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Calif. Lithium-Ion Battery Maker Vies for Stimulus Funds

July 14, 2009

SYLMAR, CA --- Quallion, a lithium-ion battery maker, is requesting $220 million in stimulus funds to build a manufacturing plant that will make more than 20,000 batteries annually for hybrid cars and trucks by 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

The plant would create about 400 short-term construction jobs and an additional 2,350 long-term "green-collar" jobs, Quallion President Paul Beach said.

But the company has plenty of competition for the $2 billion in stimulus funds designated for developing batteries for hybrid vehicles, according to the Los Angeles Times. The U.S. Department of Energy, which controls these stimulus funds, has received proposals from more than 120 companies. There are eight grants at stake. 

It's no secret that battery companies that receive stimulus funding will have an advantage over competitors in the quest to take the U.S. into the future of lithium-ion technology. 

"The stimulus was necessary for the U.S. to be competitive on the world stage," Sara Bradford, an energy and power systems consultant with Frost & Sullivan, told the Times. "Companies know this is their chance." 

As it stands now, Japanese, Chinese and South Korean manufacturers represent about 80 percent of the lithium-ion battery business, largely because their governments are subsidizing their work. 

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