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State of Texas to Submit Bid for Battery Consortium

Statesman.com. The State of Texas will submit a bid to become the headquarters for an advanced battery consortium that is seeking $1 billion in Federal stimulus money to develop technology for the next generation of hybrid electric vehicles.

The National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture, which formed in December 2008 (earlier post), seeks to develop one or more manufacturing and prototype development centers in the United States, which will be shared by Alliance members.

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.

Initial funding would come from money provided by ARRA 2009 (earlier post).

Texas will be competing against seven other states—Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina—for the battery project, which could bring more than 2,500 jobs over five years and attract battery-related suppliers to the state.

“...There will be a spirited competition for the dollars,” said Jim Greenberger, a Chicago lawyer who is a founder of the consortium. “Everyone and his mother will be putting in an application as far as we can tell.”

Other bidders for federal money, [Austin lawyer Pike Powers] said, are expected to include collaborative efforts between Massachusetts-based A123Systems Inc., which makes lithium-ion batteries, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Johnson Controls Inc., a leading maker of conventional car batteries, and Saft, a French company that develops advanced batteries; the State of Michigan and a new organization called the National Automotive Center; and the American subsidiary of LG Group, a major business conglomerate based in South Korea.



If Texas wants to remain a major player in the energy business - building and energy storage industry is a smart move. But then they've got to beat out the competition including those whiz kids at MIT.


The Texas oil industry has been supressing battery technology for the past decade. No, they have covered their tracks pretty well, so I can't prove this. But look what happened to NIMH technology at ECD Ovonics in Detroit once Texaco bought into the company (now it is controlled by Chevron). The NIMH batteries that drove the EV 1 so successfully in California, do not work in cars today. Ask yourself why not? Toyota is the only company that has been able to use them successfully in products because they bought a manufacturing license from ECD before Texaco took over. The Prius is the result of Toyota having a technology that no one else can get their hands on. "Who Stole the Electric Car?" My bet is Texas oil companies. Now Texas wants to be the center for battery research? If that happens, you'll never see battery powered cars in the US. Do you really believe the wolves want to be in the sheep raising business?

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