Virginia-based Safire Tech Group, which develops and manufactures Lithium-ion battery safety technology, announced its expansion to Knoxville, Tennessee with the opening of a laboratory at the University of Tennessee Spark Innovation Center. The laboratory will support the continued growth of the company and allow it to continue innovating its patented SAFIRE™ additive for Li-ion batteries.
The new facility will house the company’s product development and manufacturing operations. Safire Group recently announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to commercialize the ORNL-invented SAFIRE™ additive. Andrew Hanna, formerly of ExxonMobil Corporation, will oversee Knoxville facilities as Head of Product and Brand.
SAFIRE™ is a drop-in liquid-to-solid electrolyte additive for any Lithium-ion battery chemistry or form factor, that prevents fire and explosion during a crash or impact, and imparts ballistic protection against projectiles.
Commitment to CleanTech
“The new laboratory, with its close proximity to ORNL and the University of Tennessee, offers a world-class pipeline of talented scientists and engineers,” said John Lee, co-Founder, and CEO, of Safire Group. “The Knoxville area represents an attractive choice to expand our battery R&D capabilities and hire highly qualified talent from the community.”
“I am excited to welcome Safire Group to Knox County,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “Not only will the group be an asset in retaining and attracting talent for our workforce, (but) this announcement is also a tangible example of the importance of our innovation engines—in this case, ORNL and the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm—working with the private sector to bring quality jobs and economic opportunity to the Knox County area.”
“Safire Group’s move to the Spark Innovation Center in Knoxville is another big win for our city and this entire region,” said Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. “This cleantech company perfectly complements our efforts to make it easy, safe, and affordable for individuals and businesses to switch to electric vehicles, making our air cleaner and our city more resilient.”
Increasing Demand and Adoption
In a 2022 report, Moody’s Investor Service indicated the demand for EV battery production is expected to soar as automakers increasingly comply with emission standards and boost their production of battery electric vehicles (BEV’s). Just recently, the DOE announced General Motors & LG Energy Solution would be receiving a $2.5 billion loan to help build lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing plants.