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Nat'l Lab Project Could Give Spark to Chicago Battery Company

Dec 21, 2012
Source: 
(Crain's Chicago Business)

It probably doesn't hurt that Navitas Systems LLC, which makes large batteries for industrial and government users, is right outside the front entrance of Argonne National Laboratory as it strives to play a role in the lab's new federally funded battery research center.

Housed in an industrial park building that Argonne once leased for administrative staff, Navitas officials plan to meet with senior lab staff next month to discuss the firm's participation in the $120 million research center, which is aiming for big breakthroughs in energy storage technology over the next five years.

Woodridge-based Navitas popped onto the scene when it paid $2.25 million earlier this month to buy the military contracts and government-oriented research department of bankrupt battery maker A123 Systems Inc. when the rest of the firm was sold to Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group Corp., whose U.S. operations are based in Elgin.

Waltham, Mass.-based A123 was going to be one of the battery research center's four industrial partners until it declared bankruptcy in October.