Who are you?
Blackburn Energy, Inc.
What is your business?
Blackburn believes that providing low cost technology that enables people to produce power can and will change the world for the better. Our first product, RelGen (Renewable Electric Generation), addresses the increasing need for inexpensive, clean, and “quiet” electric power in long-haul sleeper trucks. RelGen is the only charging system that can fully charge 4 batteries in under 4 hours. This results in enhancing driver comfort (air conditioning, computer & gaming etc), while increasing fuel efficiency, reducing maintenance and resulting in a reduction of up to 17 tons of carbon per truck per year by helping to eliminate overnight idling.
Is there a story behind your business?
Blackburn’s founder, Andrew Amigo, grew up in a small family construction business where he learned about the power generated from the speed and weight of a fully loaded truck - that force makes it very hard to slow down.
Years later, Andrew sat in traffic on the Mass Pike on his way to his job at a venture group where he had been working in the fields of electric cars and telematics. As he day dreamed he watched the drive shaft spin on the truck driving beside him and he was struck with an idea of how to harvest energy on a truck in a unique new way. He started taking notes right there in his car.
What problem(s) are you/your business trying to help solve?
In the U.S. alone, 80% of all products are delivered on long-haul trucks. This requires over 650,000 truck drivers to sleep approximately 250 nights in their truck cabs. A sleeper cab is approximately 60” by 80” and contains all their overnight comforts. Power helps makes this space more livable with proper air temperature control, and overnight conveniences like computer, gaming systems, phone charging, and even refrigerators and microwaves. Without power this truck cab can turn into an unbearable overheated, isolated hot box. Idling is one of the primary methods for powering air-conditioning and charging batteries while parked overnight. Idling burns almost a gallon of fuel an hour and creates more than 17 tons of carbon per truck. To make the challenge worse, 30 states have adopted no-idling while parked laws. Auxiliary batteries are often installed as an alternative to idling, however, current charging methods make it close to impossible to fully charge the batteries and therefore they run out of power during the night. Blackburn’s ReglGen is the only system that can fully charge these batteries.
How is your company changing the world?
Our goal is to build a product, a real product that solves a real-world problem and improves the lives of people. We want to improve the lives of millions of truck drivers around the world. On the social entrepreneurship front we plan to move on to distributed energy grids in the emerging world using the current roads and trucks delivering supplies to even the most remote areas. This power can then be used for computers in schools, filtering systems for water, refrigeration for medical clinics and much more.
Why do you like being a part of the bigger CI Works puzzle?
CI Works is a community of companies in a similar position to Blackburn- scaling up rather than starting up that you find at most facilities. This requires both office and manufacturing space. We often get help or borrow equipment from other people in the building and in turn, they’ll borrow something from us. We’ll tell each other about grants and opportunities for investment. It’s a true community. You’ve got the geographic value of where we are and you have the specific value of this particular facility.
What do you hope your company’s next milestone will be?
Selling our first 100 units followed by the potential to address the needs of the military market.
What’s cool about your team?
We are a small versatile team along with amazing 3rd party resources and suppliers. Everyone is working toward a common goal of maximizing our ability to address our customer’s needs. It's a team of problem solvers who enjoy collaborating and actually rarely view anything as a problem, but rather a chance to work on a challenge.
Are there any causes you are passionate about?
Manufacturing in the US and preferably MA. Everything we have on our truck was prototyped within 20 miles of here and is now currently made within 50 miles of here.
What is your biggest fear?
Our biggest challenge is to identify companies that are early adopters of new technology and convince them to try our product. Cash flow is critical in all scaling companies and we are no exception.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
The proudest accomplishment was realized the moment we had our first commercial product in the box ready to ship. While having great concepts or even prototypes is rewarding, you are still a development team in a startup. When we released our first commercial production it required a whole support structure and we had to build a commercial organization ready to scale-up. This was the moment when every individual effort became part of a true success team.
What is something most people don’t know about you/your brand?
Blackburn is actually a licensed trucking company with the DOT. We have our own truck. Our system is on our truck and has been running for over 18 months and our founder Andrew Amigo is licensed to drive an Class A 18 wheeler.
What advice do you have for other small businesses?
Find a community of like-minded businesses teams with whom you can share experiences and resources.
Blackburn RelGen Short Product Summary:
Blackburn Energy Global Impact: