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Hybrid electric car battery pioneer up for sale

Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq: ENER), a pioneer in battery technology in the automotive industry since 1982 and a leading global maker of thin-film flexible solar laminate products and systems, is making plans to sell its Ovonic Battery Co. subsidiary.

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Ovonic founder Stanford Ovshinsky, a scientist who owns more than 400 patents, invented the NiMH rechargeable battery technology that is used worldwide in hybrid-electric vehicles, and in many rechargeable batteries. For this important invention and others, Ovshinsky (pictured) was named Hero for the Planet by Time magazine in 1999 and inducted into the U.S.-based Solar Energy Hall of Fame in 2005, according to Wikipedia.

Ovshinsky founded ECD in 1960 and Ovonic in 1982.

"ECD's Ovonic Battery Co. is a pioneer in developing advanced battery technologies for consumer, stationary and vehicle applications, and enjoys tremendous success licensing its technologies worldwide," said Jay Knoll, interim president of Auburn Hills, Mich.-based ECD, which has been headquartered in the Detroit area since 1960. Its original site was in Detroit and later, Troy, Mich.

"Given ECD's focus on its solar business, we have elected to seek a buyer that will leverage Ovonic Battery Co.'s substantial technology portfolio and provide it with a platform for expanding the commercialization and licensing of its advanced battery technologies," Knoll added.

The subsidiary's main charge is to license its advanced battery technologies.

Those technologies include nickel-metal-hydride and lithium-ion technologies; participating in joint development programs to support application of these technologies; and making mixed-metal hydroxide cathode materials for sale to its licensees for use in battery production, according to a company statement.

The statement further states: OBC has demonstrated great value through sustainable profitability, a strong and growing royalty and license-fee revenue stream, and high-potential growth opportunities. Through its innovative R&D activities, OBC has advanced the state-of-the-art of cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries, and has an established patent position and world-class manufacturing capability for its proprietary nickel hydroxide cathode materials. OBC is also developing a technology, the Proton-ion battery, with higher energy density and lower cost than today's battery technologies.

ECD Ovonics stock is listed on the NASDAQ with symbol ENER and on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. For information on the sale process, the company would like suitors to contact Andre A. Augier of Quarton Partners at (248) 594-0400.

You can reach's Hawke Fracassa at (248) 747-1550 or [email protected].

Image source: Wikipedia

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