LIVERMORE -- It has a big name, but then the i-GATE National Energy Systems Technology Incubator has a big job.

The mission of the 15,000-square-foot hub, for which a grand opening was held Thursday in Livermore, is to stimulate large-scale, high-tech business development around the region's two national labs.

About 300 supporters, including U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, Governor's Office of Economic Development Director Joel Ayala and other dignitaries converged to commemorate the launch of the Incubator headquarters at 7693 Longard Road in Livermore.

The goal is to unleash the economic potential of green transportation, renewable-energy technologies and high-performance computing, with an initial focus on solar energy, fuel cells, batteries, electric vehicles, next-generation biofuels and solid-state lighting, or LEDS, officials said.

"Our concept continues to be the same. We are holistically working to create opportunities by spurring new technology businesses," said Livermore Economic Development Director Rob White.

Major stakeholders in the first-time, multi-agency collaboration include the Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories, UC Berkeley and UC Davis, and the cities of Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, Fremont, Tracy, Lathrop and West Sacramento.


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About one-third of the Incubator site is designated office space, while the remaining two-thirds is industrial warehouse space that can be used for manufacturing or laboratory work, White said.

ElectraDrive, a company that adds electric motors to gasoline trucks, was one of the first tenants to sign on, White added.

In addition to providing a physical space for companies to work, the site will also help coordinate public-private collaboration with academia and the Department of Energy, host seminars and networking events, and help facilitate business investment opportunities, officials said.

In February 2010, the region around the national labs was selected as one of six future "iHubs," or Innovation Hubs for Technology Development -- part of a new program of the state's Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

The goal of the effort was, and is, to create jobs and expand the economy by fostering partnerships among private industry, academia and the labs, with an emphasis on developing cleaner, cheaper, safer automotive fuels and engines. More than 20 agencies led to the creation of i-GATE, or Innovation for Green Advanced Transportation Excellence.

Since then, the initiative has grown to more than 40 partners.

Other iHub designations are in Orange County, Sacramento, the Coachella Valley and San Francisco's North Bay and Greater Mission Bay regions.

Contact Jeanine Benca at 925-847-2125.