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Mystery Surrounds WireTough Cylinders

by Lewis Loflin

This page being updated revised January 2022.

Their website is

To quote their website:

WireTough is based in Bristol, VA, where it has been manufacturing its first generation of tanks for CNG fuel tanks of vehicles, since 2010 and has thousands of tanks in service.

I was critical of this deal when it came out due to refusal of government agencies to release information. But the cost is high for so few jobs - if any.

To note: "WireTough Cylinders is funded by CIT GAP Funds" in 2012. Cost $2.2 million.

$521,500 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

Virginia Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). Another $200,000.

Washington County Virginia (operating behind closed doors) giving them $38,000 to buy a used fork lift?

To quote,

"Wiretough Cylinders will receive (another?) $2m to demonstrate a low-cost high-pressure hydrogen storage vessel using a steel wire overwrap."


But something doesn't add up. claims they have 5 employees as of 2022. They promised in three years to "hire" 18 people? Another source says 11-50, I don't buy it and refer only to US jobs - we paid for them.

To quote,

Wiretough Cylinders, LLC is a limited liability company (LLC) located at 14570 Industrial Park Rd in Bristol, Virginia that received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $21,500.00 in April, 2020.

The company has reported itself as a female owned business, and employed at least three people during the applicable loan loan period.

Source^. Quote, "jobs retained 3."


Import Genius reports "EMPTY HIGH PRESSURE SEAMLESS GAS CYLINDER" being shipped into the US. Date: ARRIVAL DATE: 2021-06-01 Source^.

To quote,

Jobse (CEO long gone) also noted the market opportunity for the company with last year's executive order signed by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell that sets out his state’s alternative fuel plan...

Source^. lists Wiretough Cylinders as:

Business Type	23 - Minority Owned Business
27 - Self Certified Small Disadvantaged Business
2X - For Profit Organization
LJ - Limited Liability Company
QZ - Subcontinent Asian (Asian-Indian) American Owned

What? Reads like an affirmative action playbook. Good for government benefits. Source^.

To quote another source^:

Categorized under High-Energy Particle Physics Equipment. Our records show it was established in 2010 and incorporated in VA. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of 355588 and employs a staff of approximately 2.

They are listed as some kind of government contractor. Source^. In fact 75 companies in Bristol are listed as state contractors.

The Washington County Virginia Comprehensive Plan (circa 2015) lists only 4 employees at Wiretough Cylinders. Source^.

Originally published circa 2012.

WireTough Cylinders is another example "capitalism" paid for by tax dollars. The research was taxpayer funded and the products they are supposed to produce are viable only if further government meddling creates a market for them. And, oh yes, China doesn't undercut them.

According to their website ( To quote,

...With NASA R&D funding and university collaboration, key technologies were developed, including a damage tolerant composite for lightweight field armor application. A patent is pending. Also developed was a light weight, wire reinforced pressure vessel for hydrogen storage at 10,000+ psi.

WireTough Cylinders, LLC, is located in the beautiful town of Bristol, Virginia in Washington County. Officially incorporated in 2010, the Company acknowledges the financial and organizational support from the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Foundation.

And what was that "financial and organizational support from the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Foundation"? It was a $521,500 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission that was written up as "research" when it seems the real goal was to provide backdoor funding for WireTough Cylinders LLC in my opinion. So they have "plans" to invest $1.6 million over three years and "hire" 18 people? One would think that since 2003 they would have hired somebody for the amount of taxpayer largess they've been given.

To buy these cylinders visit According to them a Type 1 150 liter, 13.5 gal. cylinder costs $1,620 and weighs 369 lbs. 90% of gas cylinders world wide are Type 1. A Type 2 148 liter, 12.3 gal. tank from WireTough Cylinder costs $1,620 and weighs 267 lbs. A high pressure cylinder Type 1 from China cost from $100-$300. A similar price difference probably exists for Type 2 cylinders. WireTough is supposed to ship the first units December 2011. I really hope this latest "taxpayer investment" works this time.

Update 2022: I checked cylinders and I saw no Wiretough type product. The units they sell are wrapped in composite fiber.

The rest of this is quoted from their website and the Tobacco Commission. Can I see a list of those jobs WireTough Cylinders LLC?

In late 2010, the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved the funding of research and development for WireTough Cylinders allowing them to begin the pilot project operations in Southwest Virginia and to achieve the needed regulatory approval. The company has intellectual property from a pending patent application for the production of a cutting edge cylinder style. Additionally, the general type of cylinder they are producing is of a type with very little domestic competition.

What about China? While it seems they can produce a superior product, China produces good products at far less cost. This is how they are destroying the domestic wind and solar industries. This is the grant number from the Virginia Tobacco Commission underwriting this so-called "startup."

#2130 Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Tank Research & Development

Commonwealth Energy Fund (CEF)

CEF is another pseudo-government agency used to disburse pork dollars to the politically connected. (2/2/2012) has 'invested' another $200,000 in this company. This article points out how government is poised to create an industry that would never fly if left to real market forces. To quote,

The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced today its Commonwealth Energy Fund (CEF) has invested $200,000 in Bristol, Va.-based WireTough Cylinders, LLC...

CIT President and CEO Pete Jobse said, "WireTough's innovative fuel-efficient CNG storage tanks demonstrate the economical technology needed to in order to reduce our dependency on natural resources. With our investment, WireTough will become the forefront of transportation manufacturing."

Jobse also noted the market opportunity for the company with last year's executive order signed by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell that sets out his state's alternative fuel plan. During that signing ceremony, McDonnell said, "As we continue on the path toward making Virginia the 'Energy Capital of the East Coast,' it is important that we pursue all practicable and cost-effective options to promote the use of alternative fuel vehicles. Increased use of alternative fuel vehicles holds the potential to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, support the expansion of private-sector businesses and create new jobs here in the Commonwealth."

The WireTough team jointly holds over 30 U.S. patents and several new designs in aerospace, steel, and tire areas. WireTough's technical goal is to reduce weight further by full wrap method and to develop 10,000 PSI hydrogen tanks.

If they hold so many patents then why are the taxpayers funding their research for more patents? When does this ever end? Is there any real private investment in this company?


Ref. CIT GAP Funds Invests in WireTough Cylinders, LLC of Bristol, VA

CIT website is

CIT GAP Funds could lose millions in funding

Bill Flook Staff Reporter- Washington Business Journal Mar 9, 2012

The state nonprofit fund that supports Virginia tech companies is facing steep cuts from the General Assembly, setting up a potentially jarring financial reduction after a banner year. The House and Senate have cut Gov. Bob McDonnell's funding proposal for the Herndon-based Center for Innovative Technology and its GAP Funds program, though the budget has yet to be finalized.

The CIT GAP Funds is in the middle of a record stretch. Since July, the group has doled out funds to more than 20 startups - topping any year since its 2005 founding. About half of those deals closed since the beginning of this year. That's in large part due to record funding. This fiscal year, the group has had $6 million at its disposal: $4 million in state appropriations and $2 million in stimulus cash from the Department of Energy...

McDonnell proposed in his two-year budget to keep CIT's funding level at $4 million for both fiscal 2013 and 2014, but both the House and Senate have taken their own, more tight-fisted route.

The two-year spending plan put forth by the GOP-controlled House would put about $3 million for each of the next two years into CIT Gap Funds. The Senate's plan is more complicated. It would grant $4 million to the fund in fiscal 2013 but eliminate funding in the second year. That could change, however, depending on whether the $1.2 trillion in automatic federal budget cuts are triggered in 2013...

Automatic federal budget cuts have in fact been triggered and as of March 2013 we don't know what is going to happen. While Republican rail against Solyndra and other silly political deals, they have no problem with taxpayer funding of their friends and associates. As for WireTough Cylinders they have dropped off the radar since their public funding.