring more than a hundred workers will take time, and some have been posted to the company's website.Copyright © 2015, CT Now