The Team: Bringing executive experience from EnerG2, our Founders know the technology, and know how to make innovation a commercially practical enterprise
Eric (Rick) Luebbe
Leadership at EnerG2
Rick has led EnerG2 as CEO and Co-founder since 2003 through all its stages of growth. Initially focused on developing the technology platform, Rick and the founding team explored technical and commercial opportunities in hydrogen and natural gas storage before officially launching the company in 2008 as the world's premier source for next-generation carbons for batteries and capacitors. Following quickly with a large DOE grant in 2009, Rick led the company through the design and build of its full scale manufacturing facility. With world-class manufacturing capability, and novel technological approaches, Rick led the push into new product spaces establishing commercial sales for ultracapacitors and lead-acid batteries. Most recently, Rick initiated the spin-out of a new company, Group14 Technologies, focused on materials for Li-ion batteries. Throughout the growth of EnerG2, Rick's primary focus has been on recruiting, developing, and leading the EnerG2 team. With this highest quality team of executives, scientists, engineers, and operators, Rick navigated EnerG2 through the challenges and opportunities of the Cleantech bubble and burst, establishing EnerG2 as one of the preeminent global suppliers of advanced battery technologies.
Beginning his career as an Army aviation officer, Rick led an aeroscout platoon in Desert Storm, where he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Air Medals in recognition for performance in combat operations against the Iraqi Republican Guard. Rick later flew Apaches as commander of an Attack Helicopter Company. Rick brought start-up experience to the team as the co-founder and CEO of Hubspan, one of the most successful integrators of web-based business-to-business transactions. At Hubspan, he raised the company’s first two rounds of funding and developed and closed its flagship customer. Rick also brings experience as management consultant with Booz Allen, where he specialized in operations, manufacturing efficiency, and developing and implementing lean manufacturing.
Rick earned a BA in Biology from Cornell University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
“In batteries, energy is stored in chemical bonds. Materials determine all the important characteristics of those bonds -- how much energy goes in and comes out, how easily, how safely, and at what cost. Rapidly evolving understanding of materials, especially at the nanoscale, will create our near-term opportunities for breakthroughs in energy storage.”
"There are tremendous inefficiencies between the energy we generate and the energy we use in all facets of our lives. Until we invent point-of-use micro-generation, energy storage is the only solution to these inefficiencies. The current technology trends are only introducing more and more things that need energy to be useful. In virtually every case, the usefulness of these new technologies is limited by energy storage. Imagine a car that will run 12 hours on a charge or a phone that fits in your ear. All the technology exists today for those devices except the batteries. Energy storage is now the largest impediment to technology evolution. Radical innovations in energy storage will trigger a technology revolution."
Henry "Rick" Costantino
Leadership at EnerG2
Under Rick’s R&D leadership, EnerG2 has advanced its carbon nanotechnology platform from innovation to commercialization. This effort continues to generate substantial intellectual property, with 15 patents in the US alone over the last five years, with more pending. In parallel with building his elite scientific team, Rick also promoted EnerG2’s product development infrastructure, with strong emphasis on customer satisfaction. As a result, EnerG2’s carbons are a critical component in today’s industry-leading energy storage devices, such as high-performing ultracapacitors and advanced lead acid batteries.
Rick has over 20 years experience in developing stable, high-performing products that are rationally designed at the molecular level. His broad experience spans across chemical and biopharmaceutical industries, including both large and startup companies. Previously in the pharmaceutical arena, Rick ‘s inventions and development efforts have resulted in multiple marketed therapeutic products. To his name, Rick has 30 U.S. patents (with more pending), plus over 50 publications, including peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters and scientific reviews. In addition, he has co-edited a seminal book regarding lyophilization. Immediately prior to joining EnerG2, Rick served as Chief Scientific Officer of Delivery for a Puget Sound area biotech company, with management of multiple divisions totaling nearly 50 people.
Rick has a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from M.I.T.
"For my entire career, I have been fascinated with the storage and delivery of high-performance materials. Previously, I developed therapeutic peptides and proteins, and I quickly realized that therapeutic benefit critically depended on proper formulation, storage and delivery. Interestingly, I find that these same basic principles relate to development of new energy technologies. Human civilization depends on the safe, reliable and renewable harnessing of our planet’s energy. While fantastical only several generations ago, energy storage and distribution systems are integral to our modern world. Such impressive progress-- from the first copper-zinc-based voltaic piles to modern carbon-based ultracapacitors -- is fueled by advancements in material science and engineering."
"The capability now exists to design materials at the nano-scale, affording new and exiting opportunities for the next generation of energy storage materials. EnerG2 is committed to this vision, and has already developed nanoengineered carbons for advanced lead acid batteries and ultracapacitors. Building on these achievements, we are committed to our company’s next, bold endeavor -- the advancement of high-performing anode materials for lithium ion batteries. To this end, we are developing silicon and carbon composites with broad applications from consumer electronics to all-electric vehicles. These new materials are designed to deliver higher energy density at a lower cost per energy storage unit, resulting in lighter, smaller, and cheaper Li ion batteries. The benefits envisioned are as numerous as they are palpable: lower energy costs, reduction of harmful air emissions, and an increased energy independence from the earth’s fossil fuels."
Leadership at EnerG2
Concentrating on the synthesis and processing of high-performance carbon materials, Aaron is a global expert on the move to engineered materials solutions for clean technology. Aaron co-founded EnerG2 and has written and spoken extensively on nanotechnology topics. He has led the company’s technology development from inception at the labs of the University of Washington in 2003 to a venture-backed business today. Aaron is also the custodian of EnerG2’s Carbon Technology Platform and provides guidance and technical direction for the company, including the strategy and execution of EnerG2’s intellectual property strategy.
Prior to Aaron’s focus on nanotechnology, he was a project manager and engineer for Boeing’s Design for Environment / Manufacturing initiative. He also worked in a manufacturing engineering capacity on all of Boeing’s commercial airplanes. Aaron currently serves on the Board of Advisors at the University of Washington’s Materials Science and Engineering Department.
Aaron received a BS from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a PhD in Materials Science from the University of Washington.
“Energy storage materials have an enormous impact on our ability to store energy effectively. Renewable energy generation capability is advancing more rapidly than energy storage technology, making energy storage a huge bottleneck in our migration from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The only way to continue on a positive trajectory is to break the energy storage bottleneck. Materials research has developed to the point of individual assembly of molecules and atoms, so our ability to fine tune exactly the way these materials interface is continually advancing and growing. This continual effort puts materials research, development and manufacturing at the forefront of our global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy."
"I’m fascinated by the concept that, within my lifetime or at least my children’s lifetimes, if we keep working hard to address these challenges with renewable generation and effective storage, energy generation and storage costs (including environmental costs) may be so low that energy could become virtually free. What mankind would do with such ubiquitous low cost energy is a very interesting concept and something that could enable a complete shift in the trajectory of our planet."