Superconductor Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: SCON) shares skyrocketed on Wednesday after the company was recognized and awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Specifically, the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, on behalf of the Advanced Manufacturing Office, awarded the company with $4.5 million for its Next Generation Electric Machines program.
Although $4.5 million may not seem like a lot of money, this is huge for the company. Prior to Wednesday’s move, the market cap totaled only $6.66 million.
The company, STI, will collaborate with TECO-Westinghouse Motor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of North Texas to focus on improving the manufacturing process of superconductive wires to improve performance and yield while reducing cost at high enough temperatures where nitrogen can be used as the cryogenic fluid.
Overall, the advancement of these technologies has the potential to boost the competitiveness of American manufacturers and take the development of more efficient electric machines a giant step further. Not only can these improve industrial motors for efficiency, but the technologies can help companies save money over the long run.
Jeff Quiram, president and chief executive of STI, commented:
We believe that being selected first by our esteemed proposal partners and then winning the DOE award recognizes STI’s unique HTS manufacturing process and our ability to achieve high performance, cost efficiencies and commercial scale capacity. In addition, the significant wire improvement goals for this program will address our customers’ desire for increased infield magnetic performance and high performance/low cost wire for many applications, such as motors, generators, magnets, power cables and MRI machines. STI expects to transition from R&D to full scale production of motor- and generator-optimized wire during the three-year project plan, which will enable our superconducting technology to be introduced into Next Generation Electrical Machines utilizing high performance/low cost HTS wire.
Excluding Wednesday’s move, STI has underperformed the broad markets, with the stock down 36.5% year to date.
Shares of STI were trading up about 61% at $3.22 on Wednesday, with a 52-week trading range of $1.16 to $4.80.