Planned work for lab ‘huge’ for Wiscasset tech firm

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 8:45am

The work that a lab is lining up for Peregrine Turbine Technologies (PTT) stands to bring in about $15 million to the Wiscasset firm, co-founder David Stapp said. But Stapp, of Bremen, said that isn’t the biggest impact of the planned deal that still awaits funding and more talks.

The lab’s memo of understanding, in which it makes its intentions known to work with several companies, is a step toward attracting other work, Stapp said in an interview Tuesday.

“This is absolutely huge for us. There’s no question about it,” Stapp said. “It shows other technology partners that this is where you should place your bet.”

Sandia National Laboratories’ Brayton Lab in Albuquerque will be the site of pilot testing a gas turbine engine based on a system PTT developed, according to an announcement. In it, Sandia states that the memo sets in motion a new arena of power generation, namely an electrical power generator that is highly efficient, low on carbon emission and can be used in commercial industry.

In late June, Stapp and representatives of eight other outfits signed the memo of understanding being announced this week.

The Sandia memo states that the document is non-binding, and will be followed by written deals subject to funding. The U.S. Department of Energy is among the possible funding sources, Stapp said.

The work with Sandia doesn’t grow PTT’s workforce beyond its current staff of 10 full-time employees, including him and co-founder Bob Brooks of Stockton Springs, Stapp said. However, it feeds into one of the firm’s objectives: to create Maine jobs, he said.

“The founders of PTT are committed to establishing a ‘technology and manufacturing anchor’ to permanently reside in the state of Maine and to take other collaborative steps to keep the majority of the resulting high-value jobs, supply chain and related technology as American as possible,” Sandia’s memo states. It adds that the parties, who could grow in number, contemplate following Sandia’s and Peregrine Turbine Technologies’ plans as closely as possible; the parties will work on getting the technology ready for commercial use and seek funding for individual and group efforts, it states.

Stapp and Brooks met in 2011 through a mutual friend who noted the two men’s complementary skills — Brooks’ in business development, Stapp’s in technology. They started the business in 2012. Stapp is chief executive officer; Brooks is chief operating officer and chief business development officer.

The business has no immediate plans to leave its rented space, upstairs in Wiscasset Municipal Airport’s terminal building, Stapp said. A move may be considered later, in or outside Wiscasset, he said.