LIFT Leads Effort to Build Department of Defense Energy Systems in Detroit

Project will develop a pilot line to produce electrochemical separators for DoD

DETROIT – LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense manufacturing innovation institute, today announced the launch of a project to develop a pilot line to produce electrochemical separators for DoD energy systems at the institute’s Detroit facility.

The project, sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s (OSD) Manufacturing Science and Technology Program (MSTP), will result in the development of low cost domestic separators for energy storage and conversion systems.

The separators are key components in electrochemical devices for both energy storage and energy conversion. They are used to separate chemical reactants, conduct electric current, and reject waste heat from the devices. This project is necessary because it is difficult and capital intensive to fabricate lightweight, high quality, corrosion resistant separators for energy devices in the power range needed by DoD, and they are currently unavailable from a U.S.-based manufacturer.

As part of this project, LIFT will design a production line and produce units for testing over the next two years before moving into full production. Afterwards, LIFT will assist in locating a permanent provider and home for the production line to continue operation.

“The benefits of this program to the DoD are threefold,” said Kevin Cronin, Program Manager, DoD. “It will secure the supply chain of a critical component of energy systems, it will lower costs, and it will create an enduring research tool for separators in general. All of these benefits lend to providing the warfighter the best technology we can get them.”

As part of its pilot line development activity, LIFT will execute all manufacturing operations including engineering, materials procurement, and quality control.

“This project serves as one of the clearest examples of our role in American manufacturing since we were established,” said Nigel Francis, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, LIFT. “There is a critical need to support our Department of Defense partners and manufacture of these components in the U.S. This project is a home run for our Defense Industrial Base and for LIFT.”

The pilot line is expected to be operating at LIFT’s Detroit facility in the third quarter of 2025.