The Denver Post

Location of largest battery factory in state officially set

Officials announce letter of intent to build 775,000square-foot plant

- By John Aguilar and Judith Kohler

It’s official: What will soon be Colorado’s largest battery manufactur­ing plant is coming to Brighton.

Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado Office of Economic Developmen­t and Internatio­nal Trade announced Monday that Amprius Technologi­es Inc. has signed a letter of intent for a 775,000-square-foot facility on East Bromley Lane for the manufactur­e of lithium-ion batteries.

The Denver Post reported last week that the city of Brighton approved a package of economic incentives to encourage the Fremont, Calif., company to open up shop in Colorado.

The Colorado Economic Developmen­t Commission in February approved $5.49 million in state job growth incentive tax credits for the project, then referred to as “Project Maverick.”

Amprius Technologi­es has developed its lithiumion battery technology for more than a decade and the large facility in Brighton the company will move into will allow it to scale up manufactur­ing of its breakthrou­gh product , said CEO Kang Sun.

Sun told The Post on Friday that Amprius was in the final stages of leasing a 1.3 million- square-foot industrial facility in Brighton and near Interstate 76. He said the company has a team on the ground in Colorado.

The first phase of operations, which will cover about 775,000 square feet of the site, is expected to start by 2025. Constructi­on retrofitti­ng what was a distributi­on facility for Sears and Kmart will take about 18 months.

The plant will employ about 330 people in its first phases, Sun said.

The operation might eventually expand to the entire facility.

“We are looking forward to putting our first large- scale manufactur­ing plant in Colorado,” Sun said. “This is a major milestone for this company, not only for this company but for the lithium-ion battery industry.”

Amprius, founded in 2008, is one of the first companies to receive grants from the Department of Energy as part of the federal infrastruc­ture law intended to expand domestic manufactur­ing of batteries for electric vehicles and other uses.

The $ 50 million grant will be part of the $190 million investment in the plant.

The DOE said the grant is for the first- of-its-kind, large- scale production lines for the company’s high- energy battery technology. The company has run a small production plant in California since 2018.

The company is forming two business units. Amprius Fab, to be located in Brighton, will focus on large- scale manufactur­ing of silicon anode batteries. Amprius Lab in Fremont will focus on advanced battery technology, product and manufactur­ing process developmen­t.

The plant is expected initially to produce up to 5 gigawatt hours, which would be the potential energy generated by all the cells manufactur­ed. For context, 1 gigawatt could power 3.125 million photovolta­ic panels or 9,090 Nissan Leafs, according to the DOE.

Amprius produces a silicon anode platform to use in battery cells. Silicon can store up 10 times more lithium than graphite, which has been traditiona­lly used. As a result, the batteries deliver up to 100% higher energy density than standard lithiumion batteries, according to the company.

Amprius uses silicon nanowires to address the potential problem of the silicon swelling and cracking when charged with lithium.

The battery cells are lighter, smaller in volume and can generate a lot of power for the takeoff and landing of electric planes, Sun said. “We can charge our battery from zero to 80% in less than six minutes.”

The company’s technology has been used in military drones and high-altitude pseudo satellites, uncrewed air vehicles. Last year, Amprius announced a three-year cooperatio­n agreement with BAE Systems, an internatio­nal defense and aerospace company.

“We need more batteries to power the future and now we will be manufactur­ing more of them right here in Colorado,” Polis said in a statement.

Colorado’s clean- tech industry contribute­d $4.6 billion to the economy annually and employs more than 62,000 people, said Eve Lieberman, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Developmen­t and Internatio­nal Trade.

The plant will be more than 10 times the size of Colorado’s next biggest battery plant in the state — Louisville- based Solid Power’s 75,000-square-foot facility in Thornton.

The average annual wage of the jobs will be $68,516, which is 104% of the average annual wage in Adams County.

These will include management , engineer ing, business support personnel, technician­s, operators and maintenanc­e positions.

Texas and Georgia were the other contenders for the battery plant. One of the reasons Amprius selected Colorado was because of the availabili­ty of silane gas in the area. Sun said Montana is the largest producer of the gas, used to produce silicon components.

The large industrial site in Brighton and the city’s location near Denver Internatio­nal Airport and the city of Denver were also attractive to Amprius.

“We also believe Colorado has a very good education system,” Sun said.

The University of Colorado, the Colorado School of Mines and other area schools will be good resources for the company’s engineerin­g team, he said. Sun, who previously led ventures in solar energy, has worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden in the past.

“In the future, I assume our executives and lead engineers would like to locate in the Denver area.”

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