State OKs funding for auto battery research

The state approved a $3.5 million grant Thursday for a partnership that is researching the manufacturing process of the next generation of automotive batteries.

Kentucky lost its bid earlier this year for hundreds of millions in federal stimulus dollars to build a manufacturing plant for those batteries, but that had no effect on the planned research and development center proposed for Lexington.

The Kentucky-Argonne National Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center in north Lexington is a partnership among the state, the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville and the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory.

The state's $3.5 million grant will be used to buy equipment to help test batteries, certain capacitors and other energy-storage systems. The state's money will be matched with $3.5 million from the U.S. Department of Defense or the Kentucky State Energy Program, state officials said.

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