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August 5th, 2009

DOE announces battery grants

Published on August 5th, 2009 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

There should be great joy in the United States’ materials engineering community today. The DOE just released an awardee list of advanced battery manufacturing, deployment, testing and recycling projects it is funding to the tune of $2.4 billion. Projects have been awarded in the following categories:

  • Cell, battery and materials manufacturing facilities;
  • Advanced battery supplier manufacturing facilities;
  • Advanced lithium-ion battery recycling facilities;
  • Electric drive component manufacturing facilities;
  • Electric drive subcomponent manufacturing facilities; and
  • Transportation electrification.

DOE officials spread the money out over a large field of up-and-coming players in the advanced battery field, but the big winners appear to be Johnson Controls ($299.2 million), A123 ($249.1 million), GM ($210.9 million plus $151.4 million to GM subcontractor Compact Power) and Dow Kokam ($161 million).

Although most of the funded technologies relate to some form of lithium technology, the DOE also awarded $66.8 million for advanced lead-acid battery production.

The big awards are weighted toward companies that are either vertically integrated for involved with making the final battery units, but the DOE is also granting $235 million in awards to 10 smaller companies that make some of the essential materials that go into the batteries, including separators, electrodes, electrolytes, lithium carbonates and hydroxides, ultracapacitors and casings. This is great news for rust belt towns such as Elyria, Ohio, that will benefit from a new BASF facility that will produce a nickel-cobalt-metal cathodes for lithium-ion batteries.

The State of Michigan also came out as a big winner in these announcements. Besides GM, Johnson Controls, A123, Dow Kokam and Compact Power all have or intend to have manufacturing operations there, plus additional funds are earmarked for Wayne State University, Michigan Technical University and the University of Michigan. Companies with facilities in neighboring Indiana also corral many of the awards.


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