Sunpower Founder Honored With Patent Award

By
WOUB Staff Writer

Dateline
Updated Fri, May 4, 2012 9:22 am

An award meant to honor an Ohioan who has significantly impacted the state of Ohio through positive changes is going to the man behind an Athens-based power company. 

This year's Ohio Patent Legacy Award was given to William Beale, the founder of Sunpower Incorporated of Athens. Sunpower Inc. focuses on energy-efficient, environmentally friendly machines for power generation and cooling.
 
Beale was awarded in honor of his invention of the Free-Piston Stirling Engine.
 
He says his motivation for his patents comes naturally. He holds 26 patents altogether.
 
"I was just a kid playing with stuff I liked to do and there was no deep philosophical motivation. I was a mechanical engineer, I liked to play with hardware, so I started playing with it when I was a professor at OU," said Beale.
 
Despite his success, Beale says he is staying in Athens, but has received other job offers.
 
"The Chinese government. Quite a long time ago, a thug-ish looking individual said to me if I came to China he would give me 10,000 engineers to work with," said Beale.
 
Sunpower has been in Athens for nearly four decades, has doubled in employee numbers and facility size in the past four years, and has created more than 40 new jobs in the area.
     
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