Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems in Jackson Township has a new majority owner and a new name.
South Korean conglomerate LG Corp. paid $45 million for a 51 percent stake in the Rolls-Royce venture, which has been renamed LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc.
The high-tech firm, founded with Ohio’s Third Frontier funds, will stay put at its location in Stark State College and likely expand, said Mark Fleiner, who had been chief executive officer of the Rolls-Royce business.
LG Fuel Cell Systems will operate under two CEOs now, Fleiner and In-Jae Chung, who is head of LG’s electronics unit. Chung is already in Ohio and will move here, Fleiner said.
Chung is an expert in commercializing technology, Fleiner said.
“Rolls-Royce decided it needed another investor that brought more than just money but people and capability,” Fleiner said. “The investment of $45 million is going into the business here in Canton.”
The infusion of money will bring additional people and resources to the joint venture, he said.
The new ownership structure means that LG Fuel Cell Systems can use the expertise and capabilities of both Rolls-Royce and LG, he said.
The success is a validation of the Third Frontier plan that provided grants to high-tech, startup businesses, Fleiner said. Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems started in 2006 at Stark State’s Fuel Cell Prototyping Center. The company is developing solid oxide fuel cells for stationary commercial, industrial and electric utility use, not for cars and trucks.
LG will continue in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance Program.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org