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Advanced Battery Buildup

by Marc S. Reisch
June 8, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 23

Millions of dollars in public funding, including federal economic stimulus funds, continue to drive plans to ramp up lithium-ion batteries for a new generation of electric passenger vehicles. French battery maker Saft is applying for $100 million in federal, state, and local funding to build a $200 million lithium-ion battery plant in Jacksonville, Fla., that would employ 800 people. The factory is in addition to a $200 million plant Saft wants to build in Michigan with partner Johnson Controls using $149 million in state incentives. Boston-Power plans to build a lithium-ion battery factory in Auburn, Mass., that will employ 600 people. The company is seeking $100 million in federal aid and $9 million from the state. BASF wants to build North America's largest cathode material facility for lithium-ion batteries in Elyria, Ohio, contingent on receipt of a federal grant. Anticipating approval of funding, BASF has signed a global license to produce a composite cathode material developed by Argonne National Laboratory. The lithium- and manganese-rich metal oxide cathode is said to extend operating time, lifetime, and safety of lithium-ion batteries. Other lithium-ion battery makers already staking a claim to public funds include LG Chem, A123Systems, and KD Advanced Battery Group—a joint venture among Dow Chemical, Kokam America, and Townsend Ventures that plans a $665 million plant in Michigan (C&EN, April 20, page 9).


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