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Soluna Holdings (formerly MTI) was founded in 1961 as a developer and manufacturer of energy efficient rotating machinery and instrumentation. Soluna has a rich history of technological breakthroughs, including gas-lubricated bearings, sensors, compressors, steam turbines, high-efficiency engines and fuel cells for industrial equipment and hand-held devices.
Today, Soluna Holdings is engaged in the design, manufacture, and sale of test and measurement instruments and systems through its subsidiary MTI Instruments Inc. It’s also in the cryptocurrency market with a strong partnership sand strategic acquisition strategy, bringing experience in high-tech operational excellence.
A HISTORY OF
MTI Incorporates and Launches Turbomachinery Business
In 1961, two engineers, Harry Apkarian and Beno Sternlicht, left General Electric to go out on their own. They scraped together $380,000 and in October of that year, Mechanical Technology Inc. opened its doors. The partners had two primary objectives, which together became known as the MTI Concept. The first was to provide technological advances to support American industry and defense agencies. The second was to develop marketable proprietary products from these technologies.
Invented helium blower with gas-lubricated bearings
- MTI’s first proposal, submitted to the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories in 1962, outlined plans for the development of a helium blower with hydrodynamic, gas-lubricated bearings.
- By 1966 MTI had developed and produced more gas-lubricated turbomachinery than all other US industrial corporations combined and was winning 80% of the contracts on which it bid.
- The Hydresil Fluid-Film Foil Bearing, introduced in the late 60s, represented a significant improvement over rigid-film bearings because of its tolerance of temperature extremes and suitability for gas, liquid or mixed-phase applications.
Introduction of vibration and displacement measurement instruments
- In 1964, the Instruments division was spun off and introduced the Fotonic Sensor, a noncontact fiber-optic instrument used for measuring vibration or displacement to millionths of an inch.
MTI joins with Carrier Corp to form Turbonetics and Partners with Ford on $100M Project
Joint venture with the Carrier Corporation – Turbonetics
- The Turbonetics division as started in 1970 as a joint venture with the Carrier Corporation and spun out of the Turbomachinery Division of MTI. This business line’s first product was the COMPACK Centrifugal Compressor which won the John C Vaaler Award from Chemical Processing magazine for its innovative design.
- During the 1970’s MTI’s Tubonetics division pioneered the development of a line of high-efficiency, energy-conserving steam turbines used in the oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, metals and mining, and pulp and paper industries.
Collaboration with Ford Motor Co. for Stirling Cycle Engine
- In 1978, MTI began work on the Stirling Cycle Engine, which offered exceedingly high efficiency and the ability to use of a variety of energy sources, including solar, nuclear, and solid, liquid and gaseous fuels. In the largest technology development program in MTI history, the company partnered with Ford Motor Co. on a $100 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to place a Stirling engine in an automobile and achieve a 30% improvement in fuel efficiency while maintaining performance.
MTI Spins off Turbonetics Energy and gets NASA contract for Stirling Engine
Turbonetics Energy spunoff and produces highly efficient steam turbine
- Turbonetics Energy Inc. was spun off in 1980 and the basis for its line of products was the Radial-Inflow Steam Turbine, introduced that year. This breakthrough in steam turbine technology, operating in the 500 to 5000 hp range, delivered 73% efficiency which significantly reduced operating costs.
Stirling Cycle Engine usage expands to NASA
- In 1988 MTI received a $15.4 million contract from NASA to develop a Stirling Engine for use in space.
MTI Partners to Develop Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Instruments Products Used on Space Shuttle
Instruments Division’s Fotonic Sensor used for Space Shuttle
- In 1990, a version of the Fotonic Sensor was developed for use on the Space Shuttle. Customer Rockwell International said the sensor achieved flawless performance on the engine test stand.
- The Instruments Division also eventually included the Accumeasure line, which uses capacitance to measure extremely small amounts of displacement. This continues to be one of the key product family offerings at our MTI Instruments subsidiary today with application in industries ranging from tires to computer disk-drives.
MTI teams with Detroit Edison to develop Hydrogen Fuel Cells
- With the metallurgical and energy conversion technologies developed for Stirling Cycle machinery in hand, the company pursued advanced research in the field of hydrogen fuel cells. It later teamed with Detroit Edison Electric Company to establish a joint venture called Plug Power to develop advanced fuel cell systems for residential and distributed energy applications.
Plug Power spun off with IPO
- In 1999, MTI spun off its Plug Power subsidiary in a successful IPO underwritten by Goldman Sachs and with investments by Southern California Gas Co. and GE Power Systems. Plug Power continues to operate today with significant sales of highly efficient hydrogen fuel cells for warehouse vehicle mobile applications.
MTI allies with SatCon Technology Corp on Alternative Energy
- MTI forms strategic alliance with SatCon Technology Corp, a manufacturer of power and energy management products for the telecommunications, semiconductor and aircraft industries
MTI Goes Mobile with Fuel Cells and Acquires Flywheel Energy Storage Systems
MTI Micro introduces Mobion micro fuel cell technology
- In June 2004, the MTI Micro division introduced breakthrough Mobion technology, demonstrating the first handheld entertainment system and PDA/smartphone powered by integrated micro fuel cell.
- In December 2004, MTI Micro launches first Mobion product integrated into Intermec Technologies RFID Tag readers – a milestone for the micro fuel cell industry.
MTI acquires Beacon Power Corp’s flywheel energy storage systems
- MTI acquires holdings of Beacon Power Corp, maker of flywheel energy storage systems designed to manage power quality and prevent power interruptions
MTI Advances Instruments Division with Laser and Capacitance Measurement Advances
MTI Instruments continues test and measurement innovations with laser measurement, Accumeasure D and thin capacitance probes:
- In 2011, MTI Instruments Inc. launched a new line of products, including Pro-2D laser triangulation scanners which provide high speed profile, displacement and dimensional information using state of the art optical design. In 2015, it introduced the Microtrak4 laser, specifically designed to target larger-volume automated assembly operations where higher data speeds, digital output and ease of integration is required.
- In 2013, MTI Instruments introduced the Accumeasure D series of products which established a new benchmark for performance for ultra-precise linear displacement measurement systems.
- In 2016, MTI Instruments introduced a paper thin capacitance probe that is non-magnetic which allows it to conform and be bonded in a thin gap and provide accurate measurement within surrounding magnetic fields. This and the Accumeasure D are designed to measure and monitor gaps in high power generators, wind turbines and other auxiliary equipment.
MTI Refocuses on the Energy Industry
MTI Invests in Soluna – forms EcoChain, Inc.
- MTI forms a new business unit, named EcoChain, Inc. The purpose of EcoChain is to develop and monetize crypto-currency mining facilities that can be powered by renewable energy.
- Simultaneous with the formation of EcoChain, MTI invested $500,000 in Soluna Technologies Ltd. and retains the ability to make ongoing investments in Soluna.