The competition to be the leader in advanced battery technology is heating up. Indiana, with its recently announced Indiana Energy Systems Network, figures to be a player. The focus at this point is relying on the people and technology that have served the state well in the past in automotive and related industries.
Others are counting on splashier efforts. Texas is reportedly seeking $1 billion from the federal government to construct a lithium ion battery plant. In addition, two Indiana neighbors are also putting their hats in the battery ring.
Michigan is focused on automotive batteries, with various tax credits and incentives geared toward building four manufacturing facilities. Kentucky has a more broad based approach. The state, the universities of Kentucky and Louisville, and Argonne National Laboratory are developing a national research and development center in Lexington. In addition, the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries (affectionately known as NATTBatt), plans a research, battery plant and headquarters campus 45 miles south of Louisville.
The large scale manufacturing plants seem to be ahead of their time. While the Indiana plan may seem a little slower and safer from afar, it might well prove best in the long run. Wins along the way, such as the addition of Altairnano and its battery productuion efforts in Anderson, could lead to a major victory down the road.