Portage Welcomes Hemp Batteries

On April 23rd, Wisconsin Battery Company will officially break ground on a manufacturing facility that could change the way you look at your household batteries.

Jeff Greene is the CEO of Wisconsin Battery Company. He says the company is planning to scale up production of hemp-based batteries in a Portage business park. The initial goal will be to produce batteries for hearing aids, with more consumer type batteries next in line. Ultimately he sees great possibilities in the EV market, and even as a supplier for the defense department. Portage is making available 17 acres in their industrial park to help offset job losses expected when battery maker, Energizer Holdings, finishes closing plants in both Portage and Fennimore.

At the beginning, Greene said they’ll use about one tractor trailer load of hemp bast – or the fiber of the plant – over 3 months. He’s reviewing samples submitted by hemp companies in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia, Texas and South Dakota, for quality benchmarks. Once in full production, Greene says they’ll likely consumer about 1-2 tractor trailer loads of hemp bast a day.

Greene says it won’t stop there!

Wisconsin Battery Company (WinBat) has signed agreements with The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and University of North Texas to conduct technology research. “Our goal is to find the right hemp genetics for carbonization, replace lithium with sodium and provide our military with strategic advantages,” said CEO Jeff Greene.

The company also has agreements with Madison College and Southwest Wisconsin Technical College to conduct training for employees at its Portage manufacturing facility and at their facilities. After months of planning, the building has been confirmed as a 58,500-square-foot production facility that will be making three of WinBat’s original eight battery types.