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Car Battery Makers, Johnson Controls, Building A $150 Million Recycling Plant In South Carolina

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Automotive parts and batteries manufacturer, Johnson Controls Inc., broke ground on a new battery recycling plant in Florence, South Carolina, today. Local and national environmental groups there reached consensus with the company on air emissions standards in August 2010, allowing the company to embark on its plans to build a $150 million facility, taking up about 36 acres of a 270-acre property.

The permits represent the first in about twenty years given to “a new, fully integrated battery recycling facility in the United States,” multiple spokespersons from Johnson Controls have noted.

The battery recycling center news follows Johnson Controls’ introduction (at the Detroit auto show earlier this month) of a new lithium-ion battery for electric and hybrid vehicles, which was manufactured in Holland, Michigan.

Johnson controls is producing the lithium-ion batteries, domestically, with French partner Saft. Ford agreed to buy the made-in-Michigan batteries for use in their electric and hybrid vehicles.

A $299.2 million grant in 2009 through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act incentivized Johnson Controls to build its domestic factories that namely produce nickel-cobalt-metal battery cells and packs, and battery separators (with partner Entek) for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Johnson Controls’ battery recycling business in South Carolina was not subsidised by the same, federal stimulus grants, however. Of the $2.4 billion spent on the program to “accelerate the manufacturing and deployment of the next generation of US batteries and electric vehicles,” just $9.5 million went to a recycling business, TOXCO Inc. in Anaheim, California.

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