Updated March 3 at 5:03pm

Powering research out of this world

By Rhonda Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Yardney Technical Products sends its lithium-ion batteries far and wide, including two that landed on Mars in August 2012 on NASA’s Curiosity rover. More

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Powering research out of this world

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Yardney Technical Products sends its lithium-ion batteries far and wide, including two that landed on Mars in August 2012 on NASA’s Curiosity rover.

“It’s an electric vehicle on Mars and our batteries are powering the vehicle,” said Yardney President and Chief Operating Officer Vince Yevolli. “The vehicle is about the size of a Mini Cooper.”

“Those batteries do most of the work. They power the motors that driver the rover. The batteries power the equipment for the experiments,” said Yevolli.

That landing of its batteries on the Curiosity was nothing new for Yardney.

“The last four missions to Mars have all had our batteries on them,” said Yevolli.

The batteries are recharged with a nuclear isotope, kind of like a tiny nuclear power plant, Yevolli explained.

Yardney also produces a silver zinc battery.

One of Yardney’s lithium-ion batteries is used in the Juno spacecraft bound for Jupiter, and 10 of the company’s silver zinc batteries were used in the rocket that launched the spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in 2011, according to the company’s website.

The innovative products at Yardney, a subsidiary of Ener-Tek International Inc., cover a broad spectrum in size and use.

Yardney has designed, developed and produced batteries for the B-52 bomber and Global Hawk aircraft, an unmanned aerial vehicle that does surveillance, Yevolli said.

The company also produces batteries for hearing aids.

That kind of innovation was welcomed in Rhode Island with incentives. The communication began several years ago when Yardney began considering a move over the state line.

The company was downsizing from a 260,000-square-foot facility in Pawcatuck, Conn.

“It was an old mill. It had kind of worn out its useful life,” Yevolli said. Looking at the business climate of Rhode Island, he said the taxes were about the same as Connecticut.

Finding a suitable, 140,000-square-foot facility in East Greenwich was the impetus that pushed the company over the border, he said. Yardney had to do a lot of work to make it meet the company’s needs.

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