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6/1/2009
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Boston-Power Pursues Stimulus Funds For Battery Plant

Manufacturer of notebook cells is seeking more than $100 million for Massachusetts facility.

Boston-Power's proposed battery plant
(click image for larger view)
Boston-Power's proposed battery plant

Boston-Power wants to build one of the world's most sophisticated battery manufacturing facilities in Auburn, Mass., and it's hoping to get federal funds to do it.

Boston-Power is working closely with state government leaders to secure about $100 million through the U.S. Department of Energy's advanced battery and cell manufacturing grant program, established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It's also seeking funds through a proposal in the fiscal year 2010 federal budget under the Defense Production Act for facilities that support national security.

A decision on federal funding is expected in July, but the commonwealth of Massachusetts announced Monday that it would pledge up to $9 million in matching funds.

"Our goal is to make Massachusetts a manufacturing hub for the advanced batteries that will power the nation's clean energy future, and Boston-Power's plan to create this facility in Auburn is a big step toward that goal," Gov. Deval Patrick said before a news conference Monday.

Boston-Power chose the Auburn site because it's close to its headquarters and the company wanted to promote synergy between R&D and manufacturing and to minimize costs associated with shipping and employee productivity. The proposed site's proximity to Boston would give the plant operators access to internationally recognized colleges and universities, a large and diversified workforce, and an established business infrastructure, the company explained in an announcement Monday.

"The race is on to capture the enormous economic and environmental benefits of clean energy, and Massachusetts is in the lead," Ian Bowles, Massachusetts' secretary of energy and environmental affairs, said in a statement.

In March, Boston-Power became the first U.S.-based company to provide battery technology to a top-tier notebook vendor. The company's Sonata battery cells power the "green battery" Hewlett-Packard uses in its Enviro Series, a brand based on battery technology.


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