State Funds Lure Greek Fuel Cell Company

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A six-year-old Greek company that designs and produces fuel cell membranes and components is opening a U.S. headquarters office in East Hartford because of a $1 million investment from Connecticut Innovations, and because of the fuel cell engineering talent in the state.

Connecticut Innovations receives state money to invest in businesses, or loan to businesses, that its staff believe have high growth potential.

The quasi-public agency announced the investment in Advent Technologies Thursday, saying the governor is eager to strengthen the state’s presence in fuel cells

Advent Technologies also landed $1.3 million in venture capital from Piraeus Capital Management, Systems Sunlight, Velti and individual angel investors.

The office will open with four or five full-time employees and two to three part-timers. It is continuing its research in Greece, but the press release said it will be hiring researchers in Connecticut, and will manufacture in the state. It previously had a U.S. research presence in Boston.

The membranes that Advent designs can hold up in higher temperatures than some fuel cells, and the company suggests one use could be in portable fuel cells that could recharge night-vision goggles, computers or radios in the field.

“We are very excited about the completion of our recent financial round led by Connecticut Innovations, which has allowed us to commercialize our technology and relocate our headquarters to the U.S.,” said Advent CEO Vasilis Gregoriou, Ph.D.

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