Li-ion battery link roars in Scotland

Li-ion battery link roars in Scotland
Steve Bush AEA Technology is joining forces with Japan Storage Battery and Mitsubishi Materials to build a lithium ion (Li-ion) battery factory in Scotland. The venture, called AGM Batteries, will design and produce battery cells for the communications, defence and medical markets. This niche in the rechargeable market is estimated at ?150 million per annum over the next three years. “We are aiming to get 10 to 20 per cent of this over the next three years,” said Rob Neat, soon to be managing director of AGM. It will operate from a ?12m, 130-staff design and production facility in Thurso, north Scotland which will produce up to two million Li-ion cells a year starting in mid-1999. The venture is split 55 per cent to AEA, 25 to Japan Storage and 20 to Mitsubishi. AEA Technology has experience in the design and development of battery systems and holds a key patent for Li-ion rechargeables which covers over 90 per cent of the world’s Li-ion production. Japan Storage Battery, which has made batteries for over a century, already makes Li-ion cells in Japan. Mitsubishi Materials produces raw material for rechargeable cell manufacturers. Most of AGM’s output will be D-size cells, a non-standard size among Li-ions, that will only be sold in assembled packs. AEA recently purchased pack maker DBS Special Batteries from Duracell and is likely to use this resource to process at least some of AGM’s production.


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