Steve Hane: Engineering Ampulse's Growth
Steve Hane has a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering from the University of Minnesota, but for the past decade he has been engineering the growth of companies from the ground up.
The Minneapolis native was CEO of Picolight, Inc., which pioneered a key laser technology for high-speed optical interconnects. Hane is credited with orchestrating a company restart that dramatically increased revenue, profitability, and customer acceptance of Picolight’s optical technologies.
In 2007 Ampulse Corporation was founded as a virtual startup in Knoxville, TN, by IVP and Battelle Ventures. The venture-backed startup was based on the idea that ORNL’s textured foils for superconducting tapes could align silicon crystals in thin-film solar cells.
"I found out about Ampulse through an executive recruiter who connected me to Battelle Ventures," Hane said. "I took on a consulting role helping them develop Ampulse."
Today he is president and CEO of Ampulse Corporation of Golden, CO, which seeks to combine the sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiencies of crystalline-silicon solar panels with the convenience and cost advantages of thin-film deposition technologies. Ampulse licensed ORNL’s substrate technology and a novel chemical vapor deposition technique of DOE’s NREL in Golden.
The silicon film will measure about 5 percent of the thickness of silicon wafers currently in use, substantially decreasing solar panel manufacturing costs because much less silicon will be required. ORNL researcher Parans Paranthaman collaborates with Ampulse’s scientific team on developing two optimal oxide layers to transfer foil texture to silicon film
"He takes a methodical approach," Paranthaman said of Hane. "He is focused on making the technology succeed."
"We expect to bring the first products to market in mid-2011," Hane said. "We believe our products will compete well enough with products from South Korea, China, and Japan to merit partnership interest from some companies in devising a viable next-generation product strategy."
Spoken like a CEO with an engineering degree.