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Cantech Letter interviews Phil Sustronk, CEO of PureEnergy Solutions

PureEnergy's Sustronk: "At this point we feel we know what consumers and businesses want in this area: ingenious simplicity."

Duncan Stewart, Deloitte and Touche’s affable tech guru, says batteries don’t follow Moore’ Law. The law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore says that the number of transistors on any given size of silicone will double every 18-24 months. This rule of thumb has proved remarkably accurate for decades.

Moore’s Law is part of the reason we, as consumers expect next years model of whatever we buy to be “twice as fast and half the price”, according to Stewart. But Moore’s Law simply does not apply to battery technology. According to Stewart, we must be prepared to accept incremental improvements of between 5 and 10% a year. It’s something anyone with a iPhone that conks out at 2pm understands and halfway accepts. But does the dichotomy between faster, sleeker and more powerful computing and only slightly more powerful batteries have a convergence point? If Phil Sustronk of Pure Energy (TSX:PEV) is right, his company will help usher in an era in which you can thrown away your cumbersome and numerous chargers because soon they will be seamlessly integrated into everyday life. Cantech Letter sat down with Sustronk to talk about Pure Energy’s ambitious plans.

Phil, for our readers who aren’t familiar, can you give us a bit of background on Pure Energy Solutions?

Sure. We were founded in 2005 in Scottsdale, AZ, under the name WildCharge. The company focused on developing and providing wire free charging technologies, including pads, skins, and universal adapters. Wild Charge had a pretty ambitious plan; to revolutionize power delivery to portable electronic devices. That incarnation of the company worked to establish the emerging technology through various go-to-market strategies.

A few years later Wild Charge merged with Pure Energy Visions, a Canadian manufacturer and distributor of secondary or rechargeable batteries and chargers for use in mass market consumer electronics devices. In 2009 WildCharge became PureEnergy Solutions, Inc.

Today, we’re headquartered in Boulder, Colorado and we’re still an industry innovator in portable-power enabling technologies and products. We were the first company to successfully commercialize and market two complementary technologies that address the consumer’s demand for clean, portable, and rechargeable energy storage: universal wire free charging pads and accessories and environmentally friendly AA, AAA, C, and D Rechargeable Alkaline Manganese batteries. We imagine a future where wire-free technology will deliver virtually ubiquitous wire-free power in places such as coffee shops, airports, hotels and build right into car consoles and office furniture. Eventually, consumers will be able to confidently leave your chargers, bricks and wires behind – no matter where they go.
At this point we feel we now what consumers and businesses want in this area – ingenious simplicity. They want to feel good about using a technology that makes their life easier and helps conserve the environment. So our mission is to continue to develop convenient, cost-effective and environmentally responsible solutions.

Your revenue sources and products are pretty diversified. What will be the focus of the company going forward?

Our unofficial tag-line as of late has been “Revolutionize the way you power your world.” As a company with a diversified product line, all of our offerings have the same focus and it’s just that; update innovate and ultimately revolutionize the way consumers charge the mobile devices that power their world. Right now we are focusing on targeting OEM’s and ODM’s. We are not limiting ourselves to one industry specifically, rather we are focusing on integrating our technology, wire-free or battery, into the current product lines of any company within any industry that designs, develops and manufactures their own products.

Do you see Pure Energy marketing its own products or getting involved with more OEM type deals?

In the very beginning, it was necessary to produce our own products. However, we’ve found that we produce far more effective products more efficiently when partnering with other leaders in their specific industry. We are focusing on targeting OEM’s and ODM’s. We are not limiting ourselves to one industry specifically, rather we are focusing on integrating our technology, wire-free or battery, into the current product lines of any company within any industry that designs, develops and manufactures their own products.
We’re not looking to reinvent the wheel or even revolutionize the wheel; we’re looking to partner with manufactures that are already established in the OEM business, they know manufacturing, we know technology. Together, we are a stronger, more effective team; Distributing products that will truly revolutionize consumers’ lives. Separate we are not nearly as efficient as we are working together in a partnership.

You provided technology to Duracell for their Smartgrid product, can you tell us a bit about how this came about and where it might lead?

We met Duracell at the International Consumer Electronics Show in 2008, signed a deal in 2009 and their first product with the Duracell brand was launched in 2010.
We foresee Duracell adopting the wire-free side of PureEnergy Solutions as the primary go to market/b2c/retail partner. This partnership provides extensive promise on both ends; PES partners with an extremely established company in the electronics add-on industry. Essentially we’ve been endorsed by an extremely successful, established corporation with a solid goodwill and high quality standards that also has the budget to distribute our technology to a market PES could only hope to reach in 3-5 years. Duracell did that in 3-5 months with a $30M advertising campaign.
Duracell benefits by incorporating an innovative product with cutting-edge technology into their already diverse product line. This also opens the doors to niche markets and new partnerships that would not have been possible with their existing product line.
It is a win-win for both companies.

How much intellectual property does Pure Energy own in the next-gen battery space?

We currently have 40 global patents of our Rechargeable Alkaline Manganese Dioxide battery technology in formats AA and AAA as well as larger formats. These batteries branded RAMcell™, involve the unique technology give this battery the capacity to be recharge hundreds of times, making it one of the most economical batteries on the market today. Free of mercury and other toxic materials, PureEnergy Solutions’ RAMcell™ is the only batter in North America awarded with the EcoLogo certification for environmentally preferable products. We have recently signed a global dist deal for consumer retail with IGO a public company on the nasdaq http://www.igo.com/
OEM sales are accelerating with Brinkman in solar and spotlights, Owl in the sensor business and Onzo in the electrical field
We have recently finished a very promising study in flatplate technology for larger format batteries with the NCR in Vancouver.

Pure Energy posted a loss of $1.02 million in Q3 2010, which was typical of recent quarters. When and how do you think the company will be profitable?

Through business partnerships and technology licensing, we’re focusing on enabling other product development and manufacturing leaders of change to design products that integrate our breakthrough green technologies. I became CEO in Q4 – November 2010 and have cut operating costs by nearly 70%. We are working more efficiently and are on track to see profits in Q3, 2011. We also intend to drive profits by moving away from a product company and focusing on moving to a licensing/royalty company we allow OMEs to manufacture products at a lower operating cost.

Disclosure: Cantech Letter’s Nick Waddell purchased shares of Pure Energy on March 2, 2011.



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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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