Copyright © 2012, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
Over the past couple of weeks, Kent Faith, founder and CEO of SpectrumFX, was awarded OCAST Technology Business Finance Program financing, received his first two purchase orders, and presented SpectrumFX’s unique technology to a 100-plus person international audience.
He also put an 1,800-degree blowtorch to his hands and arms without suffering the slightest burn.
Faith’s skin was coated with Firebane, a fire-suppression agent that suppresses all types of fires. Tulsa-based SpectrumFX is licensed to sell Firebane to the civil aviation industry and is targeting other commercial markets.
“No other fire extinguishing agent does what we do,” Faith said.
“We can provide a unique solution to environments of extreme danger to life and property from lithium battery and molten metal fires, including airplanes, NASCAR events, data centers and the oil industry.”
Halon, the most commonly used fire-extinguishing agent in aviation, doesn’t completely extinguish molten metal fires, depletes the ozone and can cause human illness.
The onboard protocol for commercial aircraft is to use halon supplemented by a nonalcoholic liquid, such as water, coffee, or soda, to extinguish the fire.
“We have developed the LIFE kit (Lithium Fire Extinguishing) for commercial aviation, which can supplement halon to fully extinguish lithium battery fires,” says Faith, a commercial pilot who understands firsthand the potential risk and impact of fire incidents inside a jet.
Almost all personal electronic devices carried by passengers are powered by lithium batteries, so there are hundreds of these batteries on most commercial aircraft.
“Firebane puts out the fire in seconds, is a biodegradable green agent and is safe to human life,” Faith says. “The EPA has qualified Firebane to replace halon. We are nontoxic and won’t even require a hazardous material label to ship.”
SpectrumFX has received orders from an Oklahoma-based domestic airline and a major international carrier. The firm has a savvy strategy for engaging a spectrum of Oklahoma resources available to entrepreneurs — from the Technology Business Finance Program to the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup to the Helmerich Research Center at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa.
A native Oklahoman, Faith has also added his first employee, his son, Ross, who has juris doctor and MBA degrees.
“I’m from Oklahoma,” Faith says. “My grandfather was born in Indian Territory. It is important to our family that we started this company in Oklahoma and that our first customer is an airline in Oklahoma. We intend to stay here and grow, and that’s pretty neat.”
Rex Smitherman is interim president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Smitherman at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.
DID YOU KNOW? The FAA estimates that lithium battery fires onboard cargo planes will cost $39.5 million per year in damage.