French company Saft, the battery subsidiary of fossil fuel giant Total, has started work on a €9 million ($10m) project to expand its electrolyte manufacturing site in Poitiers, western France.
The 1,800 square metre facility, expected to start operations next year, will initially double the site’s annual production capacity to 1,000 tonnes, Saft said.
The move has been “driven by growth in demand for Saft cells in smart metering and Internet of Things applications”, a spokesperson told BEST Battery Briefing.
Poitiers produces electrolyte for primary battery cells destined for the English and Chinese markets. To meet demand, the existing plant imports electrolyte from the company’s plants in Germany and Israel, but this will stop once the new production facility is operating, the spokesperson said.
“The plants in Germany and Israel will then be able to use 100% of the electrolyte they manufacture to meet increasing demand.”
General manager at the Poitiers’ site, Lenny Cypel, said: “The new workshop will provide a vital boost in capacity to Saft and provide an even faster response to customer demands. It will also give us the room for further expansion as well as enabling the development of new electrolyte technologies.”
Earlier this year, Saft formed a joint venture company with Chinese lead-acid battery group Tianneng Energy Technology to expand lithium-ion manufacturing and “scale up e-mobility and energy storage businesses”.
Pictured at the Poitiers expansion foundation stone ceremony are: Lenny Cypel and Saft CFO Bertrand de la Noue, Alain Claeys, Poitiers’ mayor and president of Grand Poitiers, Bernard Uthurry, VP in charge of economic development of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region and Cécile Geneste, chef de cabinet at the Préfecture de la Vienne.