eSpinning Success

Georgia MBDA Business Center client gets $9 million to help shore up the nation’s clean hydrogen supply chain

Helping minority-owned and small businesses grow and thrive is the mission of the Georgia Minority Business Development Agency Business Center (Georgia MBC) at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. Despite the name, the mission extends outside the state’s borders, as well, offering assistance to businesses throughout the Southeast and around the country.

eSpin Technologies, a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based nanofiber manufacturer that has worked with the Georgia MBC for years, recently received a federal grant of $9 million to expand its business. The company currently produces nanofiber to create air filters and will branch out into the development and production of a novel separator that uses nanofiber technology for liquid alkaline electrolyzers, essential components in clean hydrogen.

The project is part of $750 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy that will help the United States reach its goal of reducing the cost of clean hydrogen, boosting the country’s supply chain around hydrogen, and ensuring the nation’s continued leadership in the hydrogen industry.

“The government’s strategy is that if we are going to go after hydrogen big time, and we are going to be manufacturing alkaline electrolyzers, then all the components that are used in those electrolyzers have to be made in the United States,” said Jayesh Doshi, founder and president of eSpin. “We got one award, which is to manufacture separators for alkaline electrolyzers. This is in a partnership with Georgia Tech, a University of California Berkeley professor, and two other companies. We will be the manufacturer of the material.”

eSpin was founded 25 years ago in Chattanooga and has 28 employees. The company was named national MBDA Minority Manufacturing Firm of the Year in 2021, when it shifted production to include nanofiber filters for facemasks following the COVID outbreak. Now it is shifting again into the energy sector.

“As the nation and the world move away from fossil fuels, research into new energy technologies is vital,” said Donna Ennis, operator representative for the Georgia MBDA Business Center and Southeast MBDA Business Growth Hub. “We are thrilled eSpin received this funding and know it will be instrumental in helping the United States gain clean energy independence.”

Georgia MBC will continue to work with eSpin as the company ramps up.

“This funding is definitely going to allow eSpin to grow and create a completely new product line,” Doshi said. “I look forward to working the Georgia MBC as we grow in this new direction.”

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About the Georgia MBDA Business Center

As part of a national network of 64 centers and special projects funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the Georgia MBDA Business Center helps socially or economically disadvantaged businesses obtain capital, access markets and business opportunities domestically and globally, increase profitability, and scale operations. By providing technical assistance, coaching, education, and contacts, the center has helped create more than 7,000 jobs, and achieve nearly $6.4 billion in contracts and finance, while remaining competitive economic engines in their respective markets. To learn more, visit georgiambdabusinesscenter.org.