By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDBIZNews
Vorbeck Materials Corp., a Howard County nanotechnology company, will open a manufacturing facility on the Eastern Shore, a move that will eventually create 50 jobs, the state and company announced Wednesday.

Vorbeck, of Jessup, will buy a state-owned, 42,000-square-foot building in Pocomoke City for the project. The new employees will be hired over the next three years, according to the company.

“Maryland has been a terrific location for us to start and grow our business,” Vorbeck CEO John Lettow said. “We are excited by this opportunity in Pocomoke City. Along with our headquarters in Howard County, we look forward to continued expansion and to creating new jobs in innovation and manufacturing in Maryland.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley said Vorbeck’s decision to start in Maryland and grow in the state reinforces the state’s leadership in high-tech sectors.

“It is exciting to see a cutting-edge, innovative company like Vorbeck creating high quality jobs on the Eastern Shore,” the governor said.

Founded in 2006, Vorbeck’s work centers on graphene, a lattice of carbon atoms that has applications in communications, energy, transportation and beyond. Vorbeck uses graphene to make conductive ink for printing components for the electronics industry and to develop high-performance lithium ion batteries.

According to the company, smartphones using Vorbeck’s battery technology will charge in 10 minutes and last a full 24 hours. The same technology would quadruple the range of electric cars that now get 100 miles out of 10 to 12 hours of charging.

In February, Vorbeck was named one of America’s Next Top Energy Innovators by the U.S. Department of Energy. R&D Magazine recognized the company this month for developing one of the top 100 most important scientific and technological products or advances of the year.

“The addition of this innovative company — and make no mistake, they are garnering national and international attention for their technological advances — is a key component in strengthening our community by securing skilled jobs for our workforce in the [science, technology, engineering and math fields],” said Worcester County Commission President James C. “Bud” Church.

As part of Vorbeck’s move, Maryland will defer payments and interest on the sale of the building if the company meets hiring goals. Vorbeck has received $650,000 in investments and other funding from the Department of Business and Economic Development and may be eligible for more in its new facility, including the One Maryland Tax Credit and the Job Creation Tax Credit.

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