A former administrator for the US Environmental Protection Agency, Stephen Johnson (pictured). was appointed chair of a new advisory board at Tydrolyte, the US electrolyte manufacturing start-up, on November 27.
Johnson worked for the EPA between 2005 and 2009, during George W Bush’s tenure as US president, and was the first career scientist to lead the agency.
“Most people who have that job are political appointments, but he came from a scientific background,” Tydrolyte CEO Paul Bundschuh told BESB.
“He has a lot of respect and still has a lot of contacts in the EPA. He will be able to help us navigate through the regulatory pathways to make sure we don’t find any landmines.”
Tydrolyte is an electrolyte material that stems from sulfuric acid but is ‘radically different’ from sulfuric acid, Bundschuh said.
“It has an extremely low toxicity, and has been recognized as having a unique molecular structure. Johnson will be able to navigate us through avoiding unnecessary regulatory burdens; the cost burdens of things like liability insurance and remediation are real costs laid upon the manufacturer.”
Bundschuh said the company was in talks with the majority of large lead acid battery manufacturers in the US and Europe, and if tests were satisfactory he envisaged seeing the material in use by the end of 2019.
“It’s still early in the process but we are seeing broad interest,” he said.
“Since leaving the EPA I have focused my energies on solving problems I wasn’t able to solve at the agency,” said Johnson. “I am passionate about working with new technologies that can eliminate chemicals that are toxic to people and our planet, so I am pleased to assist Tydrolyte in its mission to replace sulfuric acid in lead batteries.”
Bundschuh said the new advisory board would welcome another member in January, ‘a well known person in the lead battery industry’.