CHARLOTTE, NC --- U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced on Aug. 5 that Polypore's Celgard subsidiary will receive a $49 million grant to gear up production to meet the growing automaker demand for lithium-ion batteries. 

"With this Recovery Act funding, Celgard will be able to upgrade and expand its facilities," Chu said. "And we expect this will create hundreds of new American jobs for both Celgard and its suppliers and contractors." 

Instead of sending billions overseas to pay for clean technologies, the U.S. needs to start investing in these technologies domestically, Chu added. 

The grant, contingent upon finalizing the contract with the DOE, will fund an additional expansion of Polypore's existing lithium-ion separator manufacturing facility in Charlotte, N.C., and the construction of a new manufacturing facility to be built at a second U.S. location. 

"We look forward to playing a key role in supporting the Department of Energy's and the country's goal to develop a technology-leading lithium-ion battery industry in the United States, including a robust supply chain for the critical components," said Robert B. Toth, President and CEO of Polypore. "This grant will enable us to accelerate investment in production capacity and create jobs in the U.S. as we prepare to meet the increasing demand of the electric drive vehicle market." 

Polypore's Celgard business unit is one of the largest participants in the U.S. lithium battery supply chain and a leading supplier of lithium battery markets throughout the world. Celgard separators are used in lithium-ion batteries for personal electronics devices such as notebook computers, mobile phones and digital cameras, and new applications including power tools, reserve power and grid management systems and electric drive vehicles. 

The grant funding is part of the DOE's Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) that provides federal stimulus funding to support the creation of American jobs while promoting the development of U.S.-based advanced battery production for the electric drive vehicle (EDV) market.