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Planned Battery Plant Will Face Tech Hurdles

Backers of a proposed lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant slated to be built in Glendale, Kentucky are hoping the U.S. Department of Energy will approve the application for funding they’ve just submitted.  If granted, those funds could result in the nation’s first large-scale vehicle battery plant.  But getting the funding is only clearing the first hurdle.  Argonne National Lab spokesman Jeff Chamberlain says the process for making batteries large enough for vehicles hasn’t really been perfected yet.“Most of the batteries that are out there today, in your cell phone, in your laptop, are based on a certain chemistry that is somewhat unsafe.  So when you scale those batteries to larger scale, there can be heat generated to the extent that the batteries are virtually explosive," says Chamberlain.But Chamberlain says there are some new chemical recipes under development that could lead to a vehicle battery that’s safer and powerful enough for a car.  They could also bring down the high cost of these kinds of batteries.