Could be boon for renewable energy industry, involves superconductivity
When the Advocate Tribune spoke with the new owner of the former H.A. Hagg building, Einar Agustsson, in September, the CEO of R&D and investment company, Skajaquoda, was hesitant to provide any details about a technological breakthrough that the company thinks could be revolutionary to a number of industries but in particular that of Renewable Energy.
This past week the shroud of secrecy was lifted a hair with a company press release that revealed Skajaquodas’ intentions to, “launch a research program to develop a cost-effective means to maintain superconductivity for possible use in generators, power distribution, energy storage and many other applications.”
For those unfamiliar, superconductors transport electricity without resistance so that there is no loss of energy due to friction or distances. Skajaquoda, says the release, believes the technology can be utilized in the building of superconducting gearless wind turbines and energy storage for wind energy.
“A very appealing aspect of this new program is what will happen when the product becomes commercially available,” the statement reads. “...we cannot even imagine today the scientific and technological uses that will emerge as a result. Furthermore the successful implementation of this technology will greatly reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants.”
While Skajaquoda won’t let on about any further details at this time, Agustsson has said that the company has achieved some extremely positive preliminary results that, if validated, will suggest the discovery of a far more cost-effective means of maintaining superconductivity than is currently available.
“This would also explain a lot about how the Meissner effect works and how materials become superconductive” said Agustsson.
Should all go as hoped, the potential earnings in Skajaquodas future could be off the charts. However, at this point, Agustsson isn’t projecting the product to enter the market until another four or five years.
Agustsson purchased the 144,000 sq. ft. H.A. Hagg building on April 11 through an E-Bay auction for $70,411.11. Since then he has begun rehabilitating and retrofitting the structure into Skajaquodas headquarters.
A 31-year-old native of Reykjavik, Iceland, Agustsson is the founder and CEO of Skajaquoda, a corporation that seeks to be a global leader in socially responsible sustainable investments and projects, according to the company website.
If there were an appropriate starting point on the path that has led Agustsson to Clarkfield, one might look to the collapse of Iceland’s economy in 2008, as it forced the young entrepreneur to look for greener pastures.
Agustsson would spend a year in London, England before setting up shop in the United States amongst Delaware’s favorable legal environment for startups. Here, he would be headquartered for three years before electing to relocate the company to Clarkfield.
Agustsson noted that the move was inspired by Minnesota’s favorable R&D environment, and that in H.A. Hagg he had found the perfect building within an ideally sized and safe setting that boasts good schools.
“It’s going to need a lot of work, but I think the school itself is a great fit,” he said. “It’s a beautiful building. I plan to take good care of it.”
Agustsson has been occupying a makeshift office in the west-wing of the school where he has been busy overseeing initial building renovations and other activities associated with the transition.
Over the course of the year, he expects to staff the building with 10 local jobs, made up mostly of engineers. Eventually, he wants to have enough staff and equipment to justify use of the entirety of the facility. The majority of capital expenses are expected to derive from this equipment.
The plan, Agustsson says, is to renovate and refurbish the west-wing of the building and then slowly work their way over to the more repair-needy east side. Agustsson foresees the east wing gym being utilized as a R&D laboratory. The west wing gym will continue to be leased to Yellow Medicine East for athletic events.
While the west wing should be ready to go in the next 12 months, the east-wing is more likely two to three years away.