Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stimulus Big Winner: Battery Manufacturing

From MIT's Technology Review:

The Congressional stimulus bill could help create a new, advanced battery industry in the United States.

Provisions in the Congressional stimulus bill could help jump-start a new, multibillion-dollar industry in the United States for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrids and electric vehicles and for storing energy from the electrical grid to enable the widespread use of renewable energy. The nearly $790 billion economic stimulus legislation contains tens of billions of dollars in loans, grants, and tax incentives for advanced battery research and manufacturing, as well as incentives for plug-in hybrids and improvements to the electrical grid, which could help create a market for these batteries.

Significant advances in battery materials, including the development of new lithium-ion batteries, have been made in the United States in the past few years. But advanced battery manufacturing is almost entirely overseas, particularly in Asia. As a result, advanced battery startups in the United States typically have their batteries made outside the United States. But this need not be the case, says Prabhakar Patil, the CEO of Compact Power, a subsidiary of the South Korean company LG Chem, based in Troy, MI. Battery manufacturing is largely automated, so labor costs aren't much of a concern, he says. Rather, the battery industry developed in Asia because countries there, particularly Japan, developed portable electronics and hybrid vehicles, creating a market for batteries....MORE

HT: naked capitalism