A123 opens largest lithium-ion battery plant in the U.S. The Livonia, Mich. plant will expand the company’s manufacturing capabilities by up to 600 megawatt-hours per year, with the goal of ramping up to a total 760M megawatt-hours by next year’s end. The announcement comes one year after A123 was awarded a $249 million grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As GigaOm notes, A123’s IPO last year opened at $17 per share but now trades at less than $10 per share. Another Michigan-based battery player, Sakti3, made news last week for winning a $3.2 million investment from the venture capital arm of GM.
Siemens has launched a renewable energy business in India, focusing on wind and solar. It has hired 30 employees and plans to grow to 100. The company was persuaded in part by government and economic incentives. CleanTechnica notes India is one of the fastest-growing cleantech markets thanks to a growing wind sector and a strong solar industry.
Amp announced today it has signed an agreement to electrify a big-brand SUV for a major automaker, saying it should finish within two months — but the company didn’t name names. Amp is behind the electricfications of the Saturn Sky and Chevrolet Equinox. A statement touted the company’s “scalability and nimbleness” to help manufacturers quickly go into mass production from a pre-existing model.
Smart grid networking player Grid Net announced a partnership today with Sprint that will connect meters and routers on its smart grid platform through the carrier’s 4G network. Pairing the sexy and fast 4G network with smart meter communications could be a strong selling tool — in Grid Net’s case, it means faster data transfer paired with secure WiMax products. Grid Net is unique — and alone — in the smart grid field for championing the use of the WiMax protocol in the ongoing protocol war between smart grid companies.
Aurora Biofuels is no more. The company announced today it has changed its name to Aurora Algae, effectively repositioning itself in a crowded biofuels market by no longer tying its name or products to just biofuels. Instead, it will leverage its proprietary strain of algae to produce pharmaceuticals, protein bars and oils that can be used in hand creams – a telling move in a biofuels world, where companies are plagued by investor reluctance, high start-up costs and technology that, while promising, is years away from commercialization.
The average Nissan Leaf buyer is a baby boomer. The 19,000 or so would-be Leaf buyers who have reserved a spot in line for Nissan’s all-electric car are, on average, 45 years old, earn $125,000 a year and own a home. Three-quarters of buyers to date opted for the SL trim package on the world’s first all-electric, mass-produced car. The package includes a solar panel on the rear spoiler and allows for a $700 fast-charge option; it retails for $33,500 before government rebates. Most buyers already drive a hybrid like the Prius, but few have ever owned a Nissan – a good sign for the carmaker’s broadening allure.
The White House says no to solar panels on its roof. A group of college activists with the campaign “Put Solar On It” pushed President Obama to put solar on the White House roof but were “politely rebuffed,” the New York Times reports.
Tesla, PowerSecure and Vicor added to NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index. The index tracks the performance of publicly traded cleantech companies. The index is reranked every March and September, and in this round, removed five companies: Ballard Power Systems, Capstone Turbine, Evergreen Solar, FuelCell Energy and UQM Technologies.