GE Beams $4M Into Advanced Electron Tech

GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of conglomerate GE, says this morning that it is investing $4 million into startup Advanced Electron Beams, which uses electron beam technology to kick-start chemical reactions and break down chemical structures more efficiently than thermal and chemical methods. The Wilmington, Massachusetts-based startup says its electron beam emitter is smaller and less expensive than the traditional options and can help companies in the manufacturing and packaging industries cut energy consumption — in some cases between 60 and 90 percent — reducing emissions and lowering costs.

GE has already been testing the company’s electron beam emitter (the AEB Emitter) in its research center and has drummed up at least nine possible applications, including sterilizing food and other goods for packaging, treating materials (like solar photovoltaics in manufacturing), curing substances for printing and coating, pollution abatement and hydrogen production. While the $4 million from GE will no doubt help the company prove its technology on a larger scale, access to GE’s research will be crucial to move this technology into more manufacturing methods.

Advanced Electron Beams says it already has 40 customers using the tech, and GE’s latest round adds on to the startup’s list of investors, which already includes the likes of Atlas Venture, General Catalyst and RockPort Capital. AEB’s innovation of a smaller, simpler, and less expensive emitter was developed by company founder Tovi Avnery. The technology has the potential to help clean up factories and lower the cost of manufacturing in subtle but important ways, and we see this technology making it big when more carbon regulations set in. AEB’s CEO Mitch Tyson says the company’s vision is to provide “the sustainable factory of the future.”