On occasion I attend ground-breaking ceremonies for various manufacturing and chemical facilities. On even rarer occasions I get to do so in my own backyard. Well, not literally my backyard – but pretty darn close.
Today I traveled 17 minutes to Elyria, Ohio, where BASF broke ground on a $50-million facility to produce advanced cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries that will power hybrid and full-electric vehicles.
The event attracted a number of federal, state and local officials, as well as representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), its affiliated Argonne National Laboratory, and numerous BASF employees from Ohio and other parts of the company’s global manufacturing and research and development operations. Indeed, I sat at a table with lithium-ion battery researchers who traveled from BASF headquarters in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
The new BASF production facility in Elyria is being built with the help of a $24.6 million grant from the DOE under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
BASF is one of only two licensed suppliers of the Argonne National Laboratory’s (ANL) patented Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese (NCM) cathode materials, which employ a unique combination of lithium and manganese-rich mixed metal oxides. The license covers the broadest scope of NCM chemistry that can be used in today's lithium-ion batteries.
The MC for today's event, Frank Bozich, president of BASF’s Catalysts division and member of BASF Corp.’s North American Executive Committee, told attendees that when it is fully operational in 2012, the BASF plant is expected to be the most advanced cathode materials production plant in North America. His comments solicited applause from the hundreds of attendees.
However, the biggest applause came when Randy Turk, Elyria Site Manager, took the podium and announced what a great week it has been for the local area. In addition to today's event, "The Cleveland Browns won and the Miami Heat lost."
For those not in the know about Cleveland sports, the Cleveland Browns haven't been doing so hot this season (or last season, or the season before that. . .) and earlier this year former Cleveland Cavalier Lebron James announced to the world that he was taking his talents to South Beach and joining the Miami Heat.
So yes, Randy, it is a good week in Ohio. Sports aside, BASF is breaking ground for groundbreaking technology right here in the Buckeye State. The Elyria site's 156 employees can come to work tomorrow morning knowing that their 112-year-old facility is working toward the future. Kudos.
To view Randy Turk's speech, click here. And please forgive the background noise – it was a windy day in Ohio.
Senior Digital Editor
Photo Caption: Pictured from left to right Sue Morano, State Senator; Matt Lundy, State Representative; William Grace, Mayor of Elyria; Randy Turk, Elyria Site Manager; Patrick Davis, Program Manager, Vehicle Technologies, U.S. DOE; Frank Bozich, President, Catalysts, BASF; Betty Sutton, U.S. Representative and Lisa Patt-McDaniel, Office of Economic Development.