Energy Company to Manufacture Batteries in Weirton

CHARLESTON, West Virginia – Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday that Form Energy Inc. of Boston will partner with the state of West Virginia to build its first “iron-air” battery manufacturing facility on 55 acres in the northern panhandle along the Ohio River in Weirton.

The new battery manufacturing plant is expected to create a minimum of 750 new full-time jobs and will represent a total investment of up to $760 million.

“Weirton is long overdue for some incredible news,” Justice said. “At one point, Weirton was one of America’s most important steel towns, a national leader in steel production. Now, this historic city is looking toward the future, and it’s very bright with Form Energy opening its doors.”

Justice said the state structured a financial incentive package worth up to $290 million in asset-based, performance financing to support the project.

Iron air batteries are rechargeable batteries that use rust as its raw material. The batteries on average can last about 30 years.

“The funds put toward this project are guaranteed, secured and collateralized through ownership of all land and buildings by the state,” Justice added.

The West Virginia Economic Development Authority has allocated $75 million toward the purchase of land and construction, the governor said. “I plan on working with the West Virginia Legislature and our federal partners to obtain an additional $215 million needed to finalize our agreement,” he said.

Form Energy is an American energy storage technology and manufacturing company that is developing and commercializing an iron-air battery capable of storing electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with legacy power plants. The company’s multiday battery will reshape the electric system to reliably run on 100% low-cost renewable energy every day of the year, according to a press release on Form Energy’s website.

“After a yearlong nationwide site selection process that started with identifying over 500 candidate locations across 16 states, it became abundantly clear that Weirton, West Virginia – a historic steel community that sits on a river and has the rich heritage and know-how to make great things out of iron – is the ideal location for our first commercial battery production factory,” Mateo Jaramillo, co-founder and CEO of Form Energy, said.

Form Energy expects to start construction of its Weirton factory in 2023 and begin manufacturing iron-air battery systems in 2024 for broad commercialization.

“Form Energy’s new manufacturing plant will bring clean and innovative energy technologies to West Virginia and put to good use the vast skills of our people to help ensure our country’s energy security,” U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, said.

“Once again, West Virginia has won a highly competitive process to bring new jobs and opportunities to the Mountain State,” added Republican U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito.

Pictured at top: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice delivers his annual State of the State address in the House Chambers at the state Capitol in Charleston on Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo | Chris Jackson, File)

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.