Official ground-breaking ceremony for Europe's largest rechargeable battery production facility

BMZ wants to triple their production space in Germany by 2020

(PresseBox) ( Karlstein, )
Just four years after the current production facilities were built, the German manufacturing capacity of Europe's leading lithium-ion rechargeable battery system supplier is again reaching its limits. In order to be able to continue to meet the still rapidly growing demand for intelligent lithium-ion storage solutions in a wide variety of sizes in the future, BMZ GmbH wants to invest another 45 million euros by 2020 in the extension of their development and manufacturing capacities at the company's headquarters in Karlstein near Aschaffenburg. The first two of a total of six new production, laboratory and office buildings are to go into operation in 2015; the official ground-breaking ceremony was on February 2nd.

No other European company has had such a major influence on the development of the lithium-ion market in the last two decades as BMZ GmbH. Already at the end of the 90s, as many other competitors were still focussing fully on lead and nickel cadmium batteries, the company's founder Sven Bauer had already recognised the gigantic potential of lithium-ion cells as an energy storage medium. Since then, over 4,200 different customer-specific lithium-ion batteries with intelligent system controls have been developed for around 1,300 customers from all over the world in the company's own laboratories in Karlstein, and the company's head start in system and manufacturing expertise has been consistently and constantly extended. 14 million euros flowed into research and development last year alone.

The company's success is also reflected in their current figures. In 2014, the high-tech company, which was founded in 1994, achieved a turnover of some 300 million euros as the largest independent European lithium-ion battery system developer and manufacturer with more than 1,200 employees worldwide. The 500 million threshold is expected to be broken in 2020 at the latest.

In order to create the necessary production capacities the company, which also has its own assembly facilities in China, Poland and the USA, wants to continue to invest heavily above all in the industrial base in Germany in the coming years. "Apart from the most modern equipment and a well-functioning infrastructure, what a high-tech company like BMZ needs above all, is highly motivated and well-qualified staff. As a manufacturer of especially high-quality and long-lasting rechargeable battery systems, we will continue to expand not only our development, but also our manufacturing activities in Germany, presumed we find sufficient employees in Germany", explains the successful company head during the official ground-breaking ceremony for the new company headquarters on the "Zeche Gustav" industrial estate in Karlstein.

Several demand needs-oriented construction stages are planned for the realisation of this major project, which is worth some 45 million euros and will successively quadruple the area available in Germany in the coming years from the current 12,000 m² to 55,000 m². In the first construction phase, two halls each with an area of around 4,500 m² for production, logistics and office space will be built. Two further halls each 4,500 m² in size with highly flexibly deployable production lines, a new administration building and 1,400m² of additional laboratory space are to follow by the end of 2020 at the latest, depending on the trend in demand for lithium-ion batteries. "If everything goes according to plan, up to 1,500 BMZ employees in Karlstein alone can then produce up to 80 million lithium-ion batteries of various sizes with a total storage capacity of around 5 GWh annually. We decided on this modular concept because it means we can minimise the investment risks and still react flexibly to future market developments", explains Sven Bauer.

A number of guests from politics, government and industry attended the ground-breaking ceremony including Dr. Ulrich Reuter, head of Aschaffenburg District Authority, Winfried Bruder, mayor of the municipality of Karlstein, Andrea Lindholz and Peter Winter, both members of the German parliament, and Michael Hennemann, head of project development/real estate at RWE Power.

"I am extraordinarily pleased that BMZ is remaining loyal to Karlstein and extending its operations here. With this, BMZ is also sending a clear message about the attractiveness of the region as a place to invest. Reliable and competitively priced storage technology is a decisive prerequisite for the high efficiency factor of regenerative energy. With its new battery production facility, BMZ is investing in an important future market - and in a region of innovation", according to District Administrator Dr. Reuter on the occasion of the ceremony.

Karlstein's mayor, Winfried Bruder, also emphasised the economic significance of a dynamic high-tech company like BMZ for the entire region in a short speech. "It is especially pleasing that up to 1,500 new jobs are being created on the site of the old Zeche Gustav coal mine, which was founded in 1906. This means that a site with a century-old tradition of energy provision is finally being filled with life again."

The previous owner of the land which is now the industrial estate was also enthusiastic about BMZ's expansive plans. "RWE Power is pleased to have been able to contribute to 1,000 additional jobs being created in Karlstein directly next to the Gustavsee lake through the sale of around 5.5 hectares of land for industrial development. During the next 12 months, we will prepare the location for development in close collaboration with the municipality and the local utilities provider Syna", said Michael Hennemann.
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