Battery developer considers move to Lexington

ssloan@herald-leader.comMarch 1, 2013 

A battery researcher and developer is considering moving its headquarters from New York to Lexington, a move that could bring as many as 162 jobs to the area.

NOHMs Technologies began in October 2010 as a spinoff from Cornell University. On Thursday, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval for $2.1 million in tax incentives to lure the company's headquarters to Lexington.

The company estimates that the move will cost $5.37 million, according to state documents.

Company executives did not return messages. State officials also declined to discuss the project, because the company has not yet committed to the move.

The proposed operations here would include research and development labs for batteries and battery prototypes, according to state documents.

On its website, NOHMs Technologies says that its "vision is to commercialize lithium-sulfur battery technology that will revolutionize vehicle markets."

The company proposes having 33 employees on site at the beginning of operations, with growth to 162 employees in eight years. The jobs would pay an average of $30 hourly, including benefits.

If NOHMs does move, it would probably do so to work closely with the Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center in north Lexington.

The organization, which has about 15 research-focused employees, is a partnership of the state, the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville and the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory.

Its research focuses on developing and manufacturing better batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.

NOHMs Technologies is "a great company and has a brilliant future ahead of them," said Tony Hancock, Kentucky-Argonne's executive director.

Hancock said the company probably is attracted to the state because of the presence of battery manufacturers Ford, Toyota and Hitachi.

"We're very excited about being in a sweet spot in technology here in Kentucky," he said.

Hancock said the organization also is working with other companies in hopes of persuading them to relocate to Kentucky.

With them, he said, "we can form this battery infrastructure that will allow them to be supporters and suppliers of the bigger companies that are already here."

Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @HeraldLeaderBiz.

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