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Kyle, Texas | Economic Development

Cleantech: Xtreme Power is re-energized

 Two of Austin’s most high-profile clean technology companies had a tough time of it this year, but one has a potential path to prosperity.

For starters, I reported this month that a German company acquired the assets of Kyle-based Xtreme Power Inc. earlier this year for $14 million.

Xtreme Power, founded in 2004, develops batteries, electronics and control systems that can harness energy. It once employed about 100 workers and received at least $70 million in investment capital before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January.

The fate of another cleantech darling — HelioVolt Corp. — has only gotten cloudier since it was forced to shutter its operations earlier this year after a major investor changed its business direction and withdrew its funding commitment.

HelioVolt, which was working on thin solar panel material, never filed for bankruptcy protection like Xtreme. Both received plenty of investment capital before foundering.

As for Xtreme Power, Germany-based Younicos Inc., a division of Younicos AG, believes it can get another crack at profitability by taking the company under its wing. At that time of its bankruptcy, CEO Alan Gotcher said the company had more than $100 million in orders in its pipeline and letters of intent worth another $65 million.

Younicos paid the $14 million in addition to assuming Xtreme Power’s $580,000 mortgage, according to an April 3 filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of West Texas.

Younicos hired 25 former Xtreme Power workers, including Gotcher. The company now considers the Kyle facility just south of Austin to be its North American headquarters,Hiersemenzel said.

Younicos develops software that monitors how batteries operate. That ability plays an important role in enabling technologists to integrate stored electricity with the existing electrical grid, Hiersemenzel said.

The acquisition of Xtreme Power makes Younicos the market leader, and the company employs 105 workers total, Hiersemenzel said.

In February, HelioVolt — once considered to be Austin’s strongest cleantech technology prospect — threw in the towel.

Founder B.J. Stanbery said the company was shutting down after SK Group, the company’s Korea-based partner, decided to stop investing in solar technologies. HelioVolt, which launched in 2001, received more than $233 million in investment capital while operating.

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