The planned Forge Battery factory will be built in Morrisville, a suburb of Raleigh in the US state of North Carolina. Construction is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2024, with production starting in 2026. Volkswagen supports Forge Nano with investment agreements made in 2019.
The factory will manufacture 21700 and 18650 lithium-ion battery cells using materials coated with Forge Nano’s Atomic Armor surface technology, which is intended to achieve an energy density of 300 Wh/kg with improved safety and an extended service life. The “high-power” lithium-ion battery cells are aimed for applications in defense, aerospace and speciality electric vehicle markets.
Forge Battery expects its cell technology to outperform current and future cell chemistries. Here, the company is setting store by what it calls “Atomic Armor”, which it says is also being used to improve production efficiency and drive down cell costs because it enables the removal of electrolyte additives and reduces electrolyte consumption. The defense vehicle manufacturer says its new battery facility should begin production in 2026.
“Lithium-ion cells utilizing Forge Nano’s Atomic Armor technology have exceeded our customer’s expectations and in turn, increased demand for the technology that outstrips the current manufacturing capabilities,” says Paul Lichty, CEO of Forge Nano. “We are extremely excited to launch Forge Battery in the Battery Belt, where we intend to produce batteries for the world’s most demanding applications, while showcasing the power of Forge Nano’s Atomic Armor coating equipment in a large-scale manufacturing environment.”
As the USA ramps up cleantech industries in the wake of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the battery industry is the fastest-growing industry for employment among clean tech industries. The federal and state governments in the USA subsidise onshore battery cell production to reduce dependence on Chinese products. The boom in cleantech industries, as a result, is attracting much-needed talent from around the world.
“North Carolina’s growing leadership in clean energy can be seen everywhere you look, and Forge Battery’s decision continues our momentum,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “New jobs, new investment, and new opportunities for our people are coming fast as we embrace this vital new sector of the global economy.”
North Carolina is attracting interest from across the electric vehicle and battery industries. Last month, Epsilon Advanced Materials announced it is building a graphite anode factory in North Carolina, with productions starting in 2026.