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Ex-Honeywell engineer's invention could power moving EVs and aircraft. Could it be weaponized, too?

Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune on

Published in Business News

Christopher Fuller scored a breakthrough at his Honeywell lab in Plymouth, Minnesota, devising a way to transmit wireless power over long distances.

Honeywell International estimated it could wrangle $1 billion in sales from Fuller's discovery. EVs could be charged on the go — so could airborne cargo drones. A Honeywell executive, in an internal email, called Fuller "the inventor of the next multi-industry disruptor."

But Fuller, who is suing Honeywell under Minnesota's whistleblower act, claims his discovery also could be used to make a radio wave-based "directed energy" weapon capable of devastating electronic systems — on a citywide scale — many miles away. "Typically weapons now are much shorter range," he said. "This vastly increases the range."

Fuller went to the federal government last year, concerned that Honeywell was downplaying the technology's weapons potential so it could sell commercial wireless power products abroad. He feared the company was running afoul of U.S. export restrictions on military technology.

The U.S. State Department looked at his claims but said it doesn't comment on investigations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which also declined to comment for this story, contacted Fuller late last year about the technology.

Honeywell International said in a statement that Fuller's claims are "baseless and without merit."

 

"We take all our compliance obligations extremely seriously — and as we have in this matter, we adhere to and comply with U.S. export laws and regulations," the statement said.

The company declined to comment further for this story.

Honeywell, once headquartered in Minneapolis but now based in Charlotte, North Carolina, still has significant operations in the Twin Cities area, including a Plymouth aerospace campus where Fuller worked. He quit earlier this year, claiming Honeywell made his work intolerable after he reported his concerns to the government.

Fuller, who has found another job, claims in his lawsuit that Honeywell retaliated against him, violating the whistleblower statute.

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