Port Huron’s Wirtz Manufacturing Invests in Missouri’s ZAF Energy Systems

Wirtz Manufacturing in Port Huron has invested in ZAF Energy Systems Inc., which has developed rechargeable nickel-zinc batteries that use sustainable, nontoxic materials and can be safely recycled. // Photograph Courtesy of ZAF Energy Systems Inc.

Port Huron’s Wirtz Manufacturing, a lead-acid battery design and technology company, has invested in ZAF Energy Systems Inc., a Missouri-based developer of next-generation battery technology. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

The investment in a full production line will expand ZAF’s manufacturing capacity to thousands of batteries per month, up from hundreds, at its Joplin, Missouri facility, meeting customer demand.

It also will allow licensing and joint venture partners to validate the quality and throughput of the technology for commercially-scaled factories to make the rechargeable nickel-zinc (NiZn) batteries. Factory buildouts are expected to begin this year.

“We became very excited in partnering with ZAF when we experimented with the ZAF electrodes and found that we could produce plates at similar production rates as lead-acid technology after seeing the performance improvements and cost savings being delivered by nickel-zinc battery technologies,” says John Wirtz, CEO of Wirtz.

The investment follows a $600,000 investment commitment from Missouri’s Department of Economic Development Fund. The investments are being used to hire employees, expand production, and forge strategic partnerships.

“The investment from Wirtz, a respected leader and innovator in the battery industry, offers further validation of the company’s NiZn battery technology,” says Randy Moore, president and CEO of ZAF. “As ZAF continues to commercialize our technology, it is vital to have a partner like Wirtz.”

ZAF’s NiZn batteries can be used in the automotive, heavy trucking, remote telecom, and renewable energy industries. The company develops and commercializes next-generation battery technologies that use sustainable, nontoxic materials and can be safely and easily recycled.

Wirtz was founded in 1932 and has manufacturing operations in the U.S., China, and India.