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14 US Companies, Argonne Lab Form National Alliance to Advance Li-ion Battery Manufacturing in the US

18 December 2008

Fourteen US battery and advanced materials companies, with support from Argonne National Laboratory, have formed the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture to support the development of manufacturing capabilities for automotive Li-ion batteries in the US.

The founding members of the Alliance include 3M, ActaCell, All Cell Technologies, Altair Nanotechnologies, Dontech Global, EaglePicher Corporation, EnerSys, Envia Systems, FMC, MicroSun Technologies, Mobius Power, SiLyte, Superior Graphite, and Townsend Advanced Energy. The founding members anticipate other battery developers and materials suppliers will join the Alliance. Argonne has been active in encouraging the Alliance and will continue to serve in an advisory role as the Alliance begins operations.

The Alliance seeks to develop one or more manufacturing and prototype development centers in the United States, which will be shared by Alliance members. Developing the capability to mass manufacture advanced battery cells is anticipated to require an investment of $1 to $2 billion over five years.

Most of that investment is expected to come from the federal government. The Alliance intends to leverage available government support by having Alliance members share in the use of a large manufacturing facility rather than having to compete for smaller, less ambitious forms of government support.

The Alliance seeks to replicate the success of Sematech, a government supported collaboration of US semiconductor manufacturers formed in the 1980s to address the increasing migration of semiconductor manufacturing from the United States to Asia. Between 1988 and 1993, Sematech raised $990 million in government grants and private investment to help US manufacturers recapture their lead in semiconductor technology.

US automakers are expected to play an important role in the Alliance, and will be invited to serve on the Alliance’s advisory board. The advisory board will help the cell makers move towards standardized cell formats that will simplify manufacture and ultimately lower the costs of cells.

December 18, 2008 in Batteries | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

This is what Japanese government & manufacturers have been doing for many years. It is a very good way to focus development in essential areas, ensure high standards and local on-going mass production.

This is the type of combined efforts the new Administration could and should support.

The Big-3 are not on the members list but will play a major role ??? What does that mean?

Big 3 should focus on defining the standards and end user requirements.

They should take a WW view. US manaufacturers need to leverage more on WW platforms and overseas brands. It is a big part of their "wrong business model".

Would be wise to open up to all player not just US assembly operations.

Hopefully, companies like A123 will join.

This is a manufacturing technology consortium.

There is already a advanced automotive battery consortium that exists to encourage and create batteries suitable for automotive applications. That is the USABC created by the Bush Adminsitration, and has helped develop automotive batteries we now see in auto applications. Perhaps you have heard of the Li-Ion automotive battery? The Big 3 are members of that consortia.

Under US anti-trust law, only such specific exemptions by such as these consortia, allow competitors to talk and advance the state of the art without legal a$$wipes stopping progress, in the name of "antiTrust".

This does appear to duplicate the USABC - except with much smaller companies. But if it helps build better batteries at home - great. Look like the alliance has only 3M as a major and Altair as a minor player. 3M would do well to invest in Altair and start building hybrid powertrains for buses.

As noted above, 3M is the only major league player in this alliance. What do the other 13 players bring to the table? I suspect that this is more a PR stunt designed to get money than anything real.

I suggest instead that important US companies like 3M and Ferro plus GM and Ford team up with the big Canadian outfits in order to create a credible North American consortium.

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