A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Battery manufacturer EnerBlu to invest $412 million, create 1000 jobs at facilities in Lexington, Pikeville

EnerBlu Inc., a high-power energy-storage provider, has announced the company’s decision to locate its headquarters and manufacturing operations in Kentucky.

The company will invest $372 million and create 875 full-time jobs in Eastern Kentucky with the establishment of a production facility in Pikeville, and an additional $40 million and 110 jobs with the relocation of its headquarters to Lexington.

“The Commonwealth of Kentucky provides an innovative company like EnerBlu with the resources and support necessary for success,” added Daniel Elliott, EnerBlu president and CEO. “It has a highly skilled workforce with strong understanding of direct current (DC) power, complex machinery and robotics’ operations in production environments. We appreciate the exceptional support we have been given by state government leaders and look forward to creating good-paying jobs for the state.”

Eastern Kentucky has long played a significant role in the global energy market with its strong ties to the coal mining industry. With this announcement, the region will expand upon that concept as it enters into the renewable energy industry.

EnerBlu will construct a 1 million-square-foot, high-tech facility in Pikeville to manufacture lithium-titanate (LTO) batteries, called EnerBlu Advanced Energy Storage Units. The batteries will power transit buses, commercial trucks, military vehicles and other equipment. Construction is scheduled to start in mid-2018 and the facility’s opening is planned for 2020.

Additionally, the company will relocate its headquarters from Riverside, California to a 150,000-square-foot building in Lexington, where it will create 110 administrative, research-and-development and executive positions. The office is expected to open early next year.

The LTO is a rechargeable battery with the advantage of a faster charge than other lithium-ion batteries and provides high currents when necessary. Currently, more than 70 percent of the world’s LTO production is located in China. The Pikeville facility will be the first LTO factory in the US.

In selecting Kentucky, EnterBlu leaders noted the state’s logistical advantage of being within a day’s drive of 65 percent of the US population, the availability of a trained workforce in Eastern Kentucky and low costs for industrial power contributed to their decision.

“Creating a team that is building something meaningful that can benefit both the local and global community is not only exciting, but very meaningful to us,” said Michael Weber, executive chairman at EnerBlu. “You cannot imagine how thrilling it is to play a part in helping revitalize a region and put coal miners back to work through retraining and good jobs. It is tremendously gratifying to be more than just a company that sells products, but to also make an impact on people’s lives.”

“We are excited that EnerBlu has chosen Kentucky as home for its headquarters, research and development facility, and for the first Lithium Titanate battery facility in the United States,” Gov. Bevin said. “EnerBlu will help power our nation’s transportation and defense industries, while providing job opportunities that will harness the highly skilled workforce of Eastern Kentucky. We are grateful to EnerBlu for locating this incredible project in our state, and congratulate the communities of Pikeville and Lexington for the opportunities this new corporate partnership will create. This project will have a positive impact on Eastern Kentucky and the Commonwealth as a whole for many years to come.”

EnerBlu, established in 2015 through a collaboration between BRAC Global Automotive and Symblu, is an energy-storage provider focused on electric transportation, PV hybrid microgrid, power grid and genset hybridization.

The company provides research, development and production of low-cost, high-performance LTO batteries. EnerBlu plans to supply batteries and other energy storage devices for industrial, automotive, defense and commercial applications in the US and internationally.

Its EnerBlu AESU is compatible with hundreds of thousands of US and NATO military generator systems, which will help to reduce fuel usage. In turn, that will lessen the need for dangerous military fuel-resupply missions.

EnterBlu executives anticipate growth of its zero-emission commercial truck, shuttle bus and school bus business. Electric school buses also will be equipped with vehicle-to-grid technology for emergency energy storage.

For more information on EnerBlu, visit www.EnerBlu.net.

From Governor’s Office

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One Comment

  1. Jack Land says:

    I want this to be a good thing for Kentucky. We need great economic development here. It might be wise, however, to take this with a [big] grain of salt. A little due dilligence goes a long way.

    What fascinates me is the fact that a company conjured out of thin air has the ability to deliver hundreds of millions in investment capital to Kentucky.

    The first day I saw this release, I went to the EnerBlu website to learn more. Clean, corporate and generic. Then I looked around the website, and noticed several pages that still had generic placeholder language (“Lorem impsum,” etc.). That seemed strange for a company promising $372million in investment.

    So I looked at the people. The President and CEO, Daniel Elliott, according to the EnerBlu website, was CEO of PhoenixMotorcars in 2008. In 2009, that company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy (not mentioned on EnerBlu’s website, but easily found with a Google search).

    His educational credentials on EnerBlu’s website claim a BS in Mechanical Engineering for CSULB and a BS in Environmental Science from Columbia Southern University. Columbia Southern, based in Orange Beach, AL, is a primarily online school. There is no mention of any type of Engineering program on their website or any ancillary sources that could be easily searched. They offer an Environmental Management program, but nothing called “Environmental Science”.

    EnerBlu appears to be a small collection of individuals who came from other companies. There doesn’t appear to be any evident link to substantial capital.

    I’m sure I’m completely wrong, but as an outsider looking over the evidence at hand, this story sure looks to be long on talk and short on substance. The parts presented do not add up to what is being promised.

    Kentucky, in its zeal for “smart” development, has been duped by snake oil salesmen in the past. With 10 minutes of research, I get get the feeling this is a pretty slippery deal, as well.

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