Leahy Announces Effort To Make Lighter, Longer Lasting Lithium Iron Battery At Energizer St. Albans Facility

ST. ALBANS, Vt. (FRIDAY, Oct. 22) – During a tour of the Energizer factory in St. Albans on Friday, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy announced he is working on securing a $1 million U.S. Department of Defense research and development contract that will help Energizer develop an advanced lithium-iron disulfide battery.   The contract would build on a multi-year long effort by Energizer, partially funded with a 2008 $2.4 million Leahy-secured contract, to reduce the weight, increase the energy output and make the lithium-iron battery more durable under temperature extremes.   

“It is no secret that the supplies our troops carry in the field keep getting heavier and heavier,” said Leahy.  “By producing lighter batteries capable of more energy output across a wider range of temperatures, Energizer St. Albans will take some of the weight off the backs of our soldiers and make their jobs just a little easier.  In today’s modern military, battery power can be as important as fire power.”

Leahy said the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, of which he is a senior member, has approved a $1 million contract for Energizer in the Department of Defense 2011 budget.  Congress will act on the budget when it returns to Washington in November.

During Leahy’s visit to Energizer’s St. Albans facility, he toured the plant and met with employees.  Leahy said that about three quarters of the work done at Energizer’s St. Albans plant focuses on the production of lithium-iron batteries – high-end consumer electronics AA batteries.  The plant supplies the entire Western Hemisphere’s supply of Energizer’s AA lithium-iron batteries.   The plant also makes a line of iconic plastic Energizer flashlights. 

Ron Taylor, Director of Operations for Energizer, said, "Senator Leahy has been, and continues to be a steadfast supporter of Energizer and we are truly appreciative of his sponsorship.  Through Senator Leahy's leadership and advocacy, Energizer is the grateful recipient of research and development funding which will be used to develop leading edge battery technology to be used at our St. Albans Vermont facility.  This funding will ultimately enable the construction of higher energy and more reliable lithium-iron disulfide batteries, capable of being used in demanding military environments.  The resulting product will significantly increase our soldiers' combat effectiveness, and with its added functionality, will be able to support mission critical military operations."

Leahy said that Energizer uses these funds to help bring products to market for both commercial use and military use.  Energizer has used previous Leahy-secured funds to run test batches of batteries.  Leahy said he hoped that the funds will eventually lead to large scale, long term production in St. Albans.

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