California Corporate Moves

Quallion Lithium Battery Plant Boosts Green Jobs

Quallion has announced plans to expand its lithium ion battery manufacturing facilities in Sylmar, CA, creating hundreds of green jobs in Southern California.

“Now, more than ever, America understands the need to invest in home-grown clean energy technologies for automobiles and heavy-duty trucks that reduce gasoline consumption and decrease CO2 emissions,” said Paul Beach, Quallion President.

“Lithium ion batteries manufactured in Quallion’s new facility will deliver a real and immediate clean energy solution that will also greatly improve our country’s energy independence and deliver jobs when Americans need them most.”

If its application for U.S. Department of Energy funding is accepted, the construction of Quallion’s facility will create more than 500 construction and manufacturing jobs, the company said. Once completed, the facility has the potential to create up to 2,350 long-term jobs in Southern California and across the country, supporting the production and installation of advanced lithium ion battery technology for heavy duty trucks.

The facility, which will be fully operational by 2012, could produce more than 20,000 lithium ion batteries each year. DOE funding will allow Quallion to build on its experience manufacturing large-format lithium ion batteries for military vehicles and leverage the benefits of mass production by setting up a right-sized production facility, which will allow it to implement many of its proprietary technologies. Quallion’s Zero-Volt™ battery technology allows the charge in high-voltage batteries to be completely removed while they are handled by technicians.

The initial focus for Quallion’s new facility will be the production of zero-emission advanced lithium ion batteries designed to replace engine idling as a power source for stationary trucks.

With the DOE funds, Quallion says it will be able to deliver a “shovel ready” clean energy solution that enables the 1 million heavy trucks on U.S. roads to comply with the growing number of anti-idling laws. Quallion currently produces high volume medical and military batteries as well as custom-designed aerospace batteries.Quallion LLC was founded in 1998 by biotechnology and aerospace entrepreneur Alfred E. Mann and lithium ion battery specialist Dr. Hisashi Tsukamoto. The company also develops new battery chemistries for the military, aerospace, medical and automotive industries.

$100-Million Bleach Plant To Open in Pittsburg, CA

A $100-million bleach manufacturing plant will be built and operated by K2 Pure Solutions at Dow Chemical Co.’s Pittsburg, CA site.

K2 will put up the plant on 15 acres leased from Dow on its 513-acre east Contra Costa County site. Dow will supply raw materials. The new plant, expected to be operational at the end of next year, will be a supplier of bleach to municipal water treatment plants in Northern California. The plant will need to acquire city and regulatory agency approvals before it becomes operational.

K2 also will lease to Dow an additional separate facility K2 will operate to make chlorine and caustic soda for Dow’s agricultural markets. The agreement will create 200 direct and indirect construction jobs and 40 permanent operations jobs.

Midland, MI-based Dow is closing its Pittsburg latex operation, which has been shuttered since August. Dow has 500 employees at its remaining nine production units in Pittsburg. Dow operated a major chlorine production plant in Pittsburg for 50 years, before closing it in 1992. Dow officials said the K2 plant will provide an onsite, low-cost raw material supply and integration at Pittsburg.

K2 is based in Toronto, Ontario, with U.S. headquarters in Uniontown, OH. It has 15 employees and, besides Pittsburg, plans to open bleach plants in Vernon in Southern California and Chicago, IL.

K2 makes bleach using only salt, water and electricity as the inputs. It plans to reduce the need to transport chlorine for water treatment by setting up a network of regional plants using its safer method of bleach production. Many people equate chlorine with bleach, but chlorine is a deadly gas that currently is shipped by rail, primarily from the Gulf Coast. Shipping chlorine by rail has been prohibited in Europe and Asia, and if current trends in environmental regulations continue, U.S. rail shipment of chlorine also may be curtailed.

K2 CEO Howard Brodie and David Cynamon, K2’s executive chairman, founded KIK Custom Products in Concord, Ontario in 1997. KIK eventually became the largest North American manufacturer of household bleach, with 25 plants. Brodie and Cynamon sold KIK in 2007 to New York-based CI Capital Partners LLC, and went on to found K2. Bleach works by the process of oxidation, the introduction of oxygen, which breaks down molecules into smaller elements so that dirt and stains are separated from fabrics. Bleach also disinfects by breaking down germs and rendering them harmless by the introduction of oxygen. In industry, different forms of bleach are used to whiten materials such as paper and wood, though most bleach is used to launder textiles.