Thanks to a $27.3 million dollar matching grant, construction of a sample plant to manufacture an electrolyte salt will begin at the Buffalo location of Honeywell (NYSE: HON). The salt will be used in batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.
Honeywell will match the $27.3 million grant, which will help Honeywell become the first domestic supplier of high-purity lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6), a conductive salt among four components in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. LiPF6 facilitates the transport of lithium ions within the battery, which allows the batteries to store and discharge energy.
At Honeywell's research lab at 20 Peabody St., an environmentally-sound process was developed to manufacture high-purity LiPF6.
A portion of the grant will be used to construct the sample plant later this year, and a pilot version of the electrolyte salt will be developed there.
Buffalo site leader Jay Kelly said the plant will be fully operational by the first quarter of 2011.
"What we are doing under this grant is the LiPF6 sample plant, to prove out our process, and as that demand grows we will have a larger full scale facility come on line," he said.
Kelly said since the Peabody Street location is a research lab, the full-scale plant will not be located there, but instead at another Honeywell location, possibly in Illinois or Pennsylvania.
He explained that LiPF6 is a component in the beginning of the lithium-ion battery supply chain. It will be sold to battery manufacturers who, in turn, sell the batteries to automotive companies. As a result of the new electrolyte project, he anticipates six employees will be added, plus another 15 engineering and construction jobs to build the sample plant.
The grant was awarded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and is designed to accelerate the market introduction and penetration of advanced electric drive vehicles, reducing fuel consumption and vehicle emissions of greenhouse gases.